I had a really successful day at the ‘Sunshine Bike Shop’ today and have had my bike totally overhauled. I had a later start this morning, as the shop didn’t open until 10, and I only had to ride 15 miles to get there. I left bags of time, and got there for opening as I had planned. As it turns out the problem was far more complicated than I thought it would be.
Ever since I rode up to Yorkshire in preparation for this trip my chain has been skipping and periodically coming off. Different shops have tried solving the problem by changing the tension on the gear cable – which has helped to a certain extent but has not solved the underlying problem: a worn out chain and rear casette. When the chain came off it damaged the hub of the rear wheel, weakening the wheel, and leading to the broken spokes. Apparently when one spoke goes it can lead to more going + it didn’t help that the last shop botched the repair on the other broken spoke. They said they could have a go at fixing my old wheel, or they could put a new wheel on. Fixing the old wheel was not guaranteed to solve the problem, so I decided to go for a new wheel. I got a really good deal on a new, stronger handbuilt wheel (second hand, although it had less that 100 miles on it) with a higher spoke count (so stronger) – for $50. They replaced my worn rear casette and chain, which should prevent the new wheel getting damaged in the same way the last one was. I also had my bottom bracket cleaned and my Derailleur hanger straightened, which had bent when the chain came off. Finally they gave it a bit of a clean – it’s first in 1500 miles – and replaced the rear tire which had nearly worn out. Apparently I was really lucky as this kind of problem can easily write off the entire frame of the bike!
The guys in the shop were brilliant, and were all jealous of my trip – it was great talking to people who really appreceate the scale of what I am doing. It took all morning to get the job done, and by the time I left the shop at around 13.00 it was too late to try and push on, so I grabbed some lunch and checked into a motel. I should be able to make some progress tomorrow, and hopefully I can cover some ground before I have any more mechanical problems.