Italia 2014 #3: Receiving Help

Think it’s a lesson I need to learn over & over, cos of my stubborn independence. I must say it has been eroded over the years, along with pride, which in its haydays would not allow yours truly to receive any form of help. Period.

Today was supposed to be a relaxed ride. Route was supposedly with less elevation – 194m compared to previous day’s 458m! No wonder I was knackered! Plus the fact that I rode out without much breakfast except a coffee, thinking that I could grab lunch along the way. I couldn’t be more mistaken – even the petrol stations were not opened, except for self-service pumps. It was Easter Sunday, no one works on Easter!

Puncture at 10km into the nice smooth roll! And so, I parked my bike at a safe spot & facing quite a nice view, with a nice raised curb, so that I could sit comfortably over the next hour or so. And of course, with a view.

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After riding for a whole year, I’ve never really changed tubes, nor tyres. Had my fair share of punctures as well. However, been very blessed with good gentlemen in my rides, who quickly & skilfully resolve the issues without much hassle.

And so, here I am, faced with the puncture, possibly needing to change the tyre as well. I did consider chucking some of my gears at my last stop, cos was really too heavy! But glad I didn’t!

And so I went through the process in my head, step by step. First to switch hub gear to 1, & loosen knobs, then remove the hub cover. Had videos of a demo, so I was quite confident of getting it right.

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Then loosen the rear brakes. Out came my trusty multitool!

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Then loosen the skewer screws to release the wheel. And voila! Out popped the wheel! Easy peasy so far, well done, girl!

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Next was to check the tyres & tubes for signs of wear. Sure enough, my supposedly touring Marathon tyres had kaput with a slit. Ah well, it’s an old set of tyre per say.

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Thankful for having my folded spares with me. No problems. And while I was figuring some stuff out, this nice Mountain Bike rider appeared & immediately offered to help. He quickly checked the tube, kaput too. Passed him the spare & he went to work, with my new folded spare tyre as well.

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Very focused, very cool. I was a little wary of course, unsure what he wanted as a “reward” at the end.

Well, thing is I had 3 Italian male drivers stop & tried to get fresh with me. I got away with the first, cos I just rode on. 2nd one, stopped me as drove beside me & indicated for me to stop. Out of courtesy I did. Well, if he got angry, could easily run me down & get away. It was a really lonely road at that time of the morning. And he tried to get fresh – said “Bella”, asked for a hug, I relented as a friendly gesture. He blabbered in Italian, which I understood some parts. And then asked for a kiss on the lips. I declined politely. He relented & kissed my cheeks & got my Italian mobile no. before allowing me to leave. 2nd grabbed my ring finger to check if I was married & tried to touch my cheek like those D.O.Ms. I flinched to avoid him touching me & rode off. Post mortem: it was dangerous really. The spots where I was stopped, something awry could’ve happened & it would be awhile before help could reach me. Lesson learnt: will never take white routes again – that I will explain in another post.

And so, the sweet Italian rider swiftly changed my tube & tyre. I insisted on placing the wheel back on my own. And so respectfully, he left. No requests for any reward of any kind. Angel! Rider’s creed, a friend mentioned.

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Took off my front blinkers from the handlebar. Flipped the bike around for easing the rear wheel into the original position.

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A bit of adjusting here & there, still couldn’t get it right. Felt a bit helpless & kinda kicked myself for letting the rider go. Lol… Ok, breathe. This Diva can do it! Then after a bit of tinkering, voila! Popped back in, not much hassle! Happy! Quickly tightened the skewer screws, then went on to work on the hub. Took a bit of time, but I got it 90% right. After which the lowest gear couldn’t work. That’s fine, I have 7 more to play with.

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Pretty satisfied with my performance, took a few pictures, and rode off, into the sun…

And I realised later, I forgot to tighten my rear brakes… ^^

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