Posted By: Sarah Fairbanks
Posted On: January 27th, 2017
Attending: DCU

So today I decided to finally take care of my bike which has had nearly flat tires for awhile now. I’ve only ridden it about five times, but one of my goals this year is to use it more. The bus does get annoying, so why not use the bike made available to me by my coach? I love bike-riding anyway, so I knew I’d enjoy it once it was all ready to go. I keep my bike in the sports hall, so I thought I’d ask the front desk if they had a bike pump/air pump. They said they only had one for pumping up balls. The lady was very nice and told me that the petrol (gas) station right down the street has an air pump costing 1 euro per use. Perfect. She also said I could try the Student Union center which was next door. I tried them on my way to the petrol station, but, negative. They said maybe the campus Estates building had one. I held this thought for later as I headed for the petrol station. 

So I strolled on down the street with my bike and saw the pump. I went inside the gas station to exchange some cash for coins to use the machine. The cashier informed me that other bikers (or as the Irish call them, cyclists) had complained about the machine not working. I said I’d give it a try anyway for one euro. Sure enough, it made my tire flatter, actually, from air leaking out and none going in. Cool.

So, I walked back up the street with my bike at my side and asked the local convenience store if they had a pump by chance. Plenty of people ride bikes around here so I figured somebody’s gotta have one. Why not try? My thinking at this point was that maybe a random location might prove helpful for me if the other suggested three didn’t. Two men were working and told me they didn’t have a pump, but that I should go down the street to a different petrol station. They said it was about a two-minute walk. Do the Irish have a different sense of time? Because I walked for about 10 minutes and only saw neighborhood after neighborhood. Ugh. Quickly losing my patience at this point…

I figured I’d try the campus Estates building since it was (sort of) on my way back. Sure enough, the people inside had no idea why others had suggested this building to me, but they called security for me to see if there was ANY pump on campus. Apparently there was one on campus the entire time—right near all the bike racks which are practically the next building over from where I live. I felt a little dumb at this point but was soon back to aggrevated and defeated when the pump I found didn’t even have an “ON” button or anything that might indicate air would come out. Was I missing something here? All of this for this stupid bike… 

As I sat crouched next to this fake/broken/disfuctional air pump, a man who looked like a maintenance worker walked by. I politely asked if he worked here or if he could help me. He didn’t really have a clue as to the pump either, but amiably invited me to his work van where he had a pump. OKAY. I realize this sounds super creepy but you have to understand that Irish people really are so helpful! It was still daylight and there were plenty of people around. His van was parked in the lot (or, as the Irish call it, the cark park) along with plenty of other cars and drivers going in and out. We were right next to undergrad housing, too, where a student was on the phone, looking out the window. So I was good people, okay?! Safety wasn’t an issue! Okay, glad I cleared that up 🙂  Anyway, I crouched to unscrew the caps to my tires while he pulled the air pump from his van. He blew up my tires in a matter of minutes and that’s all it took. ALLLLL of that running around just for that. I made sure to thank him a million times and let him know that he truly made my day.

As I rode off into the sunset with a big smile on my face and on my FINALLY-functioning bike, I felt something strange on my inner thigh. I looked down to find that my jeans had ripped significantly and my bare skin was rubbing against the seat of my bike. I then realized I had ripped my pants as I was tending to my bike just a few minutes ago—and didn’t even know. In utter disbelief, I began to laugh at my eventful, frustrating, stress-inducing evening. I also prayed the poor man helping me didn’t notice my mishap…

I guess that’s just life for ya! A little something to keep you humble yet hopeful.              

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