Today was the day. I set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. to get in my very first early morning ride. After one push of the snooze button, I dragged myself out of bed, put on my long sleeve jersey and knickers and wandered downstairs to eat half of a bagel. By the time I was ready to roll the sun was up, so I took off from home instead of driving down to the beach path. My goal was to ride the same route that I did yesterday...Magnolia to the end of the Newport beach path, turn around and ride north to the end of Bolsa Chica State Beach, then back to Magnolia. With six extra miles added in going to and from the beach from home, I was looking at getting a 32 mile ride before the crowds hit the paths.
Of course, the best laid plans...blah, blah, blah. You get the picture. Shit happens and my shit just happened to go down right in front of Huntington Beach Fire Station Number Four. I'm riding down Magnolia feeling great and enjoying the cool morning air when my smooth ride starts to feel not so smooth anymore. Damn...I've flatted in the front. So I hop off of my bike, fairly confident...okay, truth be told, I wasn't confident at all because I'd only changed one flat and it was in my living room and it took me an hour. I figure that I don't have any choice but to change the thing, so I flip the bike over and get to work. Just as I'm getting started, the fire engine pulls into the station. One of the guys pops his head out and asks if I'm okay. I tell him that I think that I can handle it and he says "Okay, well if you need anything we're all awake and there are four of us that can come over, stand around and watch you." After struggling for several minutes I finally get the tire off of the rim and start checking for a leak. I found the hole in the tube pretty easily, but can't find anything in the tire that might have caused it, despite checking for a good five minutes. I put in the one spare tube that I had and put the tire back on the bike, wave goodbye to the fireman and I'm on my way. For a minute. Something isn't feeling or sounding right and let's face it...I'm a total newbie and I was just pretending that I knew what I was doing back there. I turn into the park behind the fire station and after riding there for a couple of minutes, the little voice inside of me tells me to call it a day and bag the ride. I decide to swallow my pride and go make friends with the firemen.
I explain the situation to the fireman who had been checking up on me while I was changing my tire and he asks me if I'd like a ride home. I accept and ask if one of them has a truck. He tells me that they can't break the crew up and that I'd have to ride home on the fire truck. Now who would turn down a ride like that? They load my bike into the hose bed on top of the truck, open the door and ask me to take a seat. We chatted about kids, their schedules, my husband's job and the fact that if this had happened yesterday instead of today, that one of their firemen is a roadie and would have been able to fix it in five minutes flat. Before I knew it we were pulling up in front of my house. As they're unloading my bike I hear them shouting across the road to the firemen at Fire Station Number Three which is about 300 feet from my front door. Good natured ribbing at 6:40 a.m. which I'm sure that my neighbors appreciated. What do I care though? I got to ride home in a firetruck. Yeehaw!