I was so excited when my host mom showed me the bike in the garage that I forgot to check the tires in my general inspection. I made sure it was safe, tightened down the front brake easily enough and was ready to go! I walked the bike down my hilly street to the main road, where there are wide, safe sidewalks. As I walked downhill holding back my bike against the “force of the plane” (thank you, physics) my enthusiastic mood made it difficult to walk normally, with no skipping and no crazy, gleeful jumping. I made it to the sidewalk without doing anything out of the ordinary. However, my excitement to be on a bike again made it difficult to actually climb onto the thing, and the large frame didn’t help my predicament. I toppled over with the bike on top of me. Somehow, I successfully got on and pedaled about three minutes down the road. At this point I realized my tires were very, very flat and I became concerned about my rims. Where can I get air for my tires? I spotted another woman on a bike, waiting outside a Pekara so I asked her in my horrible Bosnian, “Razumijete li englezki?” Thankfully she did, and pointed out a gas station. I pedaled over and spent five minutes looking for an air pump. There was nothing. I asked the cashier if he could fill my tires, but he just walked with me to the road, then pointed to a bike path and said, “Right.” I think he meant “turn right,” as opposed to the sarcastic “right, like I’d know that.” I turned right on the bike path.
Several minutes later, I was still biking on flat tires and gathered the courage to ask another person, but as I got off my bike and walked towards her she crossed the street. No! Now I have to pick a new target and mentally prepare myself for humiliation yet again. I got back on my bike and started to head home. Just then I spotted another gas station. I hesitantly pedaled up to it and looked around. Success! There was an air pump, and the nice man standing next to it actually filled up my tires for me, free of charge. I know it was his job, but I still appreciated the service. I had a lovely ride home and actually made it all the way up the hill to my house. Cheers for fortunate adventures!