This morning I was glad I left home in good time, because not too long into the journey to work I heard a thunk behind me that I knew right away was something falling off. I stopped, but even before I turned around I was nervous about the fact that there was only one thunk, unexpected behavior for an object falling on pavement from a bicycle moving at a fair rate of speed. My worst fears were confirmed when I saw that my tail-light was missing and there was a storm drain just behind where I'd stopped. Yes of course, the light had dropped off (my fault for not making sure it was attached all the way) and bounced once directly down the grate. On the plus side, it floats and the water wasn't flowing hardly at all down there!
I wasn't far from home, so I quickly hopped back on the bike and zipped back around the corner. I found a four-foot dowel and a metal hanger left over from the consignment sale, and with a little drilling and clipping fashioned a handy light-hooking tool. (I knew just what to do thanks to long experience as a child fishing balls out of similar drains; though my workmanship is considerably better now.) I had a little scare when my first fishing attempt knocked the light out of sight further down the drain tunnel, but working from a different angle I was able to hook it back and up. Then I stowed the tool safely in the woods for later retrieval and scurried on to work.
On the way home I was going as quick as anything hoping to beat the expected rain (motivated by a few spitting drops already falling) when there was a very surprising bang and a significant wobble in my forward motion. In this case my first thought—that my terrible shoddy-though-expensive fenders had somehow fouled the spokes—was wrong, and it was only a double-headed nail pushed clean through the rear tire. I rode on the flat for a little while, anxious not to have too far to walk on the heavily-trafficked road, but wanting to be able to ever use those wheels again I soon resigned myself to walking (I do have tools to fix a flat—everything but an actual portable pump, which is out of my price range).
Was I terribly put out by either of these occurrences? I was not. In the first case I was able to solve the problem and demonstrate my ingenuity and in the second I actually quite enjoyed the walk. The rain mostly held off, and it's not so often I get to walk two or three miles by myself. The broken bicycle was only a minor impediment. That's one reason I like cycling; problems with bicycles are much easier to cope with than ones you have with cars. As long as you don't have to be somewhere in too much of a hurry, you're pretty much safe and self-reliant, which sure sounds good to me.
That said, I sure hope my commute is less eventful tomorrow!