The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Only a week to go

I find it hard to believe that this tour is almost over. I have 7 cycling days left. That is, if my bike behaves.

I have a sad story to tell, about my wounded Trek. Somewhere in Texas, disaster struck. The bike's fork got bent. That's the part that attaches the handlebars to the front wheel.

Our bike guide drove me and the bike to the nearest bike shop that handled Trek bikes. It was in Austin, a 45-minute drive away. The shop was Johnnies, Lance's shop.

The mechanic did not have a fork for my model of bike, but an aftermarket fork that he installed. Problem solved?

Not quite. The front brakes, which are attached to the fork, started jamming. Adjustment after adjustment, nothing worked. I've been consulting with Downtube over the phone, and they've ordered me a model-specific fork. But I have to get home first.

Here in Pensacola (Fla.) today I took my bike to the bike shop next to our hotel, where the mechanic adjusted brake and wheel, and said when my brake jams, to tighten the wheel on the axle. I think this will get me home. It will keep that front wheel centered.

I should have accepted the offer of a mule driver we encountered in Mississippi a few days ago on a country road (see photo above). I said to him, that's the way to travel.

He said, I'll trade you two mules and a wagon for that bicycle.

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