I would like to profess my eternal love and gratitude to Performance Bicycle. But… let’s begin with the beginning, shall we?

Here in the land of heat and dry and sun, it’s been raining. And raining. And raining. My garden is thrilled. My herbs are attempting to take over the world. And the other perk? If and when the rain ever stops I can take a midday bike ride without risking heat stroke.

The sun came out on Friday and the temperature wasn’t oppressive, so I hopped on my bike. I noticed as I rode east that the sky was a bit on the ominous side, but I was determined to get some more miles in before the rain started up. Somewhere after the monstrous crickets and well before I was ready to turn home, I realized that I was about to be stranded in the rain. Did I turn back? Make a run for home? Stop at shelter? Nope. I kept going. Smart, huh? I was determined to ride until the rain hit, which of course it did with a vengeance. Oops… I hightailed it to a picnic pavilion to wait it out.

Being stranded goes in stages.Step 1: Message the husband and check the weather report. Step 2: Tweet about it. Step 3: Take pictures of it. Step 4: Sit and enjoy it. Step 5: Get antsy and stretch. Step 6: Get antsier and check the weather report again. Step 7: Get antsiest and start cleaning up the pavilion. My finds? 14 juice box straws, 6 plastic tubes for those frozen fruity things (what the heck are they called?), 3 lanyards, a few kids’ coloring projects, and a stack of bud light caps. Sounds like I missed quite a kiddy party, right?

Just as I was starting to think that the rain was going to settle in for the long haul and I would have to either get soaked or ask the hubs to rescue me, the rain slacked off and I started my ride home. Much as I had enjoyed my rain break, at this point I just wanted to GET HOME. Also at which point, four miles from home and without an air pump, I got a flat tire. I must have been living in some kind of lucky bike bubble (other than the stolen bike…) because I have absolutely no memory of ever changing a flat. Since I was woefully unprepared, I buckled down (and perhaps grumbled/cursed/kicked bike) and started the hour walk home that would have gone much faster on a fully functional bike.

But after getting stuck in the rain and getting a flat tire, something went right. I remembered that not far off my path (and FAR closer than my house) I could run into Performance Bicycle. I hadn’t packed my debit card, but I did have an emergency $10 stashed in my bike bag. Now I’m not sure exactly what the guys at Performance Bicycle were thinking when I came in… Maybe “I wish this hottie in the embarrassingly tight shorts weren’t wearing bike gloves so I could see if she had a wedding ring on.” More likely “this girl is so stupid that if we don’t help her out she may never make it home.” Either way, they took mercy on a rain/sweat/mud-soaked damsel in distress. I didn’t have enough cash to pay for labor (note to self: increase emergency stash), but they kindly changed it out for only the cost of a new tube. I promised to come back and spend $$$ soon. We usually make the drive into town to the independent local bike store, but if these dear folks will save me in a crisis, I’ll happily support their chain store!

The last three miles of my trip home were blissfully uneventful, but my should-have-stayed-in-bed day wasn’t quite over yet. If you need a good laugh, just picture me running into the grocery store in flip-flops in the rain, losing one shoe, running back for it, running forward, losing the other shoe, and finally scooting successfully in the door.

Things I did right: Riding with a phone (I was able to map the fastest route home, let hubs know I was stuck, check the weather radar). Carrying emergency cash. Wearing an ID bracelet (at least I didn’t put this one to use!). Packing an energy gel (lunch time came and went, and I needed energy to get home). Batting my eyelashes (just kidding).

Lessons I learned: $10 will only deal with small emergencies. People riding more than 5 miles from home should carry a portable pump (we went back to Performance on Saturday and bought this one for both of our bikes. It was super easy to mount), patch kit, and tire lever. Being unprepared is bad for the whole independent woman image. Getting stuck in the rain is kinda like being at home at night when the power goes out – you may gripe about it, but it’s pretty wonderful too.