TRIP 2006

Update #22 - August 11th
Rochester, New York
5457 miles ( 8730 KM) since March 27th,
5948 miles ( 9516 KM) since Jan 01st

The ride from Bowling Green, Ohio to Rochester, New York was a bit of a roller coaster not just because of the rolling hills but from the roller coaster of emotions from the people that I came in contact with and some more bike problems. I seem to having more than my fair share of bike problems this year.

From Bowling Green, I headed south towards the Columbus area. My intention was to ride down to the Circleville area just south of Columbus to meet up with a pastor who had contacted me earlier in the year and then I would travel up to the Mansfield area to visit with a Methodist minister friend of mine. August is the month when pastors take their vacations and this was the case with these ministers. I'm glad that I was able to get on the internet when I got to the Findlay area or I would have made the trip through some really hilly terrain for nothing.

Just south of Findlay, I rode through the Riverdale School District. This school district had some meaning to me because I had attended there 32 years ago as a senior at the high school as an exchange student. The high school was out in the country between the small towns of Forest and Mount Blanchard and I had lived with a host family in Forest. It was neat seeing the old high school building but it wasn't used as a school any more. The small school district had shrunk in the total size of students so a new building had been built about four years ago that houses all grades from K thru 12. There were a few cars out in the parking lot but I didn't stop in.

I did take a short break in Forest. I was surprised to see that about half of the buildings in the downtown area had been closed. There did seem to be more light industrial factories in the small town of about 1000 people. I didn't take the time to see if I could find my host family. I found out about ten years ago that my host family had suffered a divorce.

From Forest, I had a pleasant ride east to Upper Sandusky because of a good tailwind. Between Upper Sandusky and Bucyrus, I rode along the old Lincoln Highway Route. This used to be U.S. 30 but a newer 4-lane divided highway had been built to the south of the old highway. It was good to not have to deal with any trucks. This section of roadway had been recently repaved.

I stopped for the night in Shelby. Through the police department, I got connected with the local UCC minister, who was also one of the police department chaplains. He surprised me by offering to get me a room at the local motel. He also told me that it was a pleasure to meet me since he had followed my website and he never thought he would meet me in person. He also knew my Methodist minister friend who lived in the Mansfield area.

The next night I spent with a family who lived outside of Hinckley, Ohio. We met through the Warm Showers Program. Don is a mechanic at the Century Cycle Bike Shop in Medina. Warm Shower members in Chesterfield hosted me the following night. My hosts were the owners of the Hubbub Custom Cycle Shop. After my stop in Chesterfield, I spent four nights in my tent. Three of the nights were in woods at cliff side overlooking Lake Erie outside of North Kingsville, Ohio; Harborcreek Township, Pennsylvania ; and Sheridan, New York.

I had mentioned that I also suffered some bike problems. A few miles inside of Pennsylvania along PA 5 about 20 miles west of Erie as I was down shifting up a hill, my rear derailleur went out completely. From what I had found out was that somewhere between Des Moines, IA and NE Ohio, the rear derailleur had taken a jolt (a possibility that the bike had fallen over to the right and the derailleur had been hit). The hanger mount for the derailleur had been bent inward and this caused a misalignment of the pulley cage. There should have been a spoke protector (a ring of plastic) between the rear cluster and the spokes. It had been taken off in Des Moines, Iowa when the wheel had been rebuilt.

As I was climbing up a steep grade, I down shifted into one of the lower gears. Because of the misalignment of the pulley cage, the derailleur over shifted and the chain got caught between the cluster and the spokes. It was a miracle that no spokes were broken. Because of the force of the impact, the chain tension screw was broken off the derailleur and the pulley cage was jammed into the spokes. It was lucky for me that there was no traffic behind me and I didn't crash. I quickly got off the bike and man-handled it off the road onto the narrow shoulder. It was a tense half hour for me as I tried to figure out what kind of roadside repair I could do to get the bike rideable.

I was able to carefully bend the pulley cage out of the spokes and make it somewhat straight up and down. To get close to the right tension of the chain, I used a plastic zip-tie that I had in one of my panniers. I was able to get just one gear (the second low gear (second biggest gear)) to work without the chain skipping or jumping around. Basically, I went from a 24 speed bike to a 3 speed bike. I made it through Erie, Pennsylvania before dark and was able to get at least six miles out of the town of North East, Pennsylvania before I had to stop for the night and find a place to camp out in some woods.

The next morning, I made my way over to the Lake Country Bike store in North East. I was sort of friends with the owner, Dave. I met him the first time back in 1992. The last time I saw him was four years ago. I had about a 2.5 hour wait before Dave came to the store. He was surprised to see me. He and his wife just got back from a trip to Cape Cod and he wasn't really planning to do any repairs today since he was short staffed but in my case he offered to help out. He didn't have a SRAM 3.0 derailleur in stock but he did carry SRAM 4.0 derailleurs. These were much better since they all of the major parts were metal. He told me that I could pay him later for the repair and the derailleur. It was almost 1 p.m. when I finally headed out towards New York.

I thought that everything was working okay but about six miles into New York I started to have problems with the chain skipping. It could have been because the derailleur wasn't set right after all or the free hub inside of the wheel was breaking down. The latter could be worse news since the free-hub could break and I could be pedaling but not going anywhere because the prawns of the cluster wouldn't be catching onto the hub of the wheel. I had two and a half tense and long days to Rochester camping out in my tent two more nights. The last full day, I had made it to 26 miles out of Rochester before it got too dark and unsafe for me to be out on the road.

I arrived at my friend's house in Rochester mid-afternoon on Wednesday. Yesterday morning, I took the bike over to the nearest bike shop to me, Towner's on University Avenue. There were two mechanics on duty, Peter and Mike. They got on the recumbent right away. Mike was the one doing all of the adjustments. He said that the free-hub seemed to be okay and that it was just a minor adjustment of the derailleur. The repair was going to be $8. I had a good time talking with them. They were amazed at how far I had traveled on the recumbent.

I have over 15,000 miles on the recumbent since I got it the end of April of last year. Peter told me that he was a Christian and if I would have come into the shop Wednesday afternoon I might have been invited to go to his church Wednesday night. When I pulled out my wallet, Peter told me to put it away since he was going to take care of the repair. I told him that I would like to at least buy something from the shop. I needed to get a new mirror for the bike since the one I had on the bike had been broken by the car that had hit me between Escanaba and Gladstone in the UP of Michigan. Peter told me that he would take care of the cost of the mirror himself also and he put it on for free. In all, I got about $30 in repairs and accessories for free.

I will be here in Rochester through the weekend. There might be a couple opportunities for me to speak. I might be getting back on the road Monday morning or I might have to wait till Wednesday morning since the weather for cast is predicting thunderstorms for Monday and Tuesday. From Rochester, I will be riding along the old Erie Canal Towpath to Albany. I'll not be crossing the Northern Appalachians in Western Massachusetts after all because the ministers that I was going to visit with in Darien, Connecticut will be going on a mission trip to Alaska. At Albany, I will be turning south so I can ride down the west side of the Hudson River to at least Harriman State Park and the Bear Mountain Bridge. There still might be an overnight in New York City if I can make arrangements with a Warm Showers member there.

I'll try and post and update as often as I can if my plans change. The next update should be posted between August 18th and August 25th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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