Sometimes you should just keep your mouth shut, say nothing, don’t draw attention to yourself.
This practice allowed me to make it through my school years relatively unscathed. Bored, uninspired, felt like I was wasting my life, but atleast I managed to fly under the rader until I could leave.
I should have learnt from this experience and continued to apply it in later life, but no, I had to open my big mouth, and now I’m paying dearly for it.
I’m referring specifically to flat tyres on motorcycles. Last year, whenever a student asked me about flat tyres I would say, “In all my years of riding on the road, I’ve never had a flat tyre”. Can you all guess what happened? Of course you can. Now I’m up to number four.
So my last four rear tyres have all been punctured at various stages of their life. The first one was well and truly worn out, in fact, it was past the point of being worn out, so I was actually quite grateful for the puncture because it forced me to replace the tyre rather than trying to squeeze “just one more trip” out of it. The second tyre was barely used, so I was a little upset about this puncture, but accepted that it had happened, and decided to replace the tyre rather than try to fix it. Number three was about half worn, and I had to repair it in order to get myself home. Once I was home I struggled with the question of yet again replacing the tyre, or taking the risk of using a repaired tyre. I went for the latter option, and I’m pleased to say I survived, and I extracted every last kilometre out of that tyre as well.
Puncture number four happened to me last week. I had just left the training range to ride home, at the first set of lights I turned left, and as I did I heard a pop. You know the sound. That pop that a tyre makes when you hit a rock, or some other object, and it gets shot out from the edge of the tyre. I had not seen anything on the road surface, and I had a fleeting thought “Hope that wasn’t a puncture, no, I couldn’t be that unlucky, surely”!
Well it didn’t take long for that thought to evaporate, quickly replaced with something along the lines of “Oh you have got to be f**£€**g kidding, another one”!
I pulled up onto the median strip and confirmed that my fears were indeed true, and not only a puncture, but a bloody great cut. No possibility of repairing this one, so I got back on the bike and prepared to ride it back to the training range. You wouldn’t have thought this would pose much of an issue, but I was now sitting on a triangular median strip, on one side was a dual lane freeway on ramp, on another side was a dual lane freeway off ramp, and on the third side was four lanes of afternoon traffic! I spied a truck coming up to the intersection near the median strip and signed my need to him, he gave me the nod and held the traffic on his side of the road, as soon as I got a break in the other lanes I wobbled across, gave him a grateful wave and proceeded to weave my way back to the training range.
One of my colleagues was still there, standing with a quizzical look on his face as he watched me ride in. I got the bike up on the centre stand I showed him the damage. After a few moments of silent contemplation he looked at me and said “Well Coop, it’s your lucky day”. I didn’t need to say it, it was clear from my expression that I had missed the “lucky” bit in my current situation, so he clarified his statement. “You’re certainly not riding your bike home, so isn’t it lucky that I’m still here, I wouldn’t be if I hadn’t decided to empty the bins before I left, and isn’t it lucky I drove my ute today, and isn’t it lucky the utes empty for a change, so I guess I’m taking you both home”. Now I could see just how lucky I was, because without his offer I would have to leave the bike at work and call my wife to come and pick me up, and considering my trip home is an hour, and it would be taking him a considerable distance out of his way, I was extremely grateful.
At the earliest opportunity I took the wheel into a motorcycle shop and I can’t say I was surprised when the proprieter looked at the cut and stated “That tyres buggered. I’ll take it off and have a look inside, but I wouldn’t hold your breath”. I returned to find the tyre off the wheel, no surprise there, but what did surprise me was what he handed me next. When they removed the tyre they found the culprit still inside, half of a Stanley knife blade.
I’ve never been particularly good at maths, but I’m pretty sure the odds of getting a puncture like that, and for it to be the fourth puncture in a row are pretty damn slim. Perhaps I should start buying lottery tickets.
So is it really just “bad luck”, or retribution for my smugness, or is there something else going on? Warning, things are about to get slightly obscure!
I can’t help thinking that there is something else going on here, something behind the scenes, something much larger than just punctured tyres. There are very few things that stop me from riding, but I only have one motorcycle, so If I can’t ride it , then I don’t ride.
I have always felt that I am being “looked after”, kept safe, gently directed away from harm. It could be said that I have led a charmed life, or that I have a guardian angel. I have always directed my gratitude towards The Universe, that is the explanation that works for me, but I know everyone has a different name or explanation for it.
So if The Universe deems that for my own safety I need to stay off the bike for two days, and if The Universe decides that the only way to acomplish that is by putting a Stanley knife blade through my rear tyre, and if The Universe goes to the trouble of setting up a complex and convoluted chain of events to enact this, while still enabling both me and the bike to get home, who am I to argue.
All I can do is be grateful……and buy some new tyres!
The Perpetual Motorcyclist
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