One surprise I continue to experience on this trip is the kindness of strangers. This trip has been such a gift in so many ways, and amidst the ugliness of our presidential election, it has really restored my belief that most people are good.
While biking a 17 mile section of the Virginia Creeper Trail in Damascus, Virginia, I ran into a bit of bike trouble. I’m still not sure if I ran over a nail or if my tube just decided it was time to blow, but ten miles into the ride my back . Ten miles in my back tire burst.
Jane was in the bike seat on the back of my bike, and we both heard the pop and saw a cloud of dust. The loud pop scared us both. I quickly realized what had happened and called for Mark ahead on the trail.
We were lucky that my tire blew within a few hundred yards of one of the road crossing on the trail, where it just so happened there was a tiny restaurant. We walked back to the restaurant, and we planned to have Mark and Wilson bike down the mountain to Damascus for the car while Jane and I waited at the restaurant together for them to return with the car and the bike rack.
The man working the grill at the restaurant saw us, heard our situation, and offered to help. We doubted he’d have a tube that would fit my bike, but he did! He also had a patch for my tire which had a hole in it. Within minutes of our arrival, he got to work fixing my bike, removing the wheel, patching the tire, and replacing the tube.
Mark of course offered to pay the man for the tube and services, but he happily insisted that it was free of charge!
We rode the last 7 miles back to Damascus. With each pedal, I was grateful for the kindness that man showed us, knowing I’d be looking for ways to pay it forward when I can.