The Kindness Of Strangers To A Cyclist In Need

Tonight I left work, unlocked the bike pod and thought my ebike felt even heavier than usual to wheel out. The reason was a completely flat rear tyre. My second in a fortnight.

As I don’t carry a puncture kit or tools, my only option was to walk home with the bike, a not too inconvenient 3.5 mile, 50-ish minute journey. 

Because we live fairly out in the sticks, a significant part is along a fairly busy main road with 60mph speed limit. Not my favourite part of the journey by bike, and more intimidating still on foot with most vehicles hurtling by at the speed limit or beyond.

But I plodded away, and as I passed the entrance to a small industrial estate, a car had pulled in and man was approaching me.

“Is it just flat or a puncture?” he enquired. “I’ve got a pump if it’s any help?”

I replied that it was a puncture but that I was very grateful for the offer and appreciated him stopping. I was genuinely surprised by his compassion and that he’d gone to the trouble.

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Closer to home, and actually in our road with home in sight, another car passed, then slowed and pulled over.

The driver lowered his window and said “Has the battery given out? I’ve got an ebike and it’s happened to me – nightmare!”

I replied that no, it was not the electrics, just a puncture. He kindly asked if I needed a lift, but I declined, given I was about 20m from my house, and thanked him for his offer.

Both of these people had no need to stop. But both did. 

I was touched not once, but twice in a matter of about a mile and a half, by the kindest of strangers.

Also, it added further fuel to my growing theory that although many car drivers don’t have bikes, they seem to want to encourage those who do cycle, maybe wishing they were a little braver in trying a bike for commuting too.

Or maybe I’m just getting carried away.

Do you have any tales about the kindness of strangers whilst cycling?

Please share them in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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11 thoughts on “The Kindness Of Strangers To A Cyclist In Need”

  1. How heartwarming that not one, but two people stopped to help. Don’t moments like those restore your faith in humanity? Glad you made it home ok … and fingers crossed it won’t happen again.

  2. I was deliberately run off the road by a motorist once while riding my bike. Took a tumble and was injured. I’ve had no kindnesses from motorists while cycling.

    But I’ve had kindnesses from motorists while parked along an old road. They assume my car has broken down and want to know if they can help. I show them my camera, they look at me with puzzlement, and off they go.

    1. Sorry to hear about your bicycle encounter Jim. From reading a few bike blogs in recent weeks it seems the relationship between motorists and cyclists varies hugely! I’m fortunate to not live in too built up an area so I would assume that lowers that average stress levels of drivers…

  3. I haven’t had any moments of kindmess like that. I just feel lucky if drivers are not on the roadside bicycle paths telling me to move out of their way. I wish that were a joke . . . .
    I have solid tyres on my bicycle. I don’t have to worry about punctures, but they aren’t good on all surfaces because they don’t have much give in them.

    1. Marcus, where do you live? The cycle paths here (in England) aren’t wide enough to accommodate a car so I’m wondering how that happens??

      Mostly with my ebike I’m on roads so it’s unlikely I’ll pick up any more thorns, I think I got them taking a few semi off road short cuts. I have something like the Schwalbe puncture guard tyres as a back up. I’ve had some similar ones on another bike and they are firmer than big fat MTB tyres but not solid.

      1. I live in South Korea. The sidewalks are wide enough for a bicycle path and a walking path in many places, but there’s no parking so drivers see the wide sidewalks as their parking space. Or they will drive along the sidewalk to get to a shop in a hurry instead of going a bit farther, making a turn, and finding a proper parking spot. The cops don’t care. They figure it’s City Hall’s job. City Hall has no one out and about checking it. There’s a mobile application you can use to report it, but you have to make a photo of the car on the sidewalk, wait five minutes, and then make another photo to prove the car was actually parked there. When I’m president . . . . .

        1. That is quite shocking, I can’t really imagine that happening anywhere in the UK, but I think we’re more bike friendly here than ever, due to international and Olympic success and exposure of British cyclists, and the eco/green agenda being pushed fairly heavily.

          I take it from your name you’re not native South Korean? (Marcus is perhaps a German or Scandinavian or Dutch name?)

          1. I’m originally from the Island of Newfoundland, in Canada. I moved to Korea after university. You’d think I’d be used to the mad driving by now, but that doesn’t happen.

  4. Hi Dan, A heart warming story indeed. I have had similar experiences here in New England. Years ago I got caught in a freak snowstorm that dumped about a foot of snow in an hour, and not just one but two people stopped to offer me a ride. I declined (I was still 5 miles or more from home and didn’t want to have them go so far in a storm) but was impressed with the offers. I have heard horror stories like Jim related above, but I have to say that I have only experienced courteous behavior from the drivers here in many thousands of miles. For a while I was having a lot of issues with flats until I figured out that the cheap Chinese tubes I was buying from the local bike shop were the culprits. I have not had a flat tire since switching to quality tires and tubes. I can change a flat in less than 10 minutes, and I never leave the house without a tire kit in my (English) saddlebag. Having a friend show me how to replace the tire on the rim with only my hands was a big help, I kept puncturing the new (or patched) tube putting the tire back on with the levers. I just got back from a very nice ride on my new old bike, great fun!

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