Inverse Karma

Have you ever tried to do something nice, and then immediately after, something bad happens?

Normally, for those who believe in such things, the act of doing something good builds a karma debt on the universe so that at some time in the future this is repaid with good things happening to you. Or at least that’s how I understand it? Do good things, and good things happen – Right?

A short way into Top Chief, the collective “we” stopped to help a clueless Canadian fix a puncture on his rental bike. Adam supplied a replacement inner tube, and as I had most of the tools, I did the majority of the work to open the tyre, and install the tube. He didn’t have any spares or tools and even if he did, he had never changed a tyre before so was facing a LOOONG walk down the hill. Therefore while I was doing the work, I thought I’d give him a crash course in how to do it. Arguably I was layering on another level to the good deed that was in progress – teach a man to fish, etc…

Tyre fixed, pumped up and a smile reinstated on the Canadians face, he set off down the hill to enjoy his day for much longer than he expected only 15 minutes beforehand.

We set off to catch up with Edd and Jord who had gotten bored and rode off only to stop on a grassy knoll in the sun to wait, not 100m down the track. I didn’t manage to even make it that far, before my rear tyre hissed its air to death. 

The Canadian sees this, and carries on his day – thanks…

Not to worry, coincidences are a bugger, but I’m practiced at rapid tube changes and Jord has a spare tube to use. Another 10-15 mins and some rapid pumping and we were off.

Not even making fully across the next set of features and the tyre rumbles to a flat stop AGAIN… Edd pulls up beside me and thinks I’m just doubting his ability to cross the feature, checking he managed it ok. But after I point out the problem, he just deflates with a sigh on my behalf. There are no more tubes in the group to fix the bike. 

Looks like someone is taking the long walk to the bottom after all, and it’s me. I manage to ride without damaging the rim on the thick and squashy heather for part of the way down to the trees. After that, it’s a sort of run/walk down hill, listening out for approaching bikes and taking shortcuts where I can.

So here we come to my question:

While I can’t expect to have good things happen after doing good things – surely I should have been owed something good happening for helping the Canadian, not just transferring his bad luck to me?! 

I mean, I did get him to run his hands around in the tubeless sealant goop to check for stones or sharp things, which got him a bit gooey… It was his tyre after all and I felt is was a practical learning step in the lesson I was also giving him. In the end I also got covered in goo, so I didn’t end up avoiding it.

And now, surely, there is an even larger karma debt on the universe, for repaying me with negative good things after I’d done a good thing? Or am I reaping the bad karma from something bad I’ve previously done, at a suspiciously coincidental time?

Maybe I’m just bad at putting in tubes in a rush? I’ve done it many times, but mistakes can happen, especially when working fast not to hold up the group.

Maybe the rear tyre is just too old and thin for the rugged terrain we are tackling? I was using one of Aimi’s part worn tyres, because I needed a new one and it was just laying around being un-used-up. No point in just throwing something away that still has some life, even if it’s not the absolute best tyre, I figured I’d just have to ride with added skill to compensate. Like runners train with weight belts, so when they are removed, they are faster. If I ride with a slippy tyre, when I get a good one, I’ll be faster and more controlled.

In any case, I need at least a new inner tube and I know what I’ll be spending tomorrow doing. Luckily, the bike shop had one in stock. 

I got a new rear tyre too – just in case I need to fend off more inverse karma.