a few weeks ago i went for a bike ride on a route i take less often. it starts with a long hike up out of town, then a turn to the right onto mud bay road, which commences with a GIGANTIC hill. it’s a hill of such extended incline that the pleasure and fear of racing down it makes my fingers attempt to simultaneously tighten and loosen on the brakes as the tears stream out the sides of my eyes. needless to say, i can coast for quite a while coming off that hill.

this day, when i started to furiously peddle again to maintain flying momentum i felt and heard my left foot pedal making the resistant clicking it had been producing for a few weeks. nothing major. it will stick every once and a while and i’ll kick it back to spinning, or it might put up a fight at a certain point in its rotation. i had grown accustomed to it. after all, i think this rockhopper is older than i am. having previously come back from mud bay covered in grease and dirt (ironically fitting) because of the unpredictability of the chain, i’d given up on changing gears much.

so here i was, flying down the coastal road, breathing in fresh mountain air and blinking tears from my eyes, when all of a sudden i no longer had a pedal under my left foot.

i didn’t keel to the side, but pulled my bike to the side of the road and laughed in shock. it figured that when i had just made it down the nice big hill i might have to start walking back up it. so i dismounted, located my pedal in the middle of the street behind me, noticed the reflector and another piece were missing, and found them as well. never having taken much of a look at a bike pedal before, i was pleasantly surprised to find that it had the grooved lines of a piece that can be screwed into something. well, if it had come off, i could just screw it back on! after some finagling, that is just what i did. clambering back onto my bike i started slowly pedaling along the road, glancing down at my pedal as i went. to my dismay, each pedal rotation was slowly but surely unscrewing my pedal again!

as my pride met up against the prospect of that big hill, i saw someone on the other side of the street working on a boat. i meandered across the lanes, he saw me, and i sheepishly called, “how much do you know about bikes?”

luckily for me, he knew a lot. this kind stranger expertly dissected my rouge pedal, showing me the intricate inner world of that strange contraption. the diagnosis? i needed a new pedal. the poor little bearings were all out of whack in the greasy innards of the pedal. the good news? he could fix it up so that it should last me a while.

as we chatted while he worked, it came up that he is a member of “men of note”, the male a cappella group in town. i said i thought they had done such a great job at the fourth of july parade singing the national anthem. he asked if i sang. which i, of course, replied to in the positive. he informed me of the existence of a women’s singing group that i would enjoy. i, thrilled at this news, asked who the contact person was. i was given a name, filed it away, and eventually completed my bike ride on my repaired vehicle, grateful to this man and my faulty pedal for ushering me into the community.

a few weeks went by, and i was busy beyond belief. when thursday the 28th (remember this day?) rolled around, i decided that i wanted to go to the fair to  watch the talent show – southeast’s got talent. the show was at 8, so i hopped on my not-so-trusty bike around 6 to see some of the fair beforehand.

as i walked around the exhibit hall, admiring the photographs and quilts and [wishing to admire] the baked-goods, i happened upon a woman sitting at a table making hats. the sign resting on the table pronounced the name of the very woman who was the contact for the choir! i took a deep breath, walked up, confirmed it was she, and introduced myself. i told her i had a weird story to tell, to which she replied with a laugh that people have told her a lot of weird stories. i’m sure she was a little perplexed however, when began telling her about a bike ride i’d taken. but soon enough i reached the point of interest. i was joyously greeted as a “new recruit” as she took my information, and told that rehearsals would be starting up again in the fall.

after more laughter and chat, i happily left the building, bought some unnaturally bright raspberry sherbet, and enjoyed the talent show.

thursday was a very big day.