In a world increasingly preoccupied with throwaway materialistic things; where people are constantly busy earning money to pay for those things, or so their children can have those things;
This is the story of my dreams of travelling the world by bicycle. Because it's there. And because I dont want to die without experiencing the truly important things in life .

A sense of wonder and a sense of adventure.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Bad Fairies Wont Leave the Bikes Alone.

Day 60 & 61.

The bad fairies will not leave the bikes alone at the moment. Having fixed Adi’s rear wheel and re gigging the trip so that we could reach Halifax in time to catch our flight home, we were on the bikes again. Confident that if we could do 150km days, we would be ok, and even have a day off in Halifax to look around and clean the gear for the flight home.

It was into the White Mountains. These are the last mountains separating us from the coast, and our view of the Atlantic that we have waited so long to see. The weather has been good and the terrain is easily negotiable, although Adi has had to toughen up a bit as the new freewheel that I put on her bike( with her new wheel) is higher geared than her last.

The White Mountain, New Hampshire/ Maine.
This is moose country and Adi has been scanning the forests at the side of the road for a sighting, to no avail. No moosees have been spotted. It’s good to be in the mountains proper again and the villages are almost European, at a stretch. Mount Washington slid by on the right and we started a slow descent eastwards. The evenings here are closing in and we are not yet at Atlantic Time, which starts when we leave Maine and cross into Canada again. Because we are doing longish days on the bike, and because I find it hard to get on the road before 9am, I have devised ‘ Adi & Niel the Wheel time’, and have put our clocks forward an hour anyway.

‘Niel the wheel time’ worked beautifully this morning, getting us away early and giving us an extra hours daylight at the end.

We needed the extra time today when bad karma struck the bikes again. This time to my beloved Mercian. My back wheel started to make the odd noise and on checking I noticed that the bearings were slightly loose. I was too lazy to tighten the cones on the road but did tighten the skewer tension to take the play out a bit. Vowing to tighten it up at camp tonight I carried on. As the day progressed the more bearing noise developed along with a notable rumble. Convinced that I would need to strip it apart and renew the cones or bearings I readied myself for this at camp. (No prob as I carry a complete rear axle kit and bearings).

Yes, Fixing Bikes in Motels Again. Well it Beats Doing it at McDonalds.
By the next 30kms things were sounding so bad in the rear end dept. that I told Adi that we had better look for a cheap motel and cut the day short.

I write this in the motel having stripped the hub down to find that the internal hub race has collapsed and the hub is essentially stuffed. New bearings, axle and cones won’t help this baby and it won’t go another 10kms in this state. It was lucky we stopped or it would be a long walk in the countryside.

One Dead Hub, in Improvised Bike Workshop.
What is even luckier for me, and not so good for the bad fairies plaguing the bikes, is that I have Adi’s old hub from the other days repair and all her spokes. So tonight I will build her old hub into my still ok rear rim with her old spokes and then all I need to find tomorrow is a freewheel and chain to replace my screw on one. We can’t afford any more down time. We have to fix it and do a 150km day tomorrow.

And all going well we will also see the Atlantic.  There are only four days of cycling separating us from the end. The bikes may drag themselves in but I’m sure mechanicals won’t stop us.
ps. That is not a motel towel under my wheel but a motel rag. ie some motorbiker had destroyed it before me and the motel offered it to me so I wouldn't do likewise.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Niel, go easy on the fairies, it's just a test to see if you are a REAL bike mechanic or just all talk. Quite frankly I think it's pretty impressive to do a 150km day, rebuild your back wheel, then do 150km again the next day. Well done.