We are in VA again for a while. Having arrived on Sunday, I hit the trail on Monday morning, early ( on retiree time). I got on the trail at Alisonia and cycled toward Pulaski. My son had told me about the Draper mercantile and I was anxious to check out my new community.
The last time I tried to cycle from Alisonia, I flatted my rear tire within 6 ft. So I was anticipating actually getting to ride this time. 2 miles into the ride, the bike, my recumbent, was making a sound it shouldn’t have been making. A quick inspection revealed that this was the left rear rack brace ribbing the axle because the screw that should have been holding it was gone. I repositioned it and continued on. The mercantile at Draper had a bike shop! How fortuitous 🙂 the sign said “open” but the door was locked, so I assumed the owner must have run next door to the mercantile. I settled in for a comfy wait. I really thought it best to get a screw for that rack sooner, rather than later.
20 minutes into my nap, I mean my wait, someone who had been working on the porch of the mercantile walked past, so I asked about the whereabouts of the bike shop owner. He said the shop is closed on Mondays. Darn. Well, I could just ride another 4 miles and get the screw from Pulaski Bikes. 4 miles later, at the end/beginning of the trail, I couldn’t figure out how to get from the trail into Pulaski. darn! I cycled the 4 miles back to the mercantile, looking forward to lunch and rehydration. When I arrived, it was shut down tightly. The person I had seen earlier was a contractor and all the cars, those of cyclists enjoying the trail…… Strike 3 for me. I cycled home. The silver lining; I got a lovely 16 mile ride in.
Fast forward to Wednesday.
Woohoo, I’m ready to go again. My sweet husband and son have found trail access and parking that is free, rather than the $4/day that I used on Monday. Yesterday, I rushed in to the Pulaski bike shop to pick up that screw and darn if they don’t open until 11! Missed out again, but today, I would get there, because when I was there last, the owner mentioned that he had a tire that would fit my front wheel (16 x 1 3/8). It’s an odd size because my recumbent is a vision short wheel base recumbent with under seat steering and has one 26″ wheel and one 16, which is usually thought of as a wheelchair tire. I hadn’t bought it because it wasn’t Kevlar and I strongly believe in Kevlar tires. The tire on my front wheel was original to the bike, though, making it a teenager. I needed a stop-gap tire until I could order the Schwalbe Marathon tire.
I couldn’t wait until after 11 to ride, so I hit the trail earlier thinking I would get to the bike shop when I finished. Going in this direction, the trail seemed very different. Not so much river view, less grade, more houses. It was very nice, though. Quite a few fresh rock falls/landslides were in evidence. 1.5 miles in, I flatted. My poor, dry rotted tire had a HUGE hole in its paper-thin wall. Here I was with no pump, but a pack of Skabs.
To push this particular recumbent, you have to tilt it back like it’s popping a wheelie and in a slightly bent-over position, push it like a wheelchair. Not too bad for short distances, but a mile and a half……. Prolly not! A half mile along, a couple stopped and offered me some “Fixaflat”. Sadly, the hole was too big and the faf couldn’t seal it up. Sadly, it made the tube too wet to put a Skabs on and just use the faf to inflate the tube. Wish I had thought of that sooner. Ah well, back to pushing. Another half mile and I arrived at a road crossing and waited, hoping some cyclist would come along and have a solution. While I waited, I took the wheel off in hopes of removing the tube, drying it and patching it in case someone came along with some co2.
Dang! I only had one tire lever with me. I’m starting to feel a little like a character in a minor tragedy. Fortunately, as they say, ” my Daddy didn’t raise no fool” and I determined a key on my key ring that was obsolete (see I’m learning) and used it as a second tire lever. Got the tube out and patched with a Skabs ( useless, useless patches, in my opinion) and put the tube and tire back in place. Now, I wait. Rain comes and goes. Then the original couple of good Samaritans return and give me the last of their faf. The Skabs immediately releases itself and the tire flats again. I lock the bike up and hoof it back to the truck and drive back, get the bike and go directly to Pulaski Bikes to BUY -THAT-TIRE only to find they are closed on Wednesdays.
Here endeth the lesson! Keep your equipment in proper repair and carry your “kit”, properly stocked at ALL times.
FYI, my bike is not a rattle trap. We just returned from that vacation with bikes on the trailer. Many screws were vibrated loose by the travel. When traveling with your bicycles, check ALL screws before using the bike. Our trailer is a utility trailer and John leaned hid bike on the side of the trailer and the vibrations nearly sawed through his seat post. Whenever possible, use a carrier designed for bikes.
Go make your own breeze and remember, if you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong gear.