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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Fulfillment and Frustration Friday

A sure sign of spring: A trillium grows on Mt. Tabor
After a wet-wet-wet March, the only way Mother Nature could play an April Fool's prank on Cascadia is by offering the most awesome weather we've had all year.  Which is what she did!  Friday April 1st turned out to be mostly sunny with a high temperature of 67F (19C).  It was the first day I could pull off riding around in a t-shirt!

I started the day by heading up to North Portland to visit Russ and Laura.  Besides talking about our upcoming tours, the main reason I visited was to buy this REI tent from them:
Getting a new tent is an essential for the upcoming "epic" tour.  The tent I currently own is a "person and a half" tent that I bought five years ago.  It's still in good shape and was perfectly adequate for my years of solo bachelor touring.  But with a girlfriend?  Well, it worked okay for a night or two, but our Olympic Peninsula Tour from last July pushed it to the limit.  It was a tight fit for two sleeping bags, leaving no room for other stuff.  This new (to us) REI tent allows us to bring our stuff inside.  Having two doors means we don't have to crawl over each other in order to get out.  And the larger interior room and mesh construction allows for better air circulation and easier drying.  Can't wait to try it out!

 After the elation of riding in nice weather and getting a new tent, it was the comedown in the form of a flat on the Raleigh.  Argh.  The THIRD one I've had on the rear.  This time I couldn't find any obvious source of leakage, so I decided to walk to the bike shop (just 5 minutes away) and have them deal with it.  Maybe they had a thorn resistant tube or a tire liner?

No luck at the bike shop.  The mechanic said there was a several hour wait and didn't have tire liner/thorn resistant tube, so I decided to fix it in front of the shop (borrowing their pump.)  I  hoped I could find the leak so I wouldn't have to take off the wheel. I inflated the tube with the wheel still on the bike, but couldn't hear any hissing or feel any air escaping.  Of course, I was on a busy street so I couldn't hear much of anything.  So much for that, the wheel had to come off.  I got the nut off on the non-indicator side, but couldn't make the indicator-side bolt move at all with my wrench.* I also noticed that the rear rack was developing a serious crack right where it mounts to the axle.  To top it off, a swarm of midges (which awoke with the nice weather) were hovering around me.  Frustrated, I put the nut back on and brought the bike to North Portland Bikeworks, about a 20 minute walk away.**

Kim was also busy, but managed to squeeze me in.  The culprit: a pinch flat from one of the spokes poking through the rim.  I figured it would happen at some point, which is the reason why I went through the trouble of attempting to procure a thorn resistant tube.  She didn't have any thorn-proof tubes either, but put another liner on the rim, so hopefully it will hold.

With all this out of the way, I was able to get on with my day, and head to my final destination of Vancouver (Washington!)  I got to see some photography at Ms. Leah Jackson's Angst Gallery and drink some adult beverages with Todd Boulanger, where I vented about my wheel/rack frustration.  Now Todd's an amazing guy with an impressive bicycle collection and an uncanny ability to "read" a situation before it happens.  Not only did he have the coveted Thorn-Resistant Tube in 26" x 1 3/8" size that I had searched for in vein, but he had a spare Dutch bike rack!  He figured I would need both, so he put both aside for me!  Woot!

Oh, he also has a bike for me.

Wait, ANOTHER BIKE? Shawn, aren't you getting rid of bikes before the Big Tour?

Well yes, I am.  But Todd wants to pass on to me a bike that he isn't willing to restore: A 50's Rudge Sports 3-Speed.  Now Raleighs are quite common stateside, but Rudges (another Raleigh brand) not so.

As you can see from the blurry photos, this bike will need quite a bit of work.  The wheels are shot, to put it nicely, though the Sturmey-Archer hub is possibly salvageable.  Everything else looks like it will need to get overhauled as well.  I doubt I will tackle it before the Big Tour, as time, money, and energy should be directed to other things.  But for when I get back to town, sure.

As the Raving Bike Fiend speculates, I may be more into Bike Projects than the bikes themselves!

After the whole Vancouver experience of going to Todd's storage unit to see the bike, eating cheap tacos at Muchas Gracias, and imbibing on alcohol at Niche, it was time for me to sprint southward across the Interstate Bridge back into Portland where I could catch the MAX at Expo Center.  And good timing too--while I was on the train the heavens decided to open up.  So much for a dry day around these parts!

*I need to get a new wrench.
**I love the fact we have so many bike shops in this town!


  1. Having just taken apart a SA hub, I'm pretty certain it will be salvageable. I'm planning to write a post about my experience soon. All of the parts inside the hub are available as replacement parts from SJS Cycles here in the UK, and they do deliver to the US too.

  2. Great score on the tent! I love the REI ones: more spacious than one would expect, and very light.

    And nice score on that Rudge too. I can't wait to see it restored. So pretty.

    I've had the Schwalbe Delta Cruisers on the Sports for a year now, with no flats at all. They're readily available online and look perty. What are you running on the Raleigh right now?

  3. Nice tent. Those mesh walls will be greatly appreciated as the weather heats up.


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