Disaster and The Lessons of Hubris

Today a piece of my surf rack fell onto the road and was crushed by a car.

The driver heard the crush, saw me signal to stop, and promptly reversed over the surf rack U-bend to seal its fate. And to really put the boot in, once the driver had slapped me on the back and handed me the pancaked piece, I placed it on the curb only to have a school boy walk past and kick the U-bend to the gutter while I dragged the bike to safety.


A school boy!

A citizen so diminished of size and stature that any kind of vengeance was totally beyond the pale.

You couldn’t make this stuff up. But I was laughing the whole time. The trip has been so good thus far I was due for an incident. That morning I had thought how I hadn’t even adjusted or modified the rack since I left London six weeks ago and as me Ma says, pride cometh before a fall — I had given in to hubris and the rack was struck down as a consequence.

The pancaked U-bend
The pancaked U-bend.
Where the U-bend should go had it not been crushed by a car and kicked by an obtuse schoolboy. Note the whole, properly connected, U-bend in the background.

Why did the U-bend fall to the road?

Why did the chicken cross the road? How long is a piece of string? Why is the sky blue?

The Portuguese roads are often cobbled and these vibrato gyrations must have wiggled the U-bend loose from its feathered, gluey nest. Alas! She had been doing so well.

The rig is quietly becoming a junk-raft bound together with nothing short of madness.

To stem the flow of shame and certain embarrassment, I pulled out the toolkit and got to work.

What did I have to work with?

Why, cable-ties and duct tape of course.  The yellow bits in the photo above are me two tyre irons – I’m fucked if I have a flat, I’ll have to tear it all apart to release the bounty within. Still, I managed to patch her up and we limped on – and I shit you not – I was singing, nay, crooning  Chumbawamba’s seminal 1997 hit Tubthumping the whole way, ‘I get knocked down, But I get up again, You’re never gonna keep me down…’

I did get knocked down.

Well, not actually.

I mean the rack fell apart after my shoddy repair. But I put more good duct tape over bad and we limped on to Porto, triumphant and buoyed up by my new story.

Stay tuned.

Will I be able to find the requisite parts in Porto to rebuild the rack and continue the mad adventure down the coast?

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