Schadenfreude bites back

· rants ·

Sometimes it's better not to think unworthy thoughts.

As I was leaving work today and loading my bike up, I heard the tell-tale bing-bong-bing announcement tone from the University station, which always presages cancellations, delays and other associated rail-commuting hell. "Haha, Suckerz!!" I thought. "I'm about to breeze home on the bike, no delays." That was my first mistake.

It was raining hard, but of the cyclist's nemeses, rain is the weakest. It's uncomfortable and unpleasant, but it's just water. You get wet, then you get dry again. I had a schedule to keep too, because I'd arranged to give some unwanted kitchen equipment to someone via Freecycle, and they were coming to the house in about an hour and a quarter. That shouldn't have been any problem, because I'd left plenty of time to get home, shower and get myself sorted out.

Then it happened, about 2 miles into the journey: a bang and the dragging, flapping feeling of a completely deflated rear tyre. Suddenly, I recalled the "Suckerz!!" thought and kicked myself metaphorically but soundly in the shins for being such a numpty. I got off and pulled my pump out of my pannier to see what I could do, but the sad little trail of bubbles in the puddle under the tyre and the gentle hiss of escaping air told me all I needed to know. The culprit was a dagger-shaped shard of glass a couple of centimetres long which had embedded itself deep into the tyre. Of course, I had no tools or puncture repair kit on me.

As I crouched in the pouring rain, pumping the tyre more in hope than expectation, and couple of ducks wandered over with one of those "you wouldn't happen to have any bread about your person at all, would you?" looks in their eyes. I told them I'd give them a whole loaf if they could fix my puncture, but lacking opposable anythings or -- for that matter -- an understanding of English, they just carried on looking at the funny, wet human.

There was nothing else for it -- I had a 5 mile fast trudge, or rather squelch, to try to get home in time to meet the Freecyclers. Nice.

Amazingly, I just about made it. I was 5 minutes late, but the woman waited and went away with the stuff. But I've got really tired legs, wrecked feet and a giant puncture to fix.