We had to be out of the house by noon as that’s when Jennifer + Kyle had a possible buyer coming to look round their house. A plan was formulated and we would be using our America the Beautiful passes to go to Indiana Dunes National Seashore, lie on the beach and then head over to Chesterton. As with all the best laid plans, it went a bit astray.
We invited Jennifer and Kyle to join us on our ride. Jennifer was eager, whereas Kyle was saving himself. He promised that the next time I came by he would join us and, as it’s now in the blogosphere, it’s clearly a legally binding contract. We said our goodbyes and headed off north to hit Cleveland Road and follow the bike path that Google Maps had found for us.
As soon as we got on to Cleveland Road, Jennifer made a comment about the bike path being incredibly dirty and not 100m down it there was a huge POP from behind me. My bike hadn’t gone wobbly so there was only one possibility, C had a flat. She laid her bike down and looked at her back wheel and found an inch long slice across the tyre. There was no way that was getting repaired on the road so Jennifer called Kyle. The plan was to drive C and her bike the mile or so back to the house and work things out there.
While waiting for Kyle I walked back along the 100m of bike path looking for what had destroyed C’s tyre. It took a couple of sweeps and then I saw it, an old 3-4 inch long disposable razor blade. I’ve no idea what it was used for before it became a danger in the bike path, but it was about twice as long as a regular blade. I told C and she came over to find out what had ruined our plan.
Kyle turned up and, within 5 minutes, C’s bike and things were all loaded up. We decided that this must have been why Kyle didn’t come for the ride. He knew that he’d be needed for rescue services. Kyle drove C back to the house while Jennifer and I rode, being extra aware of the debris on the floor.
Getting back to Jennifer + Kyle’s we tried to find a place to go to get a new tyre. It wasn’t easy as Indiana still treats Sunday very differently and we could only find one bike shop that would be open and that wasn’t until 12. C used the time to call friends back home and I worked on the blog as I had nearly caught up.
When 11:30 came round we all got in Kyle’s car and drove over to Outpost Sports to see what they had. It turned out they didn’t have so many 26″ wheels. There were 3 options that we were shown and while a couple of them would have worked, they would only have been temporary measures. C wasn’t willing to pay $30 to get a tyre to then replace it in Chicago or Madison if it wasn’t good. She wanted another Schwalbe which meant we weren’t going to be cycling out of South Bend that day.
As there was no tyre we needed to come up with another option. Jennifer and Kyle had no problem with hosting us for another night, but I wasn’t optimistic about finding C’s specific tyre in South Bend. Chesterton, our intended destination, was smaller than South Bend and even less likely to have what we were after. Either C was going to have to buy a temporary tyre or we were going to be ‘cheating’ to get to Chicago.
Some cycle tourists like to think of themselves as purists. They believe that the only way to travel is by bicycle and that anything outside of that is cheating. I don’t. While I’m on a bike trip and will maximise the amount of time I’m travelling round under my own steam, I have no problem getting assistance when the situation calls for it.