Electric bikes are subject to flats too I learned this past Sunday, Father’s Day. The unusual bike I’m riding these days, the electric A2B produced by Ultra Motor, allows me a swift ride from Bed-Stuy to the Upper West Side through Williamsburg, (and gets me to dinner with my dad, on time).
After a pleasant meal, riding home using the path alongside the West Side Highway, it starts to rain … but that wasn’t too bad because the air is warm and the ride still enjoyable, almost like sailing. Until … the bike begins halting.
On the Williamsburg Bridge now in the dark and pouring rain, the front wheel is difficult to turn from side to side, and I think it must have something to do with the electric wiring. I realize on the other side of the bridge, when the impact of riding off the curb onto the street comes with a thump, that I have a flat. Simple, but it also leaves me stranded on Broadway and Bedford in the pouring rain. I will have to push the bike somewhere, and everywhere I think of is too far away.
In this drenched and dark vortex (my pant legs by this time are dragging down past my shoes) something special occurs: a couple came to my aid, as if from out of nowhere. In their tan SUV, they pull up and ask if I needed help. The woman jumps out and tells me she has a bicycle pump at their home a half-block away. She sprints away and the husband drives on. She returns a couple of minutes later, hands me a pump. And because she’s in a rush, she instructs me to leave the pump in the newspaper box on the same corner when done. I fill the tire with air, and am back on my way. I didn’t have a chance to get her name to thank her. It was just one of those random acts of kindness—an electric moment.