TRIP 2008

Update #21 - September 09th
Americus, Georgia
8968 miles (14,349 KM)

My 17th mission trip ended yesterday (September 08th). It's hard to believe that I'm back in Americus after being gone for a little over five months. The trip ended anti-climatically since I really didn't ride into town. I got within 29 miles (46 KM) of Americus and then I had to call for help.

I was having some serious problems with my recumbent. I've been having some problems with my rear derailleur for the past several months. It wasn't going into all of the gears smoothly. Back in Montana, the cage for the derailleur pulleys got a little bit bent out of alignment. It could have been from the derailleur being hit by the right side pannier after I had hit a bump wrong. I tried to straighten it out and I got maybe 60% of the gear settings working halfway decent. Yesterday only 30% of the gear settings seemed to work.

Another thing that was causing the problem with shifting and maintaining in gear was that the chain was pretty worn out. From all that I've read, you could safely put on maybe 3,000 to 8,000 miles (4,800 to 12,800 kilometers) before it gets too stretched and worn out. I've got maybe 18,570 miles (29,712 kilometers) on the chain. When you replace the chain, you have to replace the rear cluster also or they will not mesh together properly. I would need to buy three chains since it takes two and a third chains to match the length of the chain on my recumbent.

The problem with the drive train might not have stopped me from getting back to Americus on my own power but what stopped me in my tracks was what was happening with the rear tire. In several places, the tread had separated from the liner. Square sections of the tread had come off. I've never had this problem before. It almost reminded me of the problem of tread separation on retreaded car and truck tires. I've been pretty observant on the condition of the tires but this problem seemed to have occurred in the past couple of days. Usually if I'm lucky, I've been getting between 3000 and 4000 miles (4800 and 6400 KM) on a rear tire. This tire had only 2,740 miles (4,384 KM) on it. Here are a couple of pictures of some of the tread damage.

Photo of rear tire damage
Photo of rear tire damage

Before getting back on the road in about two months, I've got to have the chain, rear cluster, and rear derailleur replaced. This will cost around $200. This doesn't count getting the new rear tire which will cost around $30.

More news to follow but for the next couple of days all I'll be doing is mostly sleeping to recover.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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