So last month I saw something totally unexpected. It was one of those days where I knew there would be a lot of excitement, but never did I foresee what I would experience. We, at MORE magazine indirectly sponsored an alley cat race. If you don’t know what alley cat races are, just picture a bunch of guys and girls out of their brains, riding at incredible speeds in and out of traffic all on cogged bikes. Cogged bikes are the kind of bikes where the cranks are locked into the wheels. However fast the bike goes, the cranks have to follow. And usually they have no breaks. That’s how crazy these guys are. The alley cat race started at 1pm, so we got out checkpoint set up thanks to the guys who organized that race the day before. They equipped us with everything we needed. All we had to do was to set up the table and get the water ready. And we waited and waited, until vroom, the first guy came to our station, quickly followed by the second guy. They all ride these cool looking bikes in all sorts of color combinations, with chrome shining like the Tahitian sun. These dudes didn’t even want water. No time for rest. I needed a beer just watching them. The rider, who came in tenth or so, was so frantic that he fell off of his bike. I could just picture somebody getting crushed by a car.
Then at about the middle of the pack—they were still coming in like rats running away from the flood—a dude showed up with a flat tire, and he was frantic to get it fixed. Not a problem, I told him. There was a car repair shop right next door. So the dude picked up his bike and ran over there. No luck. The dude didn’t have a bike pump. Not a problem dude. There’s a bike repair old man right down the road. He ran down there to no avail. The old man didn’t have the right adaptor for the dude’s special tire tube. Then another group of cyclers came by and one of them noticed that the guy was in trouble, so he stopped and asked him what the problem was whereas the dude with the flat told him. No worries, I’ve got a tube for you, but no adaptor, but not a problem, he would introduce him to another guy who had one. This bald dude with a lime green bike and pink rims waited and waited for this complete stranger with a flat just to help him. Wasn’t he in the race too? Sure he was, but he wanted to help his new friend out. The bald dude waited and waited until his friend finally came, and he even changed the tire for the guy. One quick thanks later and they were off to race again. Forget first place, this guy should have gotten all of the medals that day. Faith in humanity restored.
By Tim Hoerle