PALM day four

Alas, despite a lovely evening of dinner, ice cream, and swimming, the stress and strain of our family camping adventure finally reached the tipping point, and we decided it was time to take the girls home. It was defiinitely the right decision, especially with the heat we’ve been having, but I miss them terribly all the same.

The ride was, of course, another terrific one. I clocked just shy of 68 miles, which puts me somewhere around 235 on the week so far. I enjoyed a couple of cold ones in Frankenmuth, which hit the spot at the time but made it a little tough to get back on the bike for the final 15 miles.

SAG support has been thin on the optional routes, which is really my only gripe about this otherwise stellar tour. Yesterday, however, it afforded me the chance to meet up with some great fellow cyclists (also looking for water when our paths crossed), and to help a couple of nice ladies fix a flat. The (admittedly much more relaxed, sans family responsibilities) evening featured dinner and a movie in town (the latter solely for the air conditioning).

While sitting in town eating my meal and looking out the window, I noticed once again the pile up of bicycles at nearly every place of business. It’s such a beautiful scene, one that I need to make a point to photograph. It’s almost easy to imagine a society in which this would be the norm instead of parking lots.

PS: I’ve had a couple of very minor mechanical issues with my bike for some time, but I’ve been avoiding taking it to the shop on account of the anticipated cost and wait. Rumors on the tour were that the mechanics riding along with us from a nearby shop (they’ve been providing PALM support in this manner for many, many years) were doing quick repairs for wicked cheap. Sure enough, I paid them a visit, and got my shifting adjusted, rear derailleur and chain lubed, and front derailleur and wheels inspected, all for a grand total of five bucks. And I had the pleasant bonus of talking shop with the senior mechanic/bike shop owner/high school teacher/track coach. Nice.

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4 responses to “PALM day four

  1. $5 for a tune-up?! sweet deal indeed. Ever since I had gotten my mountain bike a couple weeks ago I’ve started to notice a couple things here and there that I think a tune up would fix (front derailleur not consistently shifting from 2nd to 3rd, squeaks that I suspect stem from a desperately needed lube job, etc). So I started comparing service costs of local bike shops and you’re looking anywhere from $40-$60 depending on what you’re having done. Well done.

  2. Chances are, you could fix these problems yourself quite easily. I would strongly recommend the book, Zen and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance (or its companion, Zen and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance). It is an excellent resource for do-it-yourself maintenance and repair. Another outstanding resource is Bicycle Tutor (http://bicycletutor.com/). Check ’em out and give it a shot.

  3. Thanks for the recommendations. In searching the internet for maintenance tips I had stumbled across Bicycle Tutor which was great with all the tutorial videos. I guess I’m a little leary of working on the bike myself, having just got it, out of fear of causing more damage than good by being a novice. I was thinking of having a professional have the first go at it then do my own maintenance after that.

    • That’s smart thinking, and quite understandable. Another thing you might do is to see if your local bike shop offers any maintenance classes. Many do, and they can be worth their weight in gold. If they don’t offer any classes, try talking directly with one of the mechanics or someone at the counter. Tell them you’re interested in learning how to do your own maintenance and/or to address a particular problem, and get them to tell you what you need and to talk you through the process. Granted, a derailleur adjustment might not be so simple, but cleaning and lubricating your drive train certainly is. Good luck! Let us know how it goes.