Wednesday, 18 March 2015

How to wreck a bike! (part 2).

You might remember from my last post (click - here to read it):-

  • We went looking for koalas,
  • cycled through a patch of devil thorns,
  • got four flat tyres in rapid succession, and 
  • struggled to get David's rear wheel seated back into it's cradle.
Tired and stressed and finally  back at our hotel, we decided to deal with the flat tyres the next day. In the morning we woke to discover my rear tyre had joined the party and also gone flat. This brought our puncture count to five.


We had a longish drive ahead of us from Griffith to Mildura, about four and a half hours and we were heartily fed up with dealing with the consequences of our dance with the devil thorns so we decided to put the problem off once more and fix the bikes at our destination -  as things turned out this was a serious mistake.

Our route took us across the Hay Plain - hot, dry and monotonous.  Usually David drives first on long trips, then I give him a break for a while before he takes the final shift. Today we altered our routine. I drove for the first few hours. While in the passenger's seat I tend to keep an eye on the bikes. I can see them through the side mirror. If they don't look quite right I turn around and check. This habit has saved us from disaster more than once, but generally only when we are overseas and using a less secure bike rack which straps to the back of the car. In Australia we have a rack attached to the towbar and except for one memorable occasion when we forgot to tie down the straps holding my bike we have never had a problem.

David takes a much more 'she'll be right' attitude.  Either the position of his seat doesn't give him a view of the bikes or he just doesn't bother to check - I'm not sure which.

Notice something missing?


Several hundred kilometres along the road from Griffith we changed drivers. Now in the passenger seat I did a quick check of the bikes. Something didn't look quite right.

"Your rear wheel is missing," I tried to sound calm.

"What!"

 "Pull over. I think your back wheel is gone."  I couldn't quite comprehend the obvious.

Safely off the road we confirmed the worst. The rear wheel of David's bike had disappeared.

Do you remember how stressed he was when he couldn't get the wheel seated back in yesterday? (You can click here for the blog post).  Do you also remember he had to rush because it was getting late, we had run out of inner tubes and my tyre was going flat at the same time? There is a little nut on the side of the wheel and a lever on the other side. The lever has to be pushed in and the nut tightened once the wheel is in its cradle. It seems that David just forgot to tighten the nut - Ooooppps!

We have no idea when the wheel fell off. Five minutes of panicked discussion about whether it was worth turning around brought us to the conclusion that it could have been hundreds of kilometres back and even if we found the wheel it might be damaged beyond repair.

The funny thing was we had stopped twice in the last few hundred kilometres and neither of us noticed anything wrong. The first time we pulled over to photograph a flock of emus by the side of the road. The second time we both walked around the back of the car past the bikes to change drivers. Maybe the wheel was still there when we stopped for the emus but it must have been gone when we changed drivers because I noticed it was missing almost immediately afterward.

A flock of emus on the Hay Plain.

I wasn't too concerned. A new wheel couldn't cost us more than $150. David was less optimistic. His bike, a Giant, had 27.5" wheels, a size peculiar to Giant. In far western New South Wales he thought it unlikely we could find a replacement without ordering it in advance.

By the time we pulled in to Mildura I had googled the location of the local Giant dealer. We drove straight there. No luck! That night we hit the internet looking for Giant dealers anywhere between us and Kangaroo Island. There was no hope of a replacement on the island. We started with Giant's three dealers in Adelaide. Adelaide was a hour out of our way but we thought it was our best chance. Still no luck.  We had worked our way south to Victor Harbor where we finally got lucky - really lucky. We had planned a night at Victor Harbor before catching the car ferry to Kangaroo Island. It should have been the first place to check but Victor Harbor is a small town and we were sure they wouldn't have a Giant dealer let alone the wheel we needed.

Spence and Shirley Sunter at Victor Harbor Cycles were fantastic. They had the wheel we needed. They were open the next day, a Saturday, until 3 pm. Google maps said it was almost a  five hour drive. All we had to do was get there on time. No stopping to photograph emus this time - we did see several large flocks though as we flashed past.

We found these guys a week or so later at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. Weird how the baby's knees are bent forward. 

The bad news was the new wheel would cost $300 by the time we added the gear assembly and inner tube. The good news was we had five hours to reach the conclusion that what David really needed was a new bike. Another phone call to Spence.

'Yes,' he had the 2015 version of David's bike - the cost was $699.

David loved his bike but even though it was only 18 months old it had been damaged not long after we bought it - it just wasn't worth fixing again. (Click here for the sad tale) We arrived at Victor Harbor with an hour to spare, headed straight to the bike shop and bought D a shiny new bicycle. Spence changed over David's much loved seat and handle bars from his old bike and fixed my flat tyres.  He also installed a liquid sealant, called Stan's Notubes to keep us puncture free, for a while at least.

D's shiny new bike.

If you are ever in Victor Harbor and want to buy or rent a bike call in on Spence and Shirley; they are lovely people. And if you are driving across the Hay Plain and see a lone bicycle wheel sitting by the road now you know how it got there!


Note: Neither Victor Harbor Cycles nor Stan's NoTubes  gave us anything in return for mentioning them in this post. I have given links to them both because Stan's NoTubes is a product which would have saved us a lot of grief had we known about it and Spence and Shirley were really helpful and didn't once laugh at us for managing to lose an entire bicycle wheel.

46 comments:

  1. Thank goodness for Google! And really David, that is a very round about way to get a new bike ;)
    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust

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    1. Hi Malinda, Haha - How did we all manage before google? Travelling was definitely a lot harder.

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  2. So what did you do with the old tyreless bike?

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    1. Hi Ferdy, We left it with the bike shop in Victor Harbor. We might have kept it for parts if we were at home but it wasn't worth the hassle of carrying two and a half bikes all the way back to Sydney with us. Our 'three-bike' rack works brilliantly with two bikes but putting three bikes on it is awkward.
      Ironically, the only tyre that didn't go flat was the front tyre (the one we didn't lose) on the D's bike - apart from that it was just a frame and the frame had been damaged twice. Once going to Denver and once returning. Although it had been fixed both times there was a real question about it's structural integrity.

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  3. There's nothing like finding a way to justify buying yourself a brand new toy.
    Can't wait to here how the new bike goes at Kangaroo Island.

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    1. Hi Sally. Haha. Kangaroo Island is fabulous but not great for cycling as it turns out. It doesn't matter though because we are now headed back to Sydney via The Great Ocean Road stopping to cycle all the Rail Trails on the way. Today we cycled the Bellarine Rail Trail from Geelong to Queenscliffe and return - 75kms. Now I can't move.

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  4. All's well that ends well :) The new bike was the best idea, with a wheel costing half as much. It looks like a good one too.

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    1. Hi Jan. No one was hurt, we are still talking to each other. we can both look back already and laugh and it gave me something vaguely interesting to write about on our blog - not too bad a result all things considered.

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  5. What terrible bad luck losing a wheel. I can imagine how stressful it was trying to locate a new one. Australian distances are so enormous. Glad it all worked out in the end.

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    1. Hi Phoebe. It is funny though when you think about it and D loves his new bike.

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  6. Well at least you have a good story now- not many people can say they bought a new bike because the old one's wheel disappeared :)

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    1. Hi Andrea, Ha ha - you're right about that.

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  7. Wow what a stressful few hours that must have been, and a great way to get a new bike ;) I have visions now of the emus playing with the wheel!! #wkendtravelinspiration

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    1. Hi Stephanie, I never thought of that. I hope the emus have lots of fun with it.

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  8. The Hay Plain, I know it well and it is a lonely and long stretch of road. I will look for the wheel when we next drive it.

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    1. Hi Paula, If you find the wheel take a photo and send it to me - lol.

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  9. Hi Lynn, that's quite a cycling adventure - without pedaling!:) I think it was a blessing in disguise. You probably saved yourself a lot of trouble along the way by deciding to go for a brand new bike instead of going for a repair. I hope David is enjoying his new shiny bike.

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    1. Hi Marisol, D is loving the new bike.

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  10. Poor you guys and poor bike but at least he got a new bike!

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    1. Hi Jessica, We got over it pretty quickly - took turns in feeling a bit sorry for ourselves and then realised it wasn't really a big deal.

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  11. That goodness for Spence and Shirly (such asn Aussie name) - sorry you had this, but what a story! Thanks for linking up with #SundayTraveler.

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    1. Hi SJ, Ha ha. You're right Shirley is an Aussie name. The thing is though they were both from Zimbabwe. I think they said they had come to Australia about six years ago - maybe Shirley changed her name when she arrived - lol.

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  12. Wow, I feel your pain. This is not the recommended way to go about getting a new bike, but it sounds like it was a much more appropriate decision given the circumstances. Great shots of the emus!

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    1. Hi Betsy. The emus were fantastic. We have crossed the Hay Plain many times and I don't remember seeing a single emu. This time they were everywhere. I think it might have been the time of year. We wouldn't normally head to Sth Australia in March but our trip was delayed by several months by a family illness.

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  13. Hi Lyn,
    Hope you can laugh about the lost tire now! What a crazy adventure, but one that illustrates what travel is all about -- the stuff, good and bad -- that happens on your way to somewhere!
    Wishing you safe and happy travels,
    Josie

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    1. Hi Josie, It didn't take us too long to see the funny side, Once D had his new bike and my flat tyres were fixed we were completely over it. It was not the worst thing that could have happened.

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  14. It is so lovely when people help you out. Even though you are paying for their service when it is given so nicely it makes all the difference.

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  15. Oh no! thank goodness for Google and unexpected bike supplies in a small-ish town! I hope the rest of your week is smooth sailing

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    1. Hi Amy. We have had a fantastic time. I've seen tons of kangaroos and koalas. I never get tired of them - they are just so much fun to see in the wild.

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  16. Seems like flat tires always come in bunches. Haven't had much luck with the goop for stopping them.

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    1. Hi GypsyNesters. We didn't use the green goop that you see in bike shops. I have a feeling the Stan's NoTubes might be a newish product - it's hard to tell how well it works. We haven't had any more flat tyres but maybe we just haven't run over any more devil thorns. I agree with you about flats coming in groups though.

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  17. Hilarious...after the fact, I'm sure. I think your Emu photos make it all worth while!

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    1. Hi Corinne. Thanks. The emus are cute.

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  18. Well, your story had a decent ending. Reminds me a tad about my recent experience of driving with a flat tire until we could find someplace to fix it. My story ended well but was dreadful to live through.

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    1. Hi Carole, Driving on a flat tyre sounds a lot worse.

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  19. I bet David wishes he had taken the time to tighten the wheel or maybe not. He did get a new bike after all. Stay safe!

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    1. Thanks. D was upset with himself for a while but he got over it pretty quickly.

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  20. Oh, wow! Looks like it worked out in the end with getting the new bike, but I'm sure neither of you were expecting to need it!

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    1. Hi Andrea, The irony is that one of the main reasons we decided to drive to South Australia was because I didn't want to risk the bikes being damaged again by an airline - ooopps!

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  21. I'm petrified of snakes, so I'm not sure I'd be up for biking on Kangaroo Island. The day before we visited there, an Australian friend in Adelaide told us some scary Kangaroo Island Tiger snake stories, but calmed me down by saying that it wasn't the season for Tiger snakes. Within two minutes of setting out on the road on Kangaroo Island, our van ran over a Tiger snake. Falling off a bike onto a Tiger snake would really ruin my day. (PS: I realize I'm catastrophisng here. Fortunately, I don't expect to ever be visiting Kangaroo Island again (because we live half a world away from it), so I don't have to waste any psychic energy convincing myself that I'd be more likely to be run over by a bus or maimed in a collision with a deer.;-)

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    1. Hi Suzanne, Haha - I was just about to give you my 'You hardly ever see a snake in Australia' speech - the one where I say that you are in much more danger of being hurt by a wild animal in the US than here (think bears and moose) when D almost cycled over a red-bellied black snake this morning. We were on an urban cycle path in Narooma about four hours south of Sydney. Red-bellied black snakes (I googled them) are poisonous but rarely fatal so I'm sure D would have been okay but better not to find out the hard way.

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  22. Haha, sounds like quite the adventure! My other half likes to bike and he's told me so many stories and misadventures. I'm sure he'd totally feel your guy's pain.

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    1. Hi Adelina, Cycling is the new golf or so they say. We go through a lot of grief carting our bikes around the world but it is worth it. Thanks.

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  23. Oh Lyn, your adventures always make me laugh! I know the additional cost of the tyre isn't a laughing matter but your way with words always makes me smile. David sure knows how to holiday! Haha. Thanks for linking up at Mum-bo Monday, I hope to see you again this week.

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    1. Hi Kelly, David says I never let the facts stand in the way of a good story - ha ha - but the bike story is absolutely true. It isn't always plain sailing on holidays but as long as no-one gets hurt or sick we get over most annoyances pretty quickly, and they make great material for my blog!

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