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Another day, another bike savior – Bristol to Cheddar (52/20,864ks, 730m)

(written by Dave)

I think our bikes are reaching the end.  Or at least mine is.  Frequent readers will know that I’ve replaced a chain, two cables and a front derailleur in the past two weeks, plus had an issue with my front hub.  Well on our ride into Bristol on Saturday I noticed a slight clicking noise when I applied the rear brake.  I checked it out in the hotel and spotted a small bulge in my rim.  It didn’t look too bad so we decided to ride today and see how it went.  Bad news, it got worse.  By noon it you could get your fingernail under what now had become a small crack.

We stopped early in a town called Wells where there was a bike shop but unfortunately the shop was closed on Mondays.  Not knowing where to turn next we headed off to the tourist information office.  One of the five women in the shop just happened to be a cyclist and knew of a good shop in the small town of Cheddar, just 7 miles down the road.  We called the shop and they said that they would try to help if we came in.  So off we went to Cheddar.  It is not on our route but I didn’t have confidence in my wheel holding up enough to try riding to Exeter, where the next shop was.

When we arrived in Cheddar, we met yet another “bike shop savior.”  Paul, the owner of the Cheddar Cycle Store, came out to inspect my bike.  He gave it a look and said that he thought that we could make it to Lands End on the rim.  Sensing that I wasn’t so sure, he went back in the shop to see what he might have to replace the rim with.  He didn’t really have a good answer, he had no suitable rim and the only suitable wheel was Shimano, not Campy.  His next suggestion was a town further down the road and another shop.   He kindly looked up their details and gave us the number.

While we were on the phone with the other shop – which had the parts but couldn’t do the work for another two days – Paul came back out of the shop with another creative thought.  He was a part time cycle tourist himself and seeing how we were running out of options, he offered to sell me one of his personal wheels, off his own bike.  It was used, but in very good shape and higher quality than my wheel – plus it was not in the process of breaking!  It actually had pretty low miles on it.  Wow, our bike shop luck continues to hold.  He gave us a great deal on the wheel and even installed it himself.  In a little over an hour we went from being laid up for days to back in business with functioning bicycles.  Thanks Paul, you’re a legend!  For those interested, Paul and Cheddar Cycle Store can be found clicking here – they come with our highest recommendation.

The rim was not the only issue of the day.  My internal compass somehow blew a gasket in the morning and I managed to get us lost coming out of Bristol.  Google maps was right but I didn’t believe it.  Nancy was not very impressed and needless to say, she checked my work on every corner the rest of the day.  Not only did I mess up the one turn but in getting us back on route, I managed to find a crazy 14% grade hill that we didn’t need to go over had we been on route.  It will be a few days now before I get my secret decoder navigational ring back.  For now, it is locked safely in Nancy’s handle bar bag.

So, we are in Cheddar (like the cheese, tasty).  We are somewhat short of where we planned on being tonight and we are definitely off route.  Nancy is busy reworking our plan for the next few days.  All a little frustrating but in the big scheme of things not as bad it could have been hade my rim completely failed or had we not met another bike shop savior like Paul.  In fact since the LWOP trip technically has no schedule, I am officially declaring as of right now, we are exactly on schedule and precisely where we planned we would be.

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10 responses to “Another day, another bike savior – Bristol to Cheddar (52/20,864ks, 730m)

  1. The bike gods are with you, who knows what would have happened if you had blown out your rim going down a steep hill. Thank goodness for Paul. It is a rare person who would give you the wheel off his bike!

  2. Maybe your bike is ready for retirement? Hopefully you can still get some mileage out of it! Thank goodness for bike gods and your keen awareness of unusual noises!

    • When you spend as much time on your bike as we have, every little noise or bump gets noticed. We may not have traveled far every day but they are slow miles and take a lot of time! Hoping for quiet for a while.

  3. If I remember correctly, you had meant to start this adventure with a grand hike… but your plans changed when Nancy broke her collar bone. Maybe it’s time for a grand hike. Those 19 percent grades will seem like nothing…

    • We may have to pause this adventure travel thing to get jobs so that we can do… We’ve stayed focused on little goals this trip so far and right now Lands End is it. After that, probably France but we’ll make that plan later.

  4. so…. are you still up for riding the Giro in 2013, with the Patamia’s???

  5. Nice to hear about the local support from the cycling community. Never Give Up!

  6. All right. I gave it 24 hours but the mom-O-meter is still going off. I keep seeing your bicycle falling apart while you are riding on a steep hill or in traffic. I know you are cheap, but it is NOT worth getting hurt. What does Nancy say?

    • Nancy wants to know why it keeps breaking. She knows bikes well enough to know that almost all failures only really make you stop and fix them. Not very many are dangerous, thankfully.

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