Bicycle Karma

Today while riding my local Rail Trail I passed another cyclist riding on a flat tire. As you may know, many cyclists believe that it is bad karma to not help another cyclist who needs it. So, to get a sense of his dilemma, I rode up beside him and mentioned that I noticed his flat tire. In return, he simply replied “yup, I got a flat” and nothing more. Since he was very close to a parking area, I assumed he was simply riding a short distance on the flat to get back to his vehicle.

Later, while taking a short break a few miles further down the trail the rider with the flat passed by. I jumped on my bike and caught up with him. This time I asked if he needed help, something I should have done when I first saw him. To my surprise he refused my help. So, I asked him how much further he had to go. He said that he had seven miles more to go and that he had already ridden about eight miles on the flat tire. Being more persistent, I explained to him that I was carrying everything needed to fix his flat and that it would only take a few minutes to repair. Yet, again he refused help.

I’ve found myself many times in situations where I’ve needed help while touring. And I’ve always been amazed how friendly, helpful and kind people have been to me on my journeys. There is nothing wrong with accepting help when you need it. Simply return the kindness to another cyclist when you can help. That is good bicycle karma!

Ken Whittaker