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STORIES FROM THE ROAD


JUL 02, 1996

WOBBLY WHEEL

I had a good night at the motel where the pastor of the First Congregation Church in Cheboygan, MI got me a room. I rode over to the hospital where the pastor was the administrator. He is also the president of the local Habitat affiliate. Over a donut and milk, the pastor slipped me twenty dollars and an offer to get a new front wheel for the bike. I had lost quite a few spokes up front.

From the hospital, I rode over to the local bicycle shop. The only wheel that would fit my bike was a Mavic double-walled wheel. It would have cost sixty-five dollars but they only charged fifty dollars. The wheel had been set up for Presta valves so they gave me a tube and an adapter.

It was around eleven in the morning, When I headed out of Cheboygan south on MI 27. About twelve miles out while coasting down a hill, the front tube popped. The tube's air went out quickly. I almost crashed but I was able to keep the bike up.

After about three miles of road walking, I came across a factory that rebuilt gas tanks. I was able to get the wheels valve stem hole drilled out so I could go back to Schraeder tubes. I found out the reason why the tube went flat was because they at the bike shop had forgotten to put in a rim strip. I used most of my electrical tape to make a rim strip so that the tire will not be punctured by the spoke nipples. I got the tube inflated so that I could make it into Indian River.

After reinflating the tire in Indian Harbor, I noticed that the wheel was really wobbly. I thought that it could have been an axle problem but I found out that the tension on all the spokes had gone some how. I couldn't believe it. I called up the bike shop to tell them what had happened but they wanted to turn the blame on my problems back to me. I was told that if I could make it back to Cheboygan, they would fix it for me.

After a three mile walk and two rides, I got back to the bike shop in Cheboygan. They trued up the wheel again and gave me a rim strip and a Schraeder tube. I got back on the road around 4:30 p.m.




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