bike maintenance - catastrophe

Punctures are easy. You can fix them.

What about what’s not so easy to fix? The tour ending disaster.

It’s surprising how a little ingenuity can get you a long way.

Scene one. On a deserted dirt road on the NSW side of the Murray River. Edge of the rear rim pulled away, 5 spokes long. The issue: tube bulging out of the tyre. The fix: snap off the affected rim, bind it with multiple layers of gaffer tape and pump up the tyre. The result: bike on 120km to Echuca for a replacement wheel.

Scene two. 50km from Oodnadatta on the back road to Finke. The issue: one of the main structural tubes on the trailer snapped. The fix: whittle a hardwood dowel to align the two pieces of trailer tube. Bind them together tightly using a couple of short spanners and a few stainless steel hose clamps (used on hoses for radiators of cars). The result: ride 65km to the closest station homestead where the station holder welded it up.

Scene three. (You are getting the picture here.) Last day on the Tanami Track, the bike frame snapped through adjacent to the rear derailleur. The fix: unscrew the bolt holding on the rear rack, slip the hole on the end of a small adjustable spanner through and bolt the rack back on. Use those ever useful hose clamps again. The result: not tested there as the local station hands came along and welded it up. But a couple of months later when the weld snapped the method got the bike 240km down the road to a specialised welder and a permanent fix.

Scene four. (It’s a long play this one.) 2 spokes pull out of a the rear 36 spoke hub in the middle of the Gregory National Park, ie, in the middle of not much. Minor adjustment to the existing spoke tension and continued on merrily for 1000km until it’s finally possible to get another wheel in Darwin a month later.

Don’t let the fear of catastrophe somewhere remote stop you.

Just stock up on those hose clamps from the abandoned cars found just off the road on all remote roads.

You never know when they might come in handy.