Date: May 31st, 2019
Miles Traveled: 65
Weather: Partly sunny, warm-ish weather. Numerous headwinds from the West.
Physical Status: Slightly achey but good overall.
Emotional Status: Somewhat demoralized but hanging in there.
TL;DR: Biked through some towns and super rural areas along the Erie Canalway. Rear tire received a 1in gash from something, biked 40 miles with two $1 bills stuck in between the bike tube and the tear, and proceeded to fix 4 flats along the way. It was rough…
Today was a rollercoaster. At 8:00am this morning, I decided to split up with David, my initial touring partner, due to differences in pace and overall touring style. I think we just had two different ideas of what this tour should be like and I’m personally much happier with the flexibility solo touring provides. David has previous solo tours under his belt, so I think it was for the best.
Hit it, D.J.: https://youtu.be/8ESdn0MuJWQ
At around 10:00am, I rode out of Utica and got back on the Erie Canalway. As with yesterday, there was a variety of wildlife in the trail, including turtles and numerous American Goldfinches zipping through the trees:
After about 20 miles of traveling along the gravel/paved path, I heard one of the worst sounds you can ever hear on a bike.
Sigh… A flat tire. It was in the rear too.
“Ahhh dammit.” I thought to myself. “Well at least I made it 4 days without any bike issues.”
After taking off my tent and panniers, flipping the bike over, and retrieving a new tube from my saddle bag, however, I realized that this wasn’t just an ordinary flat. This was far, far worse.
Turns out, I had a 1in gash right in the center of my tire.
Oh, and the nearest bike shop? 40 miles away.
So what does a cyclist do when their tire is damaged and there is no bike shop in sight? Fold up one of these bad boys and put it in between the tube and the damaged portion, of course:
So there I was… furiously pedalling along the Erie Canalway to a bike shop in Syracuse that closes at 7:00pm with two $1 bills in my rear tire to keep the tube within from blowing up.
I didn’t make it in time.
Unfortunately, George Washington’s don’t last forever, especially on gravel paths. In total, I went through $4 worth of single bills and 4 bike tubes. Yup, 4 flat tires in a span of 40 miles:
Bicycle touring is rough sometimes.
After eventually making it Syracuse, I biked a couple more miles in the twilight (still with dollar bills in my tire) to Dick’s Sporting Goods to see if the bicycling section there maybe… just maybe had my size tire — 700 x 35c.
Emotionally defeated and physically exhausted, I did what any other bicycle tourist would do. Cut my losses and go to Panera Bread:
After a much needed dinner, I biked through the night and crashed at a friend of a friend’s home in Savoy, New York, where I’m currently staying for the night.
Despite the rough day and tear in my tire, the scenery along the Erie Canalway kept me going. Here’s some things I saw along the way:
Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York:
Rome’s City Hall:
One of the coolest parts of the Erie Canalway that I’ve seen thus far. A lush swamp on the left contrasted with a dense pine forest on the right, separated by the pathway.
Tomorrow, I’ll be biking 11 miles Northwest to “The Bikery” bike shop to get some much-needed new tires. From there, I’ll be riding 45 miles to Lyons, New York, where I’ll be staying with a couple who lives on farm. Having lived in suburbia of life, I’m super excited to get a taste of the farm life. 🙂
Until next time!