Local superhero vs. evil plastic bag

Plastic bags are even more evil than you thought.
from Spirited Kenny the Blog

One unintended, positive side-effect of San Francisco's plastic bag ban: Fewer opportunities for free-floating bags to lodge themselves into cylcists' derailleurs, as happened to me this morning on my way to work. It's still two weeks before the official Bike to Work Day, but I thought I'd share today's bike-commute anecdote, which belongs in the Restoring Faith in Humanity department.

I was biking through the intersection at Third and Mariposa when it became nearly impossible to pedal, and a passing cyclist yelled out, "There's something in your derailleur!" I pulled over to check it out, and sure enough, discovered a mangled mess. A black plastic bag had wedged itself so deeply into the gears with just a rotation or two of the pedals that I wondered if I was going to have to tear the whole thing into pieces to free it.

After a minute or so of wrestling with the demonic bag, my fingers were coated in grease and I was beginning to think angry thoughts about whomever let this non-biodegradable menace loose on the world. And then suddenly, from out of nowhere, this random dude on a bike swooped in and asked, "Do you need some help with that?" Er, yes.

This stranger was amazingly helpful, and I don't know his name, but I feel I ought to thank him (for about the fifth time) here in print. After a couple seconds of wriggling the wedged plastic bag around, he instructed me to rotate the pedals forward some, and voila! It came free, and the curse was lifted. There are cool people in San Francisco. Gracias, mystery cyclist!