Sorry in advance for the long post, i realize brevity is valued here, but I've never been accused of being concise:
So, I'm guilty of occasionally disparaging road cyclists as a group, and it's easy to do - I can't tell you how many times I've passed (or been passed by) a guy riding an exotic bike, full rapha/assos/whatever kit who is unable to respond to a simple good morning. Or, on a quiet back road, passing an oncoming cyclist who responds to a nod or wave with a sneer or glare. It's easy to paint cyclists as an aloof and unfriendly crowd.
However, this weekend, I was reminded that this is not really the case. I live in northern california, and I frequently ride up and down Mt. Diablo via the North Gate road (for those not familiar, it's a grueling 3.5K foot, 11 mile climb). On Sunday morning, I made the ride up, and started down to enjoy the long curvy descent. About 6.5 miles down, I got stuck behind a slow moving car, and got a little too close. Consequently, I was unable to react when a pothole appeared out of nowhere. I hit it dead on, and my front tire started hissing immediately.
I got over to the side of the road, and pulled out my spare tube and CO2 cartridge. As I pried the tire off and worked on replacing the tube, 3 cyclists stopped to make sure I was okay, including a guy on an italian bike with a skinsuit and a set of Zipp wheels worth more than my car. He was heading down the mountain, and actually slammed on his brakes at about 35mph to make sure I was okay. I thanked them all, but assured them that I had everything i needed and they continued on their rides. Tube in, tire on, ready to inflate. Good to go. So i pressed the CO2 fitting to the valve and BOOM! my only spare tube blew like a shotgun shell. Ears ringing.
Stuck. Normally no big deal, a 4 mile walk until i can call a cab. But in this case I started to worry a bit because I was taking care of my dad that day - he has advanced Parkinson's and he panics if left alone too long. No cell reception, so lost the phone-a-friend option. Eff me!
I waited about 10 minutes until I saw a woman riding up the hill, and sure enough, she stopped to ask if everything was okay. Putting aside my pride for being so stupid, I asked if she had a spare tube, and offered to give her some money for it. Not only did she give me her only tube, she refused to take any cash for it. She also let me use her mini pump to get my tire inflated to a pressure suitable to limp home. I thanked her profusely, and pedaled the remaining 12 miles to my dad's house. He was relieved to see me.
Anyway, if anyone is reading this who stopped (particularly the lovely woman who gave me her spare tube), THANK YOU!! You have restored my faith in my fellow cyclists