Every morning, I will check the weather app and see how things look; both at my starting point and my endpoint. I could hear the road traffic outside my motel window. The weather app called for 0% precipitation and cloudy skies. When I opened my drapes I saw that the road was completely wet and the mist was so thick it was still getting things wet. Since the hotel did not offer any breakfast, I had decided to walk 50 yards down the street to a good breakfast restaurant and just start my ride from there. Fortunately, when I got out of the restaurant, the mist had lightened to almost nothing. The roads were still wet, but the air was dry.
Leaving town was mostly downhill, but 4 miles down the road I hit a long uphill that lasted more than three fourths of a mile. As I got near the top, I thought Hidalgo was feeling a little unstable so I stopped. When I felt his tire I could tell it was losing air and had already gotten a little soft. Rather than pump it up, I decided the best thing to do was to go ahead and change the tube. Of course, the problem was on the rear tire! When I got the tube off, I noticed there was a patch on it. I had not noticed that when I had put it on the wheel 2 days into the ride. I thought I had had a new tube, not a patched one. After the flat in Tillamook a few days ago, that meant I was using my last brand new tube. I decided that I needed to get some new tubes at the closest bike shop. That was going to be in North Bend, at my next stop 19 miles away.
There was a scenic viewpoint just a few hundred meters down the road from where I had my flat. I pulled over for a photo opportunity and made comments about my flat tire. One of the people who had pulled up to the viewpoint heard me and offered me a good bike pump that he had in his car. Jeff was traveling to California to do some mountain biking. With my portable pump, I had only got the pressure to about 65 pounds after pumping 135 repetitions. Thanks to his pump, my tire pressure went from 65 lb to the recommended 105 with only 5 repetitions. I would not have been able to do that without his help. It was yet another example of a bad situation turning into a good.
As I came to within 2 miles North Bend/Coos Bay, I could see the enormous bridge I would have to cross. When I finally got to the bridge it had a special button to turn on lights to indicate there were bikers on the bridge. This would notify people in cars to be extra careful. I waited for a break in the traffic hit the button and then made a dash up the bridge. Not more than fifty yards into it, I could feel Hidalgo getting unstable again. I stopped, saw the tire had gone flat, and quickly jumped onto the sidewalk. I walked back to the beginning of the bridge and started to change the flat tire which of course was- you guessed it, the rear. I was getting pretty good at changing the rear tire by now. When I’m fast I can do it in 25 or 30 minutes. This time, however, I did not have a new tube anymore. I needed to take the extra time to both find the hole in the tube, and patch it.
As I was finishing up another biker pulled up to the bridge entrance. We discussed the strategies of trying to cross or walk. I guess I talked him into riding rather than walking. He agreed that the Marathon tires I was using for the toughest, and we’re the same brand that he used on his bike. Yesterday, Eric and Dandy were also riding on Marathon tires and sing their praises. Could it be that because today is Friday the 13th I was having all these problems? What I do know, is that the wire fragment I pulled out of the tire would have gone through anything.
The nearest bike shop was no more than 200m beyond the end of the bridge. My patch job only needed to get me across the 3/4 mile bridge. I gave the tire a few more pumps for good measure. Then I got to the start, once again looked for a break in traffic, hit the button, and made my Mad Dash across the bridge. Of course it was all uphill until the midpoint and then I was pumping the brakes all the way down.
The folks at Moe’s Bike Shop took good care of me. I had already made up my mind that I was going to let them put the new tube on the rear wheel this time. I had had enough practice and I thought I’d let someone else have some fun. As it turned out, Mike, the repairman, had to change the tube twice as well. He did it a second time to have a certain valve length be the same as my front tire. In all, Hidalgo’s rear tire cycled through four different tubes today. I bought two more new tubes and gave him my patched ones for recycling. While I was in there I asked them for recommendations for a place to get a beer. They recommended Seven Devils Brewing Company. They also suggested I stay on 101 rather than a road that went closer to the coast as I had originally planned. It turns out the road I was planning did not go close enough to get good views of the ocean and also had a lot more climbing to do. After being on the road for 5 hours and having only two hours on the bike I was ready to take a shortcut. And I was definitely ready for a beer.
Other than a 1.5 mile uphill stretch, the ride to Bandon was uneventful. When you are constantly riding on the shoulder of a road, you see a lot of strange things. There is roadkill and all manner of discarded items. When I was within 10 Mi of Bandon, I needed to pull off the road for a nature stop. I leaned Hidalgo against the guardrail and went into the brush. When I return I noticed something on the ground. It appeared to be a 9 mm gun shell. I also noticed some abandoned underwear. I couldn’t help but notice that they were the brand, EX Officio. This is a brand used by hikers and bikers because they can be washed and dry quickly. Someone with a vivid imagination could use those two items to create an interesting story.
The hotel I stayed in at Bandon, had everything I needed, including a hair dryer. It’s not that I need to dry my hair, but when you wash your clothes in the sink, the hair dryer comes in handy to finish drying my bike clothes for the next day. Since the hotel did have a refrigerator and microwave but did not offer breakfast, I decided to go to a grocery store only 300 yards away. I bought enough for tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast. It is often part of my routine when I can stay in a place like this.
All in all, it was 8 hours from when I left to when I arrived, but less than 4 were spent on the bike as you can see at the ride summary. Although the day started off rather dreary, after I had the beer everything was bright and sunny. Both in my attitude and in the weather. I did not have the amazing views I had yesterday, but flying down 101 on a sunny day surrounded by trees and seeing interesting things along the road still made for a wonderful day.
The Lone Rider