after riding a bike for more than a few years, one is bound to have more than a few dropped chains. for me, they happen at the most inopportune times, like shifting my downtube shifters to go up a hill. there was an incident a couple of months ago where i looked rather funny on polk street trying not to fall. i was rather determined not to do so on my way to work.
this is not the dropped chain from either story, but to gives you all an idea what i'm talking about.
so, this not about my dropped chain, but rather two dropped chains from people i don't know.
one friday i was rushing home to work before rushing out to sf bike party and a block away from home i see two bikers on the sidewalk. the woman appears in her 50s, and her bike is upside down. there's a younger man with her in about his 20s (son perhaps?) on the phone. both are looking around rather helpless. i decide to stop to see what the problem is because if it's a large problem, i know where the bike shop nearby is.
so i pull over, ask what's wrong, and i see the chain. THE CHAIN. it also looks like there is all that's wrong with it, so i get my fingers in, turn the cranks a bit, and voliá. chain back on. the woman and the young man look incredulous. she said they had been there for 15 minutes trying to fix it. i show her what to do if it happens again.
the woman clapped her hands, brought them to her chest, and said, "thank you so much!" i said, "it's no problem." she looks at my chain greased fingers, and apologizes, i said, "again, no problem since i live a block away."
i ride off feeling good that my limited bike knowledge helped out two people in minor distress.
fast forward to 10 days later, which was wednesday of last week. i'm off to a fancy pants dinner event on foot in the financial district. i see a woman with a nice and new cannondale, with a male colleague, in a similar state of distress, only this time everyone involved was well dressed. not going to get bike grease on anything this time.
i take a look, and again, looks like a dropped chain. i said "i can fix it, if someone has a pen." the woman says, "we're reporters, we have lots of pens." the man produces a pen, i pop the chain back on, and they again were so grateful. she said, "now i'll be on time for my meeting! thank you so much!" i forgot her name, but she introduced herself.
all of these scenarios took less than a minute to diagnose and fix. but the gratitude and the good feelings are still around a few weeks later.
so go out and help out some people. feels good.