Day 63: Pumped up

Everything dried over night and the tyre seemed to be fine, so I set off after a good motel breakfast. The last few motels I have stayed in have all offered good breakfasts, I don’t know if this is an east coast thing or I just didn’t realise that all the previous motels offered breakfast, if so, then I have missed out on a lot of good breakfasts. I decided last night that I would aim for Oneida, a manageable 60 miles away. Oneida is a decent sized town, with a good motel and most importantly, its the same road the whole way from here to there, making getting lost, even for me, very difficult.

Yesterdays rain had disappeared and apart from the constant niggle in my ankle, I was feeling good. However, worryingly the back tyre seemed a little less pressured than it was at the start of the day. Its difficult to get the tyre fully pumped up with a hand up, so it was difficult to be sure if the tyre actually was now flatter than at the start of the day or not. I tried putting a bit more air in the tyre and kept going. I was approaching the relatively large town of Baldwinsville, from what I could see on the map, this would be the last large town for a while, so I decided that if there was a suitable place to eat, then I would stop and take an early lunch and avoid the mistakes of yesterday. Baldwinsville seemed like a really nice place and going through the main part of town, I came across the B’ville diner. It looked like a good place and boasted that it is “always open”, which I assumed meant that its open every day, even holidays, I later found out that it is actually open 24 hours every day! After ordering lunch I started chatting to the couple behind me. It turned out that Jim and Linda actually owned the diner and offered to pay for my lunch. The kindness of Americans continues to amaze me. Lunch was really good and enjoyable as I chatted to a few more of the locals. If you are in this part of the country then I recommend Baldwinsville, and if you are in Baldwinsville then I highly recommend the B’ville diner.

It was noticeable cool after lunch. At this point I’ll inform that I am officially switching from complaining about the heat and I will now be complaining about the cold. Pleased with my decision to stop early for lunch, the next part of the afternoon was nice, mostly spent trying to pedal hard enough to keep warm. One worry was that my back tyre definitely was going down slowly, very slowly, but still it meant that there must be another puncture. About 10 miles from Oneida I had a decision to make, either continue to Oneida to get a motel or swing a left about 6 miles to a state park to camp. I had phoned the park earlier, they did say that they were closed for the season, but I questioned to myself how a state park can be closed. However, as I debated what to do, the decision was made for me. I noticed that my back tyre was now completely flat, debate over, I pumped it up and headed for the motel. Its easy to tell if the back tyre is flat, you feel every single little bump or stone that you go over right through your body. About 6 miles out, I was really struggling. I was having to stop every minute or so to pump up a completely flat tyre back to full and then repeat a minute later. The options were, to continue on like this knowing that the 6 miles would likely take over an hour or fix the tyre. It was more than likely that todays puncture had the same cause as yesterdays, and considering I couldn’t find yesterdays cause when I was in a motel room, it was very unlikely that I would be able to find it on the side of a road in the evening light. I decided to keep going as I was and set about pumping up the tyre again. As I started to pump, the first car that passed came to a stop beside me. He shouted something to me, I didn’t quite hear him, but I assumed he was asking if I needed help, there was very little he could do to help so I was ready to decline, but then he repeated “do you need a lift”. Just like the last time someone offered me a lift, I somehow developed superhuman strength and my 100lbs bike was in the back of the truck before he could retract his kind offer. The ride into town took less than ten minutes, but saved me a lot of time and frustration.

Checked into the motel, I set about finding the cause of the puncture. I found that there was actually two punctures, one with the same cause as yesterday and one new one for today. After quite a bit of searching, I eventually found the cause of both punctures, very very small bits of metal, the exact same as my last puncture back in Washington. Apparently, in the summer , when its incredibly hot, the tyres on the big semi trucks melt. To strengthen them, the tyres have tiny wire meshing in the rubber which gets thrown all over the road in tiny shards when they melt. I put in fresh tube (another that I’ve carried since Lewistown, and also my last spare) and pumped up the tyre hoping for the best. There was just enough time for my biggest McDonalds yet, a bit of TV and to make a plan for tomorrow. I know I said previously that if a day didn’t have any pictures then I was a bad day and I realise that both today and yesterday didn’t have any pictures, but that is simply because I didn’t take any and not because they were bad days.



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4 responses to “Day 63: Pumped up

  1. Kathleen

    Glad you continue to enjoy generosity of the locals!

  2. The Granny

    Nice to read how you can bounce back ready for the next hurdle! Xx

  3. Gosh the people out there are great. Think that should be your next challenge………cycle across America without actually paying for anything! Glad you are up and running again.

  4. Sam, we’ve been following your trip. Great Blog! Hope you dodged the hurricane. Wait till the ocean settles down a bit before dipping your toe! Best of luck—we are pulling for you.
    Jerry & Vicki

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