Monday, November 30, 2009

The Butterfly Effect

If I wouldn't have gotten a flat on my last ride...
  • ...we wouldn't have stopped to pick up a new tube.
  • ...and we wouldn't have noticed the worn tire on TC's bike in the parking lot of the store.
  • ...and we wouldn't have gotten a new tire for him.
  • ...and he wouldn't have taken his bike off the back of my car to put the new one on.
  • ...and the bike would have been safely clasped to the rack.
There are a whole laundry list of "what if's" that could have happened yesterday - not the least of which would have resulted in TC's prized possession going tumbling and crumbling down the highway at 70 mph.

Luckily, the bike was left dangling by a bike lock that for some reason TC had decided to attach after we decided to scrap our ride for the day. Neither one of us is sure why he locked the bike - since he usually only locks it once we reach our destination, if we're leaving the bikes unattended.

But we certainly were thankful he did.

At that moment, we should have been on our way to a long ride in as-good-as-November-gets riding conditions. It was sunny, but chilly - and after sleeping in and having an unusually big breakfast, TC and I decided we'd get a ride in.

We mapped out a new route - somewhere near Peterborough - that would give us a 25-30-mile ride for the day. I was excited that the plan called for at least 21 miles - the minimum that TC needed to break the 2,000-mile mark for the year. (For the record, I think I'm somewhere around 500 miles for my first season. I should track it better next year.)

But as TC pulled off his back wheel to replace the worn tire, the gears came off (yes, I'm obviously a very technical mechanic) and couldn't easily be repaired. We decided it would be better to cancel the ride and bring the bike to the experts for repair, rather than get stuck out on a road.


We both recalled a time earlier this summer when I had to pick up a stranded TC on the side of a road in New Boston one evening because of a similar problem with the bike. And we both recalled that his bike was making an odd rubbing sound during our ride last week.

We didn't want to risk it.

There's a theory, dating back to the 1890s, that the smallest of events can have profound effects. The
Butterfly Effect refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in a certain location.

Perhaps we dodged our own little tornado yesterday. It's safe to say that TC and I were both a bit freaked out when the bike popped off the back of my car, leaving it hanging about three inches from the ground only by a small cable.

Had the wheel still been on, who knows what damage could have been done. If the bike fell off entirely, we knew it wouldn't be pretty. It may have even caused an accident.

TC didn't reach his 2,000 mark yesterday. Depending on the weather and schedules, he may not reach it at all. It will be disappointing, but not the end of the world. (I can say that so easily because it's not my goal to reach.)

Yesterday could have been a lot worse. Had that butterfly flapped its wings a little differently, we could have been right in the path of that tornado.



  1. thankfully they flapped the way they did.


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