Distance and elevation gain (per my mapping software): 58.49 miles, 1,946 feet
Min temp: 64, Max temp: 89, Winds 8-26, gusting to 32, Precipitation: none
We started the morning with a visit to the mechanic tent to get those obviously loose spokes tightened up. Spokes should not wiggle easily back and forth – especially less than a week after having been retensioned!
We rolled into Gardiner around 3 pm. While everyone else was lining up their bikes to be loaded up for shipment to our next campsite after our rest day and bus tour of Yellowstone the following day, we and headed for the mechanic tent to have our loose spoke checked on.
As a mechanic approached and I bent down to show her the problem, I noticed – OH NO!! – a crack in our rear wheel rim at the loose spoke!
And we’ve got that fancy-schmancy Rohloff hub. No at-hand replacements for us!
We talked through our options with the head mechanic. The next day was a rest day, so we had a day to get things done without cutting into the ride. If our future rides were like today’s ride – 56 miles and no serious hills – we could probably ride the cracked rim a bit longer. But the scheduled ride in two days was through from Pilot Creek to Cody via Chief Joseph Pass (6 miles of 5 percent grade followed by a helluva descent that could really get a tandem rolling fast). That would not be safe to ride on a cracked rim. We’d have to get things fixed.
We got our bike in March, so it was less than 6 months old and had less than 700 miles on it by this point, so the bike would still be under warranty.
We tried calling the bike shop in Denver where we purchased the bike. It was Tuesday. They were closed.
Next, we spent several frustrating minutes trying to look up the bike manufacturer’s phone number via a barely-there cellphone Internet connection. We found the number and got through to a live person right away. I explained our dilemma and directed my attention back and forth between the bike mechanic’s suggestions as he thought things through and the bike company guy.
Could we have a rim overnighted to a bike shop in the Silver Gate / Cooke City area, our next stop?
Probably not a good idea. It’s rural Montana, the delivery might not make it even if overnighted, and the mechanics had not been able to contact a bike shop in that area.
How about 2-day shipping to the bike shop in Cody? It would mean we would miss a day’s riding – purportedly the most beautiful day to ride. But 2-day shipping was a more reasonable cost, and we would be responsible for covering the difference in cost between regular and expedited shipping for the warrantied rim replacement. There had been solid contact with the shop in Cody. We could pick up the rim and have the mechanics rebuild the rear wheel in the evening at camp.
Was there still time to make the UPS pickup at the bike manufacturer in Oregon? Yes. We still had 30 minutes.
I gave the bike manufacturer guy my credit card number to cover the cost of the shipping, and that was all we could do for the time being.
We added our bike to the line to be packed up and transported to the next camp and went about our business.
While we were waiting for the laundry to be done, we decided to go find a beer. We walked into the Two Bit Saloon only to walk out again a few minutes later after the bartender got into a loud argument with a patron. Oookaaaayyyyy…Walked to the Blue Goose Saloon, but there was heavy metal music blasting inside. Not our scene.
We settled for ice cream cones instead. While we were sitting outside the shop eating the ice cream and looking out over the Yellowstone National Park fence, we spotted our first megafauna.
I guess I hadn’t realized that the community we were in was literally at the gate of Yellowstone.
A few minutes later, Bugman pointed out the ride’s professional photographer focusing his lens towards the gate. Full moon perfectly framed!
Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw