Then one lovely day as we enjoyed a ride together on a rural northwest Washington Indian Reservation...I flatted.
When I looked over the top of my shades sweetly towards my lover for assistance, he shrugged his shoulders, raised a blonde eyebrow, looked me dead in the eyes and said: fix it.
I pled my case as he turned towards the sun, surely soas not to catch the daggers I threw his direction. I'd stood in his shop and watched him change flats, but this would be my first time giving it a go alone. I'd long since learned to carry the proper supplies, he ingrained that into my mind many moons prior, but this was a whole new challenge.
A long while later, when I couldn't muscle the last bit of rubber over the rim, he helped me finish and lent a few pointers.
When I proudly shoved my first victory in his face nearly forty-five minutes later, he took a quick look and replied: tire's on backwards. I wanted to punch his lights out.
It's something all these guys taught me: if you can, you help.
Disaster averted, we pressed on. Except within two miles of the change, he flatted again. My second tube was shot. I still had some air. Suddenly short on supplies, I weighed our options. I used the remainder of the air, and we pointed ourselves in the direction of the closest town, but there was also a rural gas station a mile or so up the road. Within seconds, he flatted again. He made a call for a pick up from a buddy, and we hoofed it up the road towards the gas station.
When I realized one of them was one of my oldest (and always prepared) friends, I waved and hollered. Except in that moment he chose not to stop, instead lowering his head, disobeying the most important of all unwritten biking rules: if you can, you help.
There is safety and power in knowing now what I didn't know then, albeit exceptionally deflated.