Repairs in Ellensburg

Our ride from Naches up to Ellensburg was scenic but the mood was dampened by hours spent at the side of the road working on the bike.   The games began with a rear flat just outside of Selah.   Rear flats on this bike are always a messy hassle that always seem to chew up at least a full hour as we unload all the bags, detach the trailer, remove the idler gear, remove the Rohloff gear actuator, work the thing free, and then wrestle the very tight-fitting tire off and back on.    With this one we got some bonus fun with a problematic valve stem but no problem since we'd wisely prepared for such a low moment by packing a couple honeybuns -- Tina's photos capture me doing away with one of them ;-)

With that flat fixed we headed turned north on Canyon Road which follows the Yakima River up to Ellensburg.   But just a couple miles into the canyon the tire was low again -- down to the 30 lb range where it starts to wiggle on us.   At first we engaged in the denial strategy -- pump it up, bike a couple miles, pump it up, bike a couple miles, etc .. but pretty soon it was clear that we were going to have to find some place to setup "camp" again.  

Luckily a picnic area materialized and we were able to work mostly in the shade for this next one.  This time it was an easily-patched goat head puncture but in the process we discovered a quarter inch glass cut in the tire.   We booted that too and eventually got back on the road again. We didn't have a third flat but then in a bit the cleat on my left shoe, which had been getting very marginal, stopped holding at all and so in that form we limped into Ellensburg yesterday evening feeling pretty beat up.

This morning we packed up and headed for the bicycle shop planning to cycle on after addressing some issues like the cleat.   But one thing led to another as I asked them to take a look at the front wheel, which had recently come out of true, and to check the chains for wear.  Things got pretty involved with the front wheel (a whole other long story) and, as I suspected, the chains were worn out and so those had to be replaced as well. 

By then it was the afternoon and after an hour of peddling uphill and upwind we, um, "reconsidered" and decided that we needed repair too and so we turned tail having decided to take a "zero" day back in Ellensburg.   Some days just aren't destined for travel .. :-}

But tomorrow morning early we're off again hoping to get out of this valley (complete with wind turbines -- always a bad sign for cyclists!) before the winds are back to full strength.

Before going, I'll quickly report that yesterday we met a Czech rider who had started his ride in Alaska and who intends to reach Tierra del Fuego in just 9 months!   He looked very fit, strong, and well equipped and so we're betting he'll make it.   We asked if he was keeping an online journal we could follow.   The answer was yes but that it was written in Czech and so ... :-}

I'd also like to give a shout out to the ReCycle Bicycle Shop in Ellensburg.   A very impressive high volume operation that has somehow managed to hang onto all the small shop positives and atmosphere while operating at a larger scale with all those benefits too.   A fantastic shop that I suspect others should study.

All the best, David