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  1. #1
    Senior Member RIRview's Avatar
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    Complete strangers stopping to help with me with a flat.

    There have been threads about whether or not to wave at fellow roadies when you pass (I always acknowledge with a wave or nod of the head). This sort of ties into that.

    This morning I was on a ride with my club when, just about the time I got dropped on a sprint, my rear tire went flat. I called out to them, but they were already out of earshot so I was alone. It was one of the worst places to try and change a tube: On Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California, with cars screaming by, inches away at 60 MPH. The tire was so tight that I had to use a tire lever just to get the damn thing off the rim. I broke out my spare tube, and threaded the cartridge on the head. Unfortunately, I hadn't closed the valve from the last time I flatted, so all the CO2 went woosh! Straight into the atmosphere. I had another cartridge, but now I had no room for error.

    Just about then a rider stopped and asked if I needed any help. I told him I could use a hand wrestling the tire back on the rim. We were in the process when one of the guys from my club arrived--he had doubled back to see what had happened to me. About the same time two more roadies came upon us, slowed and asked if I needed a hand. I thanked them and told them we were OK.

    I've found that the road cycling community is like a fraternity--no strangers, just friends you haven't met.

  2. #2
    Senior Member surgeonstone's Avatar
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    Good story. I always stop and offer help to a rider in need. It's a good thing to do.
    Last time I did it there was a heavy thundershower, rain coming down in buckets. Poor guy had used his last tube and pinched flat on refill and was walking home in this downpour. I gave him my tube and helped him change it over. Guy was very appreciative.

  3. #3
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    That's pretty standard behavior for riders in Norcal, particularly on the PCH. I've stopped several times to help other riders , whom usually have enough stuff to get by but just need an extra hand or two. The only time I don't stop is if it's a hammerhead group ride - I'll at least slow and ask every time otherwise.

    In CA, riders are generally so helpful that if I want to change my flat in peace, I more or less have to drag my entire bike off the visible part of the road so I don't get interrupted by others. I recall one time I went down on a slippery road and got a mildly bloody elbow as well as a pinch flat and needed to readjust some parts, and after about 6 cars slowed to offer help and a few cyclists in a period of 10 minutes, I had to go hide behind a tree with my bike to get everything done without interruption!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Yep, I always ask if any help is needed when I sight any stranded cyclist. It is just a nice thing to do. I ride mostly in SoCal.
    Regards,

    Jed

  5. #5
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    We always ask most of the time the rider has it covered.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    Last year Central Texas August dry and of normal temperature (100+) got a flat on a back road not far off - Rancher with a truck full of fencing tools and a horse trailer with horse pulled up and asked "Hy boy... whar ya liv..." - Well we had such a good time changing out my flat with cold beer on my front porch...

  7. #7
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Well yeah. You might not get a wave, but I'm not going to leave anyone out on the road without knowing they're taken care of. That's part of why this whole waving thing is ridiculous. Have some perspective, folks.
    Telemachus has, indeed, sneezed.

  8. #8
    Stand and Deliver FLvector's Avatar
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    Very common in FL to ask if someone needs help. I've never had to take up the offer, but its nice to know someone is willing to donate a tube or cartridge when needed.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Samfujiabq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
    Well yeah. You might not get a wave, but I'm not going to leave anyone out on the road without knowing they're taken care of. That's part of why this whole waving thing is ridiculous. Have some perspective, folks.
    Hmmm are you and chasm 54 related,more over have some manners folk!

  10. #10
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
    Yep, I always ask if any help is needed when I sight any stranded cyclist. It is just a nice thing to do. I ride mostly in SoCal.
    Yep. I was helped out of a ridiculous pinch (self imposed of course) years ago. I always ask.

  11. #11
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    I carry a patch kit and old hand pump, in my truck. More than once, I have helped a stranded rider.

  12. #12
    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
    Well yeah. You might not get a wave, but I'm not going to leave anyone out on the road without knowing they're taken care of. That's part of why this whole waving thing is ridiculous. Have some perspective, folks.
    Anyone who can't help themselves change a freakin' flat deserves to be left stranded and dying on the side of the road. The only help I give him is to call the animal control unit to come pick up his dead carcass before the stench sets in, which, this time of year, is alarmingly fast.

    j/k. I stop and ask everyone, unless they're already surrounded by Good Samaritans.

  13. #13
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Many times when I've been stopping to take a breather someone cycles past and asks if everything is OK. Ironically the one time everything wasn't OK (I had a flat and found my spare tube was faulty) cyclists were passing from all directions and nobody stopped.

    If I see someone that looks like they might be in trouble I'll check they are OK. So far the only person I've encountered who needed help was a kid who had overshifted on his BSO and somehow got the chain tangled the wrong side of the pedals. It took a while to realise what he had done, then I got the chain back on for him and showed him what he had done to cause it (didn't have a screwdriver to fix the FD limit screws with me).

    Last time I rode a brevet my gear cable snapped and I didn't have a spare because I figured gear cables snapping was a theoretical situation and a steel cable just wouldn't snap if you looked after it. One of the other riders gave me a spare and helped fit it, which was much appreciated. I really like the idea of paying it forward rather than paying it back.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  14. #14
    Senior Member 99Klein's Avatar
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    SOP around here.
    When you argue with an idiot, from a bystanders point of view, it may be hard to discern which is the idiot. (dis·cern: Verb - Perceive or recognize)

  15. #15
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    I've had similar positive experiences. Twice I've had big help from other cyclists. Once in the middle of a desert highway on a rough road I had my rear tire flat out. I was super confident that I wasn't going to have a flat (now I've wised up) I didn't have any spare tubes or CO2 cartridge or mini pump. I called my buddy to pick me up (he had to drive about 30 mi out of town). But in the meantime, a guy stopped and asked if I needed help. I told him not to bother, I called my friend for pickup, but he insisted on putting in a new tube and pumped it up. I thanked him a lot and I slowly started pedaling but the rear tire flatted again about 200ft further down. As I would later find out from the LBS, a tiny sharp had lodged into the tire, so any number of tube changes wasn't going to help. But I was really appreciative of the good samaritan gesture.

    Whenever I stop to take a break during the South Mo. climb passing cyclists ask if I'm okay. That just gives reassurance that although my climb is my own, I'm not really on my own.

    And I wave or nod to fellow cyclists every chance I get, unless I'm really focusing on the road.
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  16. #16
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    Three years ago, right after I started cycling, I was about 6 or 7 km from home at the beginning of a long (for me at the time) ride. I got a flat, and even though I hadn't changed a tube out before, I had the sense to put together a tail bag with all the accoutrements required before leaving home, and set to work changing the flat. I managed to to pinch the first tube and wreck it, then pulled out the second tube, and checked it before installing only to find it had a hole in it (no idea how).

    I reluctantly began walking back towards home when a U-Haul truck pulled over for me (I was not hitch-hiking, just walking and probably looking pretty bummed). The guy explains he's a fellow cyclist and offers me a ride. He opens up the back of the uHaul for me to put my bike in, and inside was the giant plant from "Little Shop of Horrors".

    I swear I'm not making this up; the guy was a teacher from a high school out of town, and they had borrowed the costume from the local high school. He dropped me off at the LBS, and I have him directions to the high school.

  17. #17
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Once in Texas I carried my broken down bike for two miles, hobbling in my cleated shoes, getting devoured by mosquitoes in the heat and humidity. No one even slowed down.

    I now always make sure I ask if I see a cyclist on the side of the road looking like they might need assistance.

  18. #18
    Senior Member WhyFi's Avatar
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    Cool and (fortunately) it's common anywhere I've ridden.
    It's the spandex.

  19. #19
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    I flat infrequently so never miss an opportunity to practice changing tyres.

  20. #20
    Senior Member fstshrk's Avatar
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    I always stop and offer help. I am glad someone stopped to help you out.
    BTW, I don't think I have the courage to ride on a 60 MPH highway. Too many careless drivers here in eastern WA.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    Once in Texas I carried my broken down bike for two miles, hobbling in my cleated shoes, getting devoured by mosquitoes in the heat and humidity. No one even slowed down.

    I now always make sure I ask if I see a cyclist on the side of the road looking like they might need assistance.
    Same here in Dallas.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    I haven't flatted often, but every time I have, people have offered to help.



    Even better:

    I was bonking badly on a very difficult (180 mile, hilly) ride in Southern PA. So I was sitting at the side of the road, just resting - careful not to look distressed - for maybe 15 minutes.

    DOZENS of cars stopped to ask if I needed help.

    Helped restore my faith in people (well southern PA people, anyway.)

    BTW - I do not live in PA.
    Regards,
    Duncan

  23. #23
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    I always offer assistance when I see a stranded cyclist. I only had to help twice. I had two older ladies riding hybrid/cruiser type bikes flag me down, one popped the chain and just needed help getting it back on. The second time there was a road bike rider who was on the side of the road fixing a flat. He took me up on the offer for assistance, I pretty much did all the work except pump the tire. His tires were a PITA to remove. Once he was back on the road that was that. Didn't even get a thank you.

    I have never been offered assistance from other cyclists when I have broken down. However I had two vehicles offer help when I was changing flats. One was on a rural road with zero traffic, right when I finished changed the tube and mounted the tire a vehicle turned the corner and offered help. Another time I was on a main road with a bike lane and I was changing a flat on the side of the road. Someone was pulling into their driveway about a quarter mile down the road and seen me. It was an older gentleman and he offered to give me a ride, help fix the flat, borrow tools and even mentioned I could use his air compressor in his garage. I declined any assistance.

  24. #24
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    One time I rode up to and walked into an arco and proceeded to open up a bottle of coke and down it (on the verge of bonking). Went up to the register and forgot the place was cash/debit only and all I had was a credit card. Cashier looked at me and shook her head. I was about to call someone to come give me cash when a woman asked "how was the ride?" Paid for my coke. Turned out she used to be a racer and now is on some cycling board. Now that was cool!

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