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.