The Great Bike Mishap


Ok, maybe my title’s a little misleading. A flat tire probably doesn’t deserve to be called a “great mishap,” but when it leaves you with walking as your only mode of transportation, it feels pretty grave (serious).

The sad realization that my back tire was completely flat came after I spent Saturday night two weeks ago with a family from church. I got off my train in Bourg Sunday right around 5pm and I was ready to brave the light rain and make it home for a cup of tea. Well, my six minute bike ride was spoiled when I hopped on my bike and felt the back tire no longer doing its job as a round object. It was totally flat.  I walked my bike home and texted G to say, “sooo want to teach me how to change a flat bike tire?” Thankfully, I’m dating a bike enthusiast (ask me sometime about how much of France he’s biked… the answer’s all of it. Strasbourg to Marseille) so he was pretty knowledgeable on the subject. Because of our schedules, it took a few days for him to get off work and make the trip to Bourg to come rescue me. I walked to school in the mean time and whined about it every day (waking up 15 minutes earlier to walk to my 8 am classes was just painful).

So he made the trip to Bourg with his handy bike fixing tools, but we didn’t anticipate he’d need a wrench to actually get the wheel off. My bike is from the dark ages. Since my landlord wasn’t home, we were stuck. He stayed for dinner and we laughed about it.


This past weekend was Operation Bike Repair take 2! I carpooled home from school at 3pm, but since it was April Fool’s Day, I decided to play a trick on G. He thought I’d get home from school around 5:15pm and his train was scheduled to get in at 5pm. I told him to just meet me at my place, but I instead went straight to the train station to surprise him. The only problem was… he didn’t leave through the main exit! He saw the crowd and scooted out a different way. I waited 5 minutes then had to chase him down so he wouldn’t beat me to my house! It was ridiculous, but April Fool’s generally is.


He wanted to get working on the bike right away so he pulled out two wrenches that he brought along and started working. We found a hole in the chambre à air (the inner part of the tire) so we patched it with a sticker patch thing from his bike repair kit. As it turned out, there were multiple holes! As I said, my bike’s ancient. So we did our best to patch where we could but realized the thing was not going to hold air. We spent an hour on it and decided to give up. (And by “we” throughout this whole paragraph, I mean he did all the work and I encouraged and passed him things)

Eventually, we went to the bike store and bought a new chambre à air. He took it apart and put it all back together like a pro. He even fixed my squeaky brakes and took off my broken rain shield. It feels like a whole new bike!

Now I have to decide if I’m gonna keep the thing next year or try to get rid of it before I move to Lyon.

The best part of the whole affair was our celebratory pastries for the fact that I am mobile again.


High on the list of “Best Things about Having a French Boyfriend” is having someone to share pastries with. Yum.

5 thoughts on “The Great Bike Mishap

  1. Hey Kaitlin, just found your blog, and some questions. First, you mentioned that you were watching netflix.. How did you manage to get Netflix on your computer? Last time I was there, it didn’t let me access it out of the country. Did you change something in your settings, or?
    Also, you mentioned that your going to be doing au pair. Was wondering if you’d be willing to share your experience and explain the process and things like that. I’d appreciate any help and information you can give. Looking forward to your future posts 🙂


    1. I mooch off an American friend’s Netflix account but France now allows it! The selection’s a bit different (lamer) than America, but I’m not complaining!

      Yeah I’ll definitely post soon about the au pair process. I can’t post about the experience yet because I haven’t started yet, but I found my family from a friend who loved her job and is going back to the states. I think it’s the best way to do it, way less risk of bad surprises that way!

      Thanks for following along 🙂


      1. Kaitlin,

        I appreciate the response. But yeah I get what you mean, I’ll get what I can take. There were times where I just wanted a movie, didn’t know any sites. But good, good new information to know. Have you started the process yet? For getting your visa and stuff?
        Best of luck to ya 🙂


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