Tuesday, July 2: When we woke up it was overcast, and it was obvious by the wet pavement that it had rained overnight, but it wasn't raining at the moment. After we had packed our panniers and were carrying them and our bikes downstairs it started to rain lightly. Still, it wasn't enough to bother with rain gear as we rode out of Digby.
Near the interchange for Rt 101 there was a strip of stores including Jessie’s diner where we stopped for breakfast. As we were eating the rain intensified and by the time we finished it was raining steadily. We put on our rain jackets and headed out. Just before we reached the highway I decided I wanted to put my tights on to prevent my knees getting cold. A cold, stiff knee would not be a good thing at the beginning of a day of cycling. We pulled in under the overhang of a small strip mall so I could root around in my pannier to find my tights. A woman came out of the storefront next door to announce that the coffee was fresh and to invite us in for a cup. We declined her offer of coffee as we had just finished our breakfast, but I did take advantage of her office as a comfortable place to put my tights on. It turns out that our host ran the local office for one of the provincial representatives. (That's not the right title. I can't remember what she told me it was. Can one of my Canadian readers help me out?) Before we left she gave us some pins that depicted the ship Bluenose, as well as some with the Nova Scotia flag. Apparently the Bluenose pins are available only from a member of the government. We probably should have spent more time in conversation with our gracious host, but I was preoccupied with our route and weather conditions and the other details of cycle travel. Isn't that always the way?
Rt 1 as it leaves Digby heading north joins 101 (a highway) for a short distance so the two routes can share a bridge. Rt 101 lacks a shoulder so makes for uncomfortable cycling, especially in the rain. Our first short stint on 101 went off fine, in spite if the rain. The second time we were forced onto the highway things didn't go quite so well. We had to cross a narrow bridge and as Jodi finished the bridge and started climbing the hill immediately following she tried to downshift onto her granny gear (the smallest chainring). I say tried because the chain failed to make the jump to the small ring and was drawn around and up by the chainring until it jammed tight between the small ring and the right chainstay. This, of course, stopped all forward movement instantly. Pushing her bike over to the soft shoulder we were now faced with the task of 'unstucking' Jodi's chain. I'd like to say we finessed the chain free in a display of technical brilliance. But all we did was yank on it until it finally gave way.
That being the third time running that Jodi had had trouble when downshifting the front chainring, she decided to get along without the granny ring until we could find a bike shop and get it looked at.
We were soon off the highway and back onto Rt 1. By the time we got to Annapolis Royal the rain had stopped and the sun was shining again. After a short snack break we were back on the bikes and heading up Rt 201 which runs up the southeast side of the Annapolis Valley while Rt 1 runs up the opposite side. The problems of the morning faded as we cycled through rolling farmland among strawberry fields and apple orchards.
Sometime during the afternoon I noticed the rear wheel rubbing the brake pad a little bit. Thinking that perhaps a spoke had broken I checked quickly but saw nothing, so decided not to worry about it until tonight. About a half kilometer later the wheel suddenly went totally out of true and rubbed so badly that it stopped the bike dead in its tracks. Taking the rear panniers off so I could take a closer look, I saw that three spokes had ruptured their eyelets in the rim and were completely loose. There was nothing to do now but to disconnect the rear brakes to prevent them from rubbing, and to limp along hoping the rim would hold up until we could find a bike shop that could replace the rim.
Bike shops aren't found on every corner in this area, but after a bit of asking we found ourselves at The Pedal Stop in Kingston. I can't say enough good things about Jaime Knauss, who took stock of the situation and went to great lengths to get us squared away. They didn't have a touring suitable rim in their shop. No surprise there. First Jaime called a series of other shops along our route. Finally she found one in Wolfville that had a suitable rim, but it was 60 kilometers away and whether or not my rim would last the distance was questionable. So next Jaime called a shop in Halifax run by her father. It took several calls back and forth to determine that they did not have a rim in stock, nor did they have a rear wheel, but they did have a front wheel with a touring suitable rim. So finally it was arranged that this front wheel and some new spokes would be sent from Halifax on the evening bus. Jaime would meet the bus at 9:00, and then she would disassemble the front wheel and use the rim and new spokes to build up a new wheel with my rear hub. In the morning when the shop opened she would finish truing the wheel and we would be on our way.
While all this was going on, the mechanic Cameron put Jodi's bike on the work stand and got her front derailleur adjusted so she could again use her granny ring.
So now we were off to get a room in the Aurora Inn a couple of blocks from the bike shop. The price was a bit more than we like to pay, but we had little choice so we took it. We went to our assigned room and opened the door only to find that the room had not been made up. I needed to get my bicycle back to the bike shop, which was closing soon, so I dropped my panniers and left Jodi to deal with the room while I rode back to the bike shop. When I walked back to the motel I found Jodi moving our gear into a four-room suite that we had been given because of the problem with our room. Jodi also informed me that we would be getting a free breakfast tomorrow morning!
After showering and making ourselves more presentable, we finished off our eventful day with cocktails on the patio and a wonderful meal in the restaurant connected to the motel.
Copyright © 1996 - 2011 Allen F. Freeman