Mileage from start: 4,194
We aimed for another early start and did pretty well. It was a chilly night and a chilly morning, which doesn’t make it easy to motivate oneself from opening the sleeping bag and starting the day, but we warmed up once the sun came out from behind the fog.
We stopped for breakfast at a small gas station/diner and had delicious egg, cheese, tomato and hashbrown sandwiches. That fueled us up and over the shoulder of Blue Mountain to Long Lake, New York. After that, we knew we were heading towards an afternoon of little resources.
Which is exactly where we were when I noticed my back wheel was flat…again.
Annoyed, we pulled over and pulled off the wheel, deflated the rest of the air from the tube, pried off the tire, pulled out the tube, and tried to find the hole. We located the new hole, patched it, put the tube and tire back together, inflated it, put it back on the bike and mounted up.
As soon as I was back in the bike and clipped into the pedals, the same wheel was flat again.
Now frustrated, we repeated the whole process using the spare, but not new, tube we carry as a backup.
As soon as I went to start biking again, the wheel was flat.
Our only option was to keep trying to patch our failing tubes.
Cars kept driving past, none stopping to even check if we were okay.
“You know what we need?” I said. “We need a bike shop owner to drive past. They’d help us.”
Moments later, a nice man named Dave Halter stopped to see if we had everything we needed.
Actually, we asked, you don’t happen to have a spare tube, do you?
Indeed he did. Dave owns a bike shop called Halter’s Cycles in Skillman, New Jersey and keeps a whole box of tubes and tires at his vacation house just down the road.
We were saved!
Dave went to get the tube and we waited, relieved.
Not only did he give us three tubes and a spare tire, and put the new tube on for us — I think he could see we were over it — he wouldn’t even let us repay him for it.
“Can I pay you?” I said.
“Nope,” Dave said. And that was it.
We rolled east with fully inflated tires and Dave went on with his day.
We made it another 60 miles to the edge of Lake Champlain, but missed the ferry across to Vermont. Oh, well. We were still within a day’s bike of our friends in the Upper Valley and there was air in our tires. What more could we really ask for?
We fell asleep with bellies full of Chinese food and dreams of Vermont.