This morning, just as we had completed loading the bike, Roger came around the back side of it to put a little air in the tires and said, 'oh, my goodness, we have a broken spoke'! That's not exactly what he said, but you can figure it out.
So that put a bit of a cramp in our plan to ride all the way to White Sulphur Springs today. Bike Shop doesn't open 'til 10. We decided we would wait around a bit, get a cup of coffee, and see what our options were. While we were thinking about it I asked this question:
We've had those wheels and those spokes since 2010. Might it be wise to just replace them all now, instead of having one of them break every couple hundred miles?
I don't know much about bikes, or how long things are supposed to last, but it did seem to me that metal fatigue could certainly play a part in this since we've been riding on those wheels possibly 30,000 miles. It might be time to just replace the whole set and be done with it.
So in the end, that is what we have decided to do. Roger consulted at some length with the mechanic at The Garage, a renowned bicycle repair shop here in Helena. They see a lot of mountain bike traffic because of their proximity to the Great Divide route. This guy builds a lot of wheels and we felt like this would give us a greater measure of assurance that we would not have to be dealing with broken spokes so much for the remainder of our tour.
This gave me a chance to visit the AAA office and pick up some road maps for our upcoming states. On the way, I enjoyed seeing some of Helena's neighborhoods. Folks have beautiful gardens here, and there are some splendid old homes.
We have found another Warm Showers host to provide us room and a shower tonight, and then we will head off early tomorrow to continue on our way to our rendezvous with our friends in Billings. We'll just take a rest day here, instead of there!
And what a fortuitous delay it turned out to be! Our hosts, Matt and Maryellen, were so fun and we enjoyed ourselves so much, I think our adventure would have been that much less excellent had we not had an opportunity to meet them.
|Must be living right! Roger and Matt|
Maryellen fixed a wonderful supper and cherries jubilee for dessert! Wow! So much fun to talk with another mature tandem touring couple. It's interesting to compare notes about trips and tactics for travel. Matt was on the board of Adventure Cycling for about 20 years, also. So that's pretty cool.
|Kathy, Maryellen and Matt - with cherries jubilee!|
Also, here is our first host in Helena, Airica. She was so gracious and cool - I was sorry we did not have more time to visit with her. She is another recent transplant in Montana - from Wyoming. There are many like her! I have been surprised to learn how many people are moving up here. Are they on to something?
|Airica and Kathy|
While hanging around the bike shop, we met another couple on the Tour Divide. They are from France, and have allowed themselves two months to complete the route. They were able to report that they had visited with Nick a day or so ago, and he was doing well. So - if you are reading this, RIDE ON, Nick! We are rooting for you!
|Joan, from France with Alaen to do Tour Divide|