The 19th of June 2015 – Departure from Rockhampton and failure.

I’m leaving Rockhampton this morning. I have one goal in mind, getting to Collinsville, 500km by the end of the month. I want to have only 1,000km left to go to Cooktown in July, which should give me some time for any new challenges, technical issues and so forth. I’m flying out on the 31sf of July to France for a month holiday from cycling. I’d love to finish the BNT by then, but I remind myself that rushing is probably not the best thing to do.
In Rocky, it’s rush hour and I slowly make my way back to Kabra after a 28 kilometre ride. Kabra is where I get back on the trail. Once there I meet Tim once again. He has just arrived and will spend some time in Rockhampton as I’m leaving. We chat a little bit and I head off. Thankfully I got hold of an (inaccurate) GPS file, that shows me the way to go. It is a welcome help as I only have the route notes North to South from a book edited in 1988. The maps are really bad in those books and the fact that I’m going South to North makes them quite useless.
I do have the updates though, and I can see there is a locked gate somewhere. I never have any luck with gates, so I decide to bypass this segment by staying on the highway a little longer.
Around midday my back tire is deflating. That is quite rare, and once I look closer I notice my tire is not in good condition. It’s drying and I can see cracks everywhere. I fix it up and I’m off again.
I’m not happy with the gear though. The chain is shifting gear on its own, and it’s not all that smooth. It might have happened because the chain was changed and it was tuned before I had loaded the bike with everything. The handlebar bags tend to change the tension on the cables due to their weight.
I’m cruising on very easy country roads and planning to stop after 80km. Suddenly, the shit hits the fan, or the derailleur hits the spoke, I should say. Whilst changing gear to climb a minor hill, the derailleur goes into the wheel, breaks a spoke, and disintegrates. It’s in such a bad state that there is nothing that can be done but to scrap it. I have to reconsider everything. All my plans are falling apart.
Not being able to ride, and being far away from the city, I decide to contact the manager of the bike shop. He immediately sends his mechanic to pick me up. That is a nice thing to do. He didn’t want to leave me out there with so few options. I would have had to walk and hitch a ride back.
The mechanic comes with the ute and we load up the bike. He is trying to understand what happened as he thinks he had done all the necessary checks when changing the chain. Back at the shop in Rockhampton, we assess the damage. Fortunately a replacement derailleur is found and put in place. After all the work I wonder how much it will cost. I get a lift back to Brad’s place who once again is hosting me. I’m back to where I started, no progress.
This gives me the opportunity to think and reflect on what has happened. When something goes wrong, there is always an upside around the corner. I want to know what it is soon.

I’m not actually feeling bad about that incident. I haven’t had any bad damage so far, it was bound to happen. It makes me realise that when I try to set objectives, something is there to slow me down. So I take it that if I don’t set targets and try to go fast, I might be better off. I’m now considering having another stop soon in the next city so that my girlfriend can come visit me. We have been talking about it and I think it’s a sign. I’ll make it happen because it just feels right.

Track Map


One thought on “The 19th of June 2015 – Departure from Rockhampton and failure.

  1. Hi Vincent, after a little break from reading your blog, i am back on the path. The chain issue. Good that you had a phone to be able to call up the bike shop. I am really no expert with regards to bike mechanics but I do have an idea what might have caused the chain problems. Could it be possible by this time that the whole chainset/drivetrainw was worn so that when you put on the new chain, it is no long able to synch with the old chainrings.

    Many times i have read about people who have a second chain on a tour and they change it after 2000km in order to get maximum mileage out of the cassets and stuff.

    After 2000km on the new chain they can carry on until it feels like it needs changing and or then change back to the other one if the cassettes and the rest are still ok.

    Until i read your experience just now, i always thought this business of carrying an extra chain and changing it sound unnecessarily tedious but now I see the light. Of course i did also read about the problem of putting a new chain on an old chain set too.

    Excuse my terminology. As i said mechanics are not my strong point.

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