There’s nothing you want to hear less than a loud crack, followed by the sound of metal shearing off your back rim when you’re going down a steep hill but sure enough, that’s what Andrew heard when we were cruising into Colfax yesterday.
“Now what?” we asked ourselves? We’d certainly gotten our money’s worth out of that rim – it’s been on since Iran, about 25,000km ago. But Colfax wasn’t exactly teeming with bicycle shops.
On the bright side, at least we weren’t in Dusty, a few scattered houses about 18 miles west. The town lives up to its name when the wind whips across the fields and to make matters worse, the water is salty and in the convenience store, the man behind the counter assured us that a pot of artificially flavoured yogurt was the healthiest thing he sold.
Colfax, by contrast, had a main street with a few banks, a Mexican restaurant and a used bookstore. But no bicycle shop. We asked the locals but got only strange looks and directions to auto repair shops. It was then that we spotted our saving grace – a library.
Into the library we went and explained our predicament. “You’re not going to find much in this town,” they told us. But the phone books quickly came out, the helpful librarians started dialing numbers and before long we were talking to B&L Bicycles in Pullman, a larger town 18 miles down the road.
By this time the local newspaper reporter had also noticed our problem and run behind the office to rip the wheel off some old bike that had been sitting outside for months. It was a nice thought but the wheel wasn’t a fit so we jumped in a cab and headed straight for Pullman.
Now, if the sound of a rim breaking is the stuff of nightmares, then the sound of a mechanic who knows what he’s doing is music to a cyclist’s ears and in B&L Bicycles we found not one mechanic but 3 who really knew their stuff and it was barely an hour before Andrew had a new wheel, Friedel had her saddle tensioned and we were out the door with directions to a cycle path and the best campground in the area.
As far as mechanical breakdowns go, this one turned out to be a lot easier to fix than we feared at first so a huge THANK YOU to the guys at B&L – 3 more members to add to our support crew on our big journey.