Day 3: Epic Failure Followed By Saviour

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

7.69 miles (Total: 115.45) Average Speed: 7.7mph Max Speed: 29.5mph

So today started well enough, I felt great still following the big ride yesterday and spent the morning casually updating this blog. I got on the road around 9am and was cruising the first 5 miles when disaster struck.

I was about to start climbing up a big hill and dropped down to my lowest rear gear for the first time on the trip. All of a sudden the bike jammed and made an awful metal bending sound. I stop and assess what happened, my rear derailleur is bent in towards my spokes and my chain dangling all over the place. What the hell just happened! I take my bags off and flip my bike over, my sleeping bag and mat roll down the hill I had just started on.

I try to stay calm but I’m sweating like hell and it looks REALLY bad. A closer inspection shows the dropout on the very end of the frame has completely bent inwards towards the spokes and drivetrain. I know immediately that this is unfixable and would have to go to a bike shop.

I can fix spokes, flats and chains but this is crazy and I’m still trying to get my head around how my steel frame has just bent itself inwards. My heart sank as I had been enjoying the riding so much and knew how serious this was. So I tape up my chain and derailleur to the frame, turn the bike around and start walking back to Ashland. I figured this would take about an hour, I free-wheeled down any slopes but had to push it up a few hills.

It was still early Sunday morning so not many people were out, EXCEPT for cyclists :D. A guy coming the other way sees me walking my bike and asks me if I’m ok. I told him no and explained what had happened, his name was Wat, and he gets out his phone and starts making calls straight away. I felt completely helpless an knew this guy was my only real hope. He must of known too because even though he had plans of his own he wasn’t going to leave me till I was sorted.

Scene of the crime

The very end bit of the frame with the hole is the bent part, I had to tape the derailleur up so I could free-wheel.

At this point another cyclist pulls up called Troy and discusses my options and tells me about a few other bike shops, there aren’t any in Ashland so I would need to get to the next city Richmond, about 15 miles. Wat only lives 2 miles away so cycles home to get his car. He returns swiftly honking his horn, a true American hero. We load my bike up and he drives to Peformance cycles first, at this stage I can either try get mine fixed or think about replacing the frame. They don’t stock the right type of frame for me but point me in the direction of Conte’s Bike shop who might be able to fix it.

They check the bike and say they can fix it although they are fully booked up for the day but can see I’m pretty much stranded so offer to get it done by 3pm. Relief washes over me, Wat even suggests we go for food to kill some time and at this point he has already halted plans with his wife for their Sunday so I can only apologise again for that and make sure I cover the bill to at least repay him a little. Not only was he incredibly helpful he was also tuned into some great music, the short time we were in the car we had Phoenix, Passion Pit, Anberlin, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon!

This man is a hero and should be given the key to every city and town in England.

Before returning to Conte’s I nip to the shop to grab a crate of Newcaslte Brown Ale for the guys to thank them for squeezeing me in. On returning they tell me straight away I’m all sorted and ready to go, I can believe they have fixed me up so quickly. They trued my wheels, sorted my spokes, fixed my bend and even fitted a nice new Shimano Tiagra derailleur all for under $50!

If Carlsberg did bike shops, this would be it!

One of the guys even gives me a few spare allen keys that I don’t have on my multi tool. They explained the reason it happened was because the stopper on the derailleur that prevents it from bending into the spokes wasn’t secured. I don’t know why this was but it must have been done when my bike was boxed up. I only had a problem today because it was the first time I had used my lowest rear gear so it buckled and just pulled everything in. I was assured it would not happen again and took a test ride before grabbing a taxi with a great driver called Charles back to the motel I was at last night, tomorrow I will head to Mineral once again.

15 Responses to “Day 3: Epic Failure Followed By Saviour”

  1. Benjamin Kerry says:

    WAT a legend! Nice one Wat! Even disaster sounds more fun than life here mate…keep it going and I’ll keep checking back every day…

  2. Scott says:

    Glad you got sorted! Did they have to weld the dropout or just bend it back?

  3. ryan says:

    I’m not sure how they straightened it but the guy at the front desks said the mechanics they had were amazing and it seems they’ve done a great job. I will be having flashbacks tomorrow when riding past the same spot!

  4. Nate Dogg says:

    Wat is going on! This guy is a Hero. Sounds like you got hooked up at the bike shop too. Seems like you’re meeting great people everyday, must be that Geordie charm! haha

  5. Amy Anderson says:

    Hey Rye, sorry to hear bout the bike but these things only add to the adventure and mean you get to meet amazing people like Wat that you wouldn’t have otherwise, that guy is a legend! I’m just on nightshift at work fighting crime on the mean streets of Teesside! Lovin the updates! P.S. Got woke up this morning by Will shouting about a massive spider that had set up camp on my door! Arghhh!

  6. Martin says:

    I work at Kenton-you don’t know me- and as a bit of a biker have total respect for your adventure. Your pics and stories are tremendous so I hope you keep up the energy to file your news and give us a few moments to enjoy your jorney. Have a nice day.

  7. land of the free, and generous says:

    Glad you survived this one mate.

  8. mum says:

    hi rye,so pleased you were in an area where their were such lovely people to help you,that guy Wat certainley is a HERO, hope todays a good one,thinking of you love mum xx

  9. Ryan Lewis Davies says:

    An excellent adventure – keep it up!

  10. Pete Bretherton says:

    Was about to say glad you got off to a good start. I’ll re-phrase and say glad you got off to an eventful start! Day 3 was a great read. Looks like everyone involved had a good day (apart from Wat’s wife of course)!

    Looking forward to reading more…

  11. keith says:

    Hiya rye,the plot thickens the story becomes more exciting each day.Ithink you may have a best seller on youre hands.Can’t believe you came up with a crate of newcastle brown,CHEERS TO MR WAT AND CONTE’S.Keep up the good work, dead proud of ya

  12. Chris Douglass says:

    Jeez only 3 days in and it seems like you’ve met some incredibly kind people! Absolutely loving the blog ryan! Just about to settle down and watch the Lost finale, gunna be weird without you here! You manage to catch it?

  13. josh says:

    Hey Ryan I am just about to go to school. I CAN NOT WAIT FOR THE WORLD CUP. Did you see the England versus Mexico game last night we were rubbish but we still managed to win 3_1 thanks to goals from ledley king ,peter crouch and glen Johnson. Hope your still having a great time on ya trip.Love you loads bye.

  14. mike anderson says:

    Ryan, hope you are enjoying route 76. There are lots of people like Wat
    in the US. The family is really enjoying the story and your pics. Hope the
    wind is at your back

  15. Craig Campbell (Cuz) says:

    Ryan hope you have had a good day on the road and its been problem free, I’m in Alberta at the moment so on the same sort of time frame your on, here’s my cell number so if you need to speak to anyone I can be company for you, 403-458-4441 in addition if you have Skype (which I find is the cheapest for calling home) my user name is craig.campbell850.

    Good luck and I look forward to your latest installment

    Craig.

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My name is Ryan Anderson, in Summer 2010 I rode my bike across America. Starting on the east coast in Yorktown, VA and finishing in Florence, OR. Read more

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