Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 11 Another day, another breakdown (the bike).

We got out of the Roadway Inn in Woodbridge quite early. We were on the road by 5:55 am thinking to have a good mileage day. The roads were pretty empty which was a good thing because US 1 has little, if any, shoulder.

Shortly thereafter Debbie mentioned a vibration or bumping in the rear. I could not feel anything at the front but we stopped to examine the rear and sure enough there was a bulge in the sidewall of the rear tire. It would eventually blowout: when, who knows, but a new tire was mandatory. The next bike shop was still 10 or so miles away.

At about the 13-mile mark I shifted into the lowest hill gear and the rear shifter over shifted and the chain got jammed between the rear gear cluster and the spokes. This had happened before and I have been able to pry the chain out and go on. NOT THIS TIME.

I had been working on this for more than half an hour when a car pulls up and asks if help might be needed. It was a retired marine officer and her eldest son who just happened to be a bike mechanic. He looked at it and had the chain out in a couple of minute. He also looked at the tire and though it would last the 7 or so miles to the next bike shop, but avoid potholes. What a life saver he was. The chain had been so jammed that you could not even push the bike. The woman thought about carrying us someplace but she was driving a Prius and there was no room. After profuse thanks on our part, we were on our way being very carful.

We stopped for drinks and cup cakes at a 7-11 along the road. We had gotten the phone number of the bike shop in Dumfries so we called them and described our troubles. They could help when we got there. They said it was about 7 miles and gave us directions. It was not quite that distance.

Off went again being very careful to avoid bit bumps in the road and controlling our speed on the downhills. We made a potty stop and met a fellow who had biked the country (west to east). We chatted about the roads in VA and NC. Then were off again. The going was very slow due to extremely close heavy traffic, no shoulder, and hills. We could not coast down the hills fast because of a fear of the rear tire blowing out. We could not get up the hills without stopping for rests because of the tired old bodies pushing the pedals. Every time we stopped we were too intimidated to get back going again until the traffic behind us cleared. Did we mentions HEAVY traffic? So we pushed the bike up lots of hills and took many short stops. Consequently it took ages to go just a few miles.

Finally Debbie spotted the shop. Just a left and a left and up a little hill. Revolution Cycles in Stafford, VA. We got in, took off the trailer and the packs. They put it up on a stand and got to work. We got a new tire, three new spokes, rear-wheel truing, a serious derailleur adjustment and cleaning, check the chain, and I got new pedals. They were great! David Taylor and another technician whose name I did not get did a beautiful job. This is a four-shop family-owned chain in the DC metro area. If the other mechanics are this good, go there.

While I was watching the work, Debbie went to the Post office to finally put in the stop mail we forgot to do before we left. Thanks to son-in-law and daughter-in-law for taking in our mail. Then she walked up to the motel next store. It’s a Marriott Suites where we are right now. It’s a very nice place and is the first one with a pool that is open.

After the bike shop we found a soul food Restaurant called the Family Reunion Restaurant. The portions were large and the peppery flavors were great. We chatted with an interesting lady there.

The day: 18.3 miles at an average speed of 7.4. We rode for 2:26. We now have gone 438 miles.

Debbie’s emotionometer: Trepidation wins the day due to bike problems, road conditions,  and traffic.

1 comment:

  1. UGH... you guys need to catch a break. Maybe this will cheer you up. I did some yard work for you including taking down the maple trees that were growing into your hydrangeas in the front of the house. Weeds have been pulled and I plan to go back at least once more before you come home. Have a better day tomorrow!