This morning I was reading the Bike Noob's blog about Common Newbie Mistakes and it reminded me of something that happened on Sunday...
Yesterday I noticed a man and woman riding around the veloway together. The were only a couple, out of tons of other people, riding on the weekend. Other than noting the fact she was wearing a dress shirt with spandex shorts I really didn't pay them much attention. A lap later I saw them again, they were off the bikes and he was helping her walk up a short (but very steep) incline. By her body language I could tell she had just hit the wall. She had bonked. As I passed by on the next lap they were sitting in the shade near the same spot. Another lap later and they had abandoned the bikes and were walking; he was helping her and a roadie had stopped and walked his bike along with them to provide moral and physical support if needed.
As I kept riding along I realized I didn't see any water bottles in their hands nor did I see any attached to the discarded bikes. I did notice that the roadie had at least one bottle on his bike, however I couldn't tell if it had water in it. I remembered seeing a relatively new looking water bottle at the entrance that someone had discarded the day before. When I got back around to the entrance I rode past the bottle, slowed and turned around. I stopped and picked up the bottle. It seemed clean enough. I could rinse it out as best as possible, fill it with water and she could use it to dump on her head (or even drink some if she was desperate enough.) I thought about it for a moment and changed my mind. Surely they were close enough to the parking lot now that it wouldn't matter anyway. Instead, I rode on.
About the time I passed them again another rider had stopped and was offering assistance and/or water so I didn't feel too badly but I did have a twinge of guilt and wondered what exactly it was that made me change my mind in the first place. Why didn't I stop and help? I don't know.. A few minutes later I encountered a mountain biker who was ferrying one of their bikes along side his as he rode with one hand on his handlebar and one hand on the other bike's. We've all done that as kids, and it never really works for long, but it was inspiring to see this guy at least trying. After the couple made it back to the parking lot and (presumably) got everything squared away I saw the man practically running back along the track to retrieve the other bike. Man, what a miserable, long day it had been for them.
I hope the woman was/is okay. I applaude the roadie who stopped and walked with them, the mtb'er who ferried one of their bikes, and the woman who stopped at the cross-over to check on them. I feel bad for not offering to help, but it's not so much what I didn't do (I'll have to make up for that later) as it is what these caring people did do. They deserve a shout out.