Covered 15 miles on Wed on the bike. Total distance covered to date is 781 miles. I’m in Santa Cruz.
Well, if you’ve wondered where I’ve been, I’ve been a bit busy the past few days recovering from a bike failure. I’ve got it nearly fixed, and will be back on the road by Saturday, hopefully. I’ve kept from everyone that I have been having derailleur issues for the past 400 or so miles. My wonderful bike building/mechanic team in Santa Cruz has been supporting me trying to troubleshoot what is going on as I have traveled through Washington, Oregon and into California. You see, I’m an early adopter of new technology, always have been, and before I started riding, I put some gee whiz, high tech electronic shifting on my bicycle. And, when it started to perform erratically, it just blinked at me and I realized I had limited troubleshooting options. There are few knobs, buttons or cables to push or pull to enable me to mechanically figure out what is going on, because it is electronic! And, bike shops along the way have limited experience with this new technology. All there is are the blinking lights and batteries to change out. In hindsight, perhaps not the best decision to put all this gee whiz technology on this bike for this type of riding, and wishing and regrets don’t solve problems.
I started the day crossing the Humboldt Bay and riding by the historic mansions of Eureka. The large mansion, the Carson home was built by a lumber baron in the 1880s and has been a private club, male members only, since 1950 with sexual harassment claims by the employees. Yes, this stuff still exists.
Shortly after photographing these mansions, my derailleur failed in total. No shifting whatsoever on the rear cassette. It had been getting worse and worse as the days and miles went on. The most fortunate thing–once I got beyond the devastation, disappointment and frustration that my bike was only capable of forward motion in the gear it was in–was that I was in Eureka, a large size town with a rental car company near by. As I stood by my bike looking like a deer in the headlights, my brilliant riding partner, Robin, suggested I get a rental car and take my bike to Santa Cruz to be fixed. Robin, you are the best! And, so I did. I really had no other option, other than to put my bike in the van and become a passenger for the next weeks. I opted to take charge and solve the problem. Sitting and watching was not my dream for this trip and would not make me happy. I didn’t know when I could re-join the group, but I knew working on a solution, moving forward–though not on the bicycle–was what I had to do. I had to leave Robin to ride on without me –hopefully only for a few days– and my heart is still heavy about this.
Called Enterprise, they came and picked me and my bike up. From the first phone call, it was literally 45 minutes and I and my bike were in an SUV heading south on 101 to Santa Cruz., a 6 1/2 hour drive. Hit rush hour traffic as I crossed the Golden Gate bridge, enable these two shots.
Today, my bike is in the very competent hands of my bike shop/mechanic team. Parts are on order for overnight delivery. Bike will be repaired, tomorrow, fingers crossed, and I will rejoin my group in Fort Bragg–some 5 hours north–on Saturday, assuming everything goes as planned. And, if not, I’ll continue to make the best decisions I can with any new data I have. With this recovery, I will be off the epic cycling adventure for 2 1/2 days and 160 miles–though I can convince myself, this jaunt to Santa Cruz and then back up the coast in a rented SUV, is also epic in its own way.
Yesterday was certainly very difficult and disorienting. In less than an hour I went from moving at 13 – 14 mph on a bicycle on backroads to traveling at 75 mph on a freeway in a car as I left the “bike bubble”. When I got home, my house seemed really large and filled with lots of stuff. I arrived home still in my cycling gear, as I didn’t bother to pick up my bag, other than a pair of shoes and my laptop when I left Eureka. I felt unbalanced as I didn’t have enough information to know when I could return to the “bike bubble”. I was forced to wait. I still have to.
Today got easier. So, here is what I know for sure, for myself. Solving problems and working on solutions sure beats being a victim of circumstance. Big dreams and goals don’t always go as planned. Acceptance is the key with whatever happens. Make the best decisions possible with the data available. Enlist trusted friends and experts to be thought partners and provide support.
To all involved who have helped me navigate this chapter, I am grateful beyond words. Truly.