I met Matt D. Halen in the bike lane on Mountain Avenue last week.

Halen was returning home from a grocery trip and had gotten three flats. He was out of tubes and patches.

I didn’t have a tube that would work in his tire so I offered him a ride home. We put his groceries in my Xtracycle bags and he sat on the deck and carried his bike. We were quite the sight.

Halen bought his bike off Craigslist and said he didn’t think he would ever see another Litespeed that fit him, so he bought it.

Halen has ridden more than 40,000 miles in the last 7 years. Many of those miles were on the Litespeed, but a lot of them were also on a rickshaw, which he has been doing for a little over a year in Tucson.

He likes rickshawing because he gets paid to ride a bike and meet new people.

One of his most memorable moments as a rickshaw driver was when he picked up a woman dressed in an seven-foot-tall owl costume.

He says his favorite thing about riding in Tucson is the heat. He hates the snow and ice and prefers Tucson’s weather over the cold.

His least favorite thing is the glass and debris in the streets that caused three flats and required a bike rescue.

4 thoughts on “Rider of the Week: Bike rescue”
  1. Good for you Mike!  There’s nothing quite like the feeling of resignation you get when you realise there’s no fixing that flat and you’re either going to have to walk a long way or find a bus.  Who knew there was such a thing as a bike bus?  

    Glass flats the bane of my existence.  Yet another example of an unfunded cost of automobiles, the vast majority of that glass in the street having migrated from the interior of a car.  I think even more insidious are those tiny strands of steel that emerge from tread separated car tyres and somehow end up standing up in the tread of my bicycle tyres.  Those are tough to find.  
    I think we should have a bottle deposit law with the unclaimed deposits going to clean the roads and fund bicycle tyre repair kiosks along the side of  glass strewn streets.

    The answer to the question drivers are asking, why don’t bicycles stay in their little bike lanes?  That’s where all the glass ends up.  The roads being crowned in the middle it all just slides sideways.  It’s also where the car doors are and where the road is the often deeply flawed and where the stupid wheel trapping transition between the asphalt and the concrete ledge of the curb extension is.  

  2. dont forget the plug on your hats, matty.  im sure your surly has taken more abuse than that litespeed. 

  3. I was a college student in Michigan when the bottle bill was passed. (Yup, I voted in favor.)

    Any-hoo, you should have heard the beverage industry ads. They were all over the radio and TV airwaves. Full of dire warnings about what would happen to the Great Lake State if (gasp!) forced deposits became law.

    Well, guess what? Nothing bad happened to the producers and drinkers of beverages in Michigan.

    BTW, the Michigan bottle bill was approved by voters back in 1976.

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