I wasn’t actually broke down, but I was close. I knew I needed to get to a bike shop for a longer chain, which I thought would fix the problem. After just a few miles I stopped to adjust the derailleur and the derailleur hanger cracked. It did not snap in two, but it was barely hanging on. I called the closest “upscale” bike shop and told them the issue and he said they could fix it. It was 35 miles away. For fear of the derailleur falling off, I did not shift the whole way.
Not riding for nine months made those 35 miles a struggle. My legs were heavy and refusing to pedal. I was in and out of traffic, jumping from bike lane to road to bike path trying to angle my way over to the shop. I did get some GoPro video along the way.
I usually stop after 15-20 miles to sit and rest. McDonald’s is one of my favorite places because of the $1 drinks and free wifi. Getting to the McDonald’s I passed a CVS and thought I would grab some sunscreeen, but it was closed down. Outside was a fellow cyclist with no helmet and spandex, and using a black trash bag as a pannier. He asked me where people ride bikes with pink bars, a helmet, and sandals. I told him I was from somewhere in the East. I got to McDonald’s, locked my bike up outside and ordered my $1 wifi. As soon as I sit down to write I see someone outside near my bike. HE FOLLOWED ME! I was staring straight at him as he did something below the window and out of my sight. I go get a refill to keep a closer eye on him and see he is now locking his bike unnecessarily close to mine. He sees me and I wait and watch him dig through his pannier for an old McDonald’s bag and then enters the building. He heads straight back to the bathroom. I immediately go out and check to make sure nothing had been tampered with. Was I being paranoid? When I came back in I see the female manager perched outside the men’s restroom. I assumed to escort the man out. That’s when I asked if there was a safer place to leave my bike and hinted towards bringing it inside, but they would not allow it. So I left.
I rode most of the way on one bike path. It was next to a drainage ditch and not too scenic. The homeless were of course camped out there and occasionally I would see other real cyclists, but for the most part just me and the homeless.
At the end of the bike path was Route 66 Highway. I finally found it! My bike shop was only 1.5 miles down Route 66. After being sluggish all day, I found my second wind. I rode straight in and unloaded on their couch. After a rest I had lunch at a Thai restaurant and then grocery shopping.
The bike still not finished I sat back down on the couch and talked to a college kid that raced for the shop. I also took the time to find a place to stay. All of the motels were a couple miles South and the National forest many more miles North.
Leaving the shop I headed South, but first, I called Wyndham because there website was not working and asked to make a reservation. I was just checking their prices compared to the other sites I use. With Wyndham and IHG I get points, but IHG is too expensive. The cheapest hotel I could find was a Travelodge, regular $70, discounted with Hotels.com to $60 and discounted with Wyndham to $55. Plus, I get points. And, it had breakfast! I make the reservation and ride the 2.5 miles South.
When I get there I ask the front desk worker about my reservation, just like normal, and he says he does not have it. I check through my email looking for the confirmation number, but it is not there. The Wyndham app is still not working, so I call them. Tell them the circumstance so I get the reservation number, give it to the hotel worker, and nothing. He still can not find it. After an hour and a half of being on the phone with Wyndham then Travelodge, they still can’t get it sorted out. Both Wyndham and Travelodge can see my reservation, but the hotel guy will not honor it unless it is sent to him. Travelodge says he can book me in another hotel 10 miles down the road, but I’m not about to ride another 10 miles. The last option was to pay full price and get reimbursed later. The hotel guy then tells me he needs $40 cash deposit to stay there. I don’t have cash! We work it out, charging the extra $40 to my credit card, refundable.
I will most likely not be using Travelodge again. Also, the wifi didn’t work! Bike works though and my room has a sex mirror.