It had been a beautiful fall day and I was determined to get in a bike ride along Falling Waters Trail to Lime Lake before going to New York to babysit my new grandson later that week. When I noticed my back tire was pretty soft, I thought, “No problem. I’ll use the pump at the beginning of the trail.”
I pulled up to the pump, put the clamp on my tire and started to pump air. No luck, not only did the tire not gain air, it got softer.
Air pumps and I do not get along. I’ve been known to take a slightly soft car tire and drain it down to where it cannot be driven.
I asked some passing dog walkers if they could help. They tried but were equally unsuccessful at getting my bike to the desired level of inflation. I got on my bike and decided it wasn’t that bad, so I continued on my bike ride. I wasn’t even one third of the way to Lime Lake when I was puffing. But I really wanted to get to the lake.
So I decided to call upon a higher power to help me decide what to do. I thought about telling God, “If you are real, send me someone to fix my bike,” but decided that wasn’t a good idea. So then I thought, “If you love me, fix my bike,” but that was also a bit ridiculous.
So then I decided on: “God, if no-one comes along to help me inflate my tire by Robinson Road, I’ll turn around and go back.” That seemed like a reasonable request. I had a small tire pump attached to my bike to be used for such emergency situations. I just needed someone who could make it work.
Sure enough, I got to Robinson Road without seeing anyone, but the sun was shining on the path ahead and I really wanted to make it to the lake, so I kept going, ignoring my earlier plan.
Finally on the third leg of the journey, I flagged down an unsuspecting man riding in the opposite direction and asked him if he could help me. This he did. He wasn’t able to inflate the tire all of the way, but it was definitely better than it was and enabled me to make it to the lake and back home again.
It was worth it, I told myself as I saw the sun glistening on the lake, turning it multiple shades of blue. I questioned this later when struggling to make it home, and again when I realized the bike ride had taken an hour longer than usual, leaving me short on time to complete other tasks I wanted to do that day.
Now my bike tire didn’t get this flat overnight. I had noticed it for several weeks, but it wasn’t bad enough to keep me from riding the bike. I kept telling myself I would pump up my tire when I got home, only to forget about it once I reached my destination.
When I got back from my trip to New York, I looked forward to riding my bike again, forgetting about the problem with the tire until I got the bike out. I struggled to blow up the tire using the pump with a broken handle I had at home. I opted to ride around the neighborhood, after spending a half an hour trying to pump the tire up. At least I knew enough not to attempt the ride to Lime Lake again.
This past weekend, while looking for tools at Harbor Freight, I bought a new bike pump. I pumped up my tire to full inflation and was on my way. This was the first time in weeks that the tires were properly inflated. And I thought, “Why did it take me so long to fix this?”
It seems that for the past few months my life has been like those under inflated tires. Enough energy to keep going, but not optimal. Sometimes God took pity on me and sent help, like the bike rider on the path. I made it to my destination, but it took longer than if I were running at top form.
It has only been this past week that my life has returned to some semblance of normalcy, whatever that is. I feel like, just maybe, I’m back to full energy but I need to keep my physical, emotional and spiritual tires inflated.
If only it were as easy to do this as it is to buy a tire pump.
How do you keep your tires inflated?