Okay, I'm sort of new around here, an usually just a lurker, but I gotta speak up.
I got a pinch flat yesterday on my way home from work at Milwaukee & Chicago. No biggie, pulled off the street and got out my "crash kit" with tools and a spare tube, and got to work. But in the 20 minutes I spent putzing around, I saw at least 2 dozen other riders fly by, and not a single person stopped to ask if I needed help. I mean, really? What happened to this community of cyclists that's supposed to exist? I don't say anything to the other riders that I see cutting in front of cars/pedestrians and blowing red lights, but this really takes the cake.
I feel ya Brian . . .
Unfortunately that "community" doesn't seem to happen automatically-- it needs to be fed.
There are a variety of organized and not-so-organized efforts to do so, but for better or worse the number of cyclists is growing much much faster than efforts to foster community can keep up with.
I wonder if we need to come up with something like a special pledge for people to sign on to, maybe along the lines of . . . . well, I was thinking of referencing the boy scout oath, but upon scrutiny I think there's got to be a better model out there . . .
I personally love to stop and help or ask if people need help (e.g. air, tools, patchkit). Because I'm a transpo (getting around) geek. I know some other people who do too, wish more would.
Ethan Spotts, Active Trans
I think that's more of a problem with folks in Chicago in general. People have their blinders on going about their own business. Something I noticed since moving here 5 years ago. Ain't just the cyclists, we do like to think we're special though.
On the other hand, you said no biggie, had a crash kit, in all appearances you probably "looked" fine. If you were in distress, it may have been a different story.
Welcome and lurk no more.
Throughout the two long bike tours I did in the Southwest, I ran up a pretty extensive "pay-it-forward" type debt at the hands of strangers' selflessness and generosity. So if you look like you need help and someone flies by undeterred, it's probably not me. But I get flats pretty much weekly, and I feel bad when folks go really out of their way to see if I'm alright. I'm never without an intact tube, and I try to change in less than ten minutes. And I try really hard to make it apparent that I don't need any help. When I do need help, I get out my cell phone and stand around scratching my head for a bit. I think both gestures are pretty easily interpreted.
I usally shout out asking the rider if they are OK. But if I saw that someone had already a spread of repair tools or flat kit out, I kinda would assume that person had it well in hand. And by me asking, could come off as insulting, like they don't know what they are doing. Though I will especially go out of my if its late at night or if the person broke down in area that they should have someone stay with them.
Its just possible that you were only seeing commuters who may have not had a clue on how to repair a flat. I am always shocked that with in all the clubs and teams that I train with, how many riders do not know how to fix a flat, let alone make an adjustment on their bikes. Consider yourself above the norm that your only options were not bus, cab, or walk home.
Happy riding and please let this not bother you from wanting to help others!
I agree with PJ and others here - it was a combination of you probably being more prepared and able to perform the repair yourself; and people's self centerdness, and just being 'in the zone'.
What I have found is that many folks will help *if/when asked*, however; they are not the type to offer help with being summoned.