push bike

He shares a glance with the Hispanic woman in the adjacent SUV as the light changes green and he accelerates his motorcycle away until a "CLUNK-CLANK" and the rear tire slides to a halt atop a hill on a cool summer night in the San Fernando Valley. The chain jumped the sprocket and wedged itself between the tire and the axle. He drags the bike to the roads edge where he tries untangling the chain to make the bike rideable again.

Again and again cars zoom within inches of him but he perseveres, hoping this will take a few minutes when a car pulls up behind him with bright lights shining. "I'm as far off the road as possible," he says to the driver as his pupils adjust to the light. "I thought you could use the light," responds the shadowed woman at the helm of the SUV. The glow of cell phones in the back seat tells him she's not alone.

‘Who is she and why’d she stop’ he wonders but he thanks her and says he needs to call a friend for tools to untangle the chain. "Good luck," she says with a smile but since her car is dark he can only infer she was smiling by the tone of her voice.

Using a screwdriver from his bag he gets the chain free and puts it back on the sprocket and he tells himself he’ll ride the freeway home and park the bike until the chain arrives. He rotates the wheel and the chain falls off the sprocket. He puts the chain back on and tells himself he'll take surface roads home and park it.

He spins the wheel again and the chain falls off again and he tells himself he'll ride back to his grandparent's house and park it. Inspecting the chain he notices that the chain has been tweaked which explains why it won't rotate for more then 3/4 of a turn.

Turning the bike around, he removes the chain and wipes sweat from his forehead; painting grease across his brow. The night is cool but he removes his shirt in preparation for the 2.5-mile push back to his grandparents where he'll park it.

Crouching low he pushes with his legs until the bike and him reach 15 mph and a small hill where he leaps aboard the bike in an aerodynamic stuck to maintain current speeds of 18, 23 and 29 mph; braking only to time a stop light midway down the hill.

The hill plateaus before running down hill again and he alternates pushing, coasting and pushing onto a thoroughfare where he accepts his fate of pushing the bike for the next mile along the road's edge.

Edging his way closer to his grandparent’s house, he is happy this incident happened when it did; a half-mile later and he would have been on the freeway and the day before he had ridden across the Mojave Desert. Although he has to be at work tomorrow, he has survived without incident and the bike will be repaired within a few days.

A few days ago he was mountain biking in south Utah when he came across an old man walking a bicycle two miles outside of town. The man's wife asked him if he had an inner tube patch and a pump. He did so he stopped.

He stopped running his fingers along the inner tube when he found two holes and as he began repairing the holes the wife told him they were biking for their 40th anniversary. He replies, "The I'll get you two bike patches as a gift."

Their two bikes fell out of view as he made his way back to the city and back to Las Vegas before heading back through the Mojave Desert, where he rode his motorcycle until coming within 6 ounces of running out of gas at 11PM, back to Los Angeles and the next day when the chain fell off on the way home after visiting his grandparents.

After his rear tire slides to a halt atop a hill on a cool summer night in the San Fernando Valley he started pushing his bike and believing in karma.
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