April 28th, 2009
The rain started at midnight and was constant through the night. As promised by the owner, a truck made a delivery for his business early in the morning. Everyone was gone by 7:00 because we didn’t see anyone again. We had a bagel with peanut butter, an apple, and a banana for breakfast then slowly ventured toward the bike to pack and push off.
The tandem was graciously sheltered in a large covered shed and we began our daily ritual of putting everything on the bike. I decided it was time to check the spokes since it was a particularly rough ride to get to Danville, not the roughest but a good bump or two. I began plucking the spokes like a harp listening to the ping each one made compared to the next. This tells me if the tension is consistent across all of the 48 spokes.
At first, I started noticing wildly sporadic low tones from one to another, and then I noticed “it.” I needed more light or to just get closer to make sure. Ah… then I ran my finger over the potential defect. Confirmed. Cracked hub. Probably the same way it began in 2007, but back then it went unnoticed until the break was catastrophic.
Heather told me she knew what it was before I spoke because I wouldn’t just keep lying on the floor without doing anything. I was actually moving on to what I was going to do about the break. It wasn’t going to fix itself. While I wrote the thank you note to our hosts Heather began the process of finding a bicycle shop to help us with our problem.
We still had an ace in the hole. Even when the hub was broken in four places 18 months ago it could still be ridden; we were banking on that this time. A bike shop close to where we spent the night recommended we just take it somewhere else to get it fixed. It sounded like it was too complicated for them. We then elected to call a bicycle shop local to where our friends lived because there wasn’t anything closer.
The best part was calling the friends we left the day before to let them know we were coming back to stay again. They hadn’t even finished finding all of the pranks we left for them. Luckily they didn’t have a chance to prepare for our return. A real test of a true friend is to screw with their stuff then come back the next day and see what they think of you. Heather and I agreed that you shouldn’t mess with anyone like that unless you’re sure you’re not going to come back so soon.
We rode on a cracked hub the 38 miles back to their house. Before we were even done for the day we thanked the bicycle for getting us as far as it did. It’s a pretty good deal to have somewhere to stay with that kind of work needing to get done, it could be days. Once we realized we were going to lean on our friends again, the obvious choice for a bike shop was Circle City Bicycles. Not just because it’s 7 miles from our friends house, it was the exact place we bought the bike from in August 2006. Bill, the mechanic who assembled it for us still worked there too. Even better, as if I needed more, Bill owned a bicycle very similar to ours. So he not only knows what it’s like to ride it, he’s also been on and assisted long distance tours.
We got in about an hour before our friends would get home from work. Heather and I had a few good laughs about all they’d discovered and all that they hadn’t, but as promised we put back what they didn’t get a chance to find. (They appreciated that; it was good start to our return visit.)
A few of the festive pranks we played:
Reversing the shower curtain.
Rotating clock face inserts 90 and 180 degrees.
Rearranging dress shoes in the organizer on the back of a door.
Unplugging the garage door opener.
Turning pictures upside down on the refrigerator and in frames.
Loosening light bulbs.
Turning the television up, putting tape over the remote sensor, then turning the TV off.
They have long hair cats, so we reversed the tape on the adhesive lint roller that they use daily.
How could we go without pressing the “test button” on the GFCI outlet for the dishwasher.