When I left Seattle on May 6th of this year I weighed 197 pounds. I weighed myself again in Ostende, Belgium, in the first part of August and I weighed 167 pounds. I wasn't trying to skinny down, in fact I was eating as much as I could, but the fact was that I just couldn't consume as many calories in a day as I was burning. I would eat until I was full then I'd eat some more but still the pounds fell off at a dramatic pace.
It would be all I could do to eat a cup of Raisin Bran for breakfast.
I think the problem was two-fold: One, I didn't have much of an appetite. I've noticed that when I exercise a lot I don't get as hungry as when I'm just lying around. It doesn't make much sense, you'd think it would be the other way around, you know; the Wisdom Of The Body and all. Two: there were days when I was so preoccupied with the challenges of long-distance cycling that I would simply forget to eat. I would be riding along and think, "I'd better pull over and eat lunch," then something would come up and I'd put it off for a while and before I knew it, it was time to camp. Many evenings after a long, hard day, I'd plop down in my tent and be too tired to cook.
But maybe there's something to the Wisdom Of The Body after all. Maybe I was overweight and out of shape and my lack of appetite and forgetfulness was simply my system's mechanism for getting me down to a more healthful weight. Whatever the reason, I'm kind of glad it happened, because I feel great.
The Blu Build is nearing completion. Brakes, derailleurs, racks and fenders are all installed, I'm just waiting for a few crucial parts to finish up and he'll be back on the road.
Crossing a river outside Prauge. I had to get the ferryman out of bed.
A few short rides to dial in all the new equipent and it should be ready
to take out for a two or three day shakedown cruise. I'm really
looking forward to getting back on the road. Living in a nice house with
a bed and a shower is great, but there's sometihg about being out there
in the world that is very aluring and maybe a little scary.
Deciphering the Czech bicycle route system.
I don't know, maybe I'm forgetting all the sweaty, rainy, cold, bad road bits, but it seems that we sure had a lot of good fun, even if we did get lost a time or two.
The new fork is blue, and that's really all that matters...
I got Blu back this morning from the bike shop with a shiny new Chris King headset and I'm putting him back together. I talked to Matt at Velocity wheels and they are going to replace the rim that failed in Germany on warranty even though I don't have the old rim to prove I even had one of their products in the first place. They're even upgrading me to a stronger rim for free. Now that's customer service. Gregg's Cycle could take a lesson from Velocity!
A few of the parts.
When I had a similar wheel malfunction on a new bike I bought at Gregg's Cycle in Green Lake, they told me to take a hike, no new wheel for you. I guess that shows you how much Gregg's cares for their customers.
I expect to get my new super duper chain rings next week, and barring any unforeseen screw ups, I should be ready for the three-day tour T-bone and I are planning for November.
Blu getting on the bus for the ride over the Brennerpass in the Austrian Alps.
When I took Blu in to have a new headset installed, it turned into a big deal. The fork wound up being shot so I had to buy another. Luckily the guys at Recycled Cycles made me a deal on a nice replacement so I guess it's not too bad. I had originally planned to go cheap with an Origin 8 headset, but I remember buying an Origin 8 chain ring and it was a piece of junk, which made me kind of worried about the quality of their headsets.
So I called up Recycled Cycles and told them to shoot the wad on a new Chris King headset--the best money can buy. I've learned that when you're out there alone in the world, you want the heaftiest, strongest, most bomb-proof equipment available. There's nothing scarier than getting stuck in a forgein country with a broken bike. Believe me, I've been there and it's no fun. It gives me the willies just thinking about it.
I have to build a new rear wheel before I head back to Rome to resume my trip around the world and I'm agonizing over what rim/hub combination to go for. I started out with Velocity Dyads, and the front wheel has held up fine with no truing in more than 7,000 miles, even though I put a big ding in the sidewall when I flatted at 30 miles per hour outside Cut Bank, Montana. I'm hoping to stick with Velocity as I've had mostly good luck with their gear and they seem to be the gold standard when it comes to tough touring wheels. I'm looking at the Mavic A19, too, but like the look and feel of the Velocity better. I'm hoping my rear wheel failure in Germany was a fluke.
A bike in Amsterdam in slightly worse shape than Blu.
I took my 520 frame into the bike shop yesterday to get the headset replaced. It's a simple job if you have the right tools, but a pain in the neck if you don't. The mechanics at Recycled Cycles are pretty good and do have the tools, so I was told it would only take about fifeen minutes. Of couese nothing is ever simple when it comes to my bike and it turned out that the expander bolt for my stem was jammed in the steering tube and it would require major surgery to try to get it out. "I'm gonna put some liquid wrench down in there and let it sit overnight," the mechanic told me. "I'll call you in the morning."
If he can't get the bolt out it means I have to buy a new fork. I'm waiting nervously by the phone...
Since I've been home in Seattle, I've spent most of my time working on my book about riding across North America, and working on Blu, my trusty Trek 520. After more than 5,000 miles of heavily laden riding, it needed to be stripped down the the bare frame and rebuilt from the ground up.
I learned a lot about bicycles, bike maintance and components from riding every day for the past five months. I've put a lot of strain on my gear and figured out which tires last longest, what kind of oil works best for lubricating the chain, which brake pads to use, what wheel sets to avoid like the plauge and how to make that drive train last.
I'm putting a lot of new parts on Blu including a new headset. As the build progresses over the next few weeks, I'll keep you all posted on how things go.