I am scurrying down the highways looking forward to staying at the comforts of another Air BnB. I have received confirmation in my email and my credit card has been charged. I ride past a number of budget hotel options just outside Tampa City.
The right bolt on my rear wheel has come loose, making the wheel shift disconcertingly when I accelerate. Soon after this picture it starts to pour. I decide to try to ride to the Air BNB and do the repair there. I tuck the phone into a plastic bag and continue.
I guestimate I am about half a mile from my destination when my phone quits. It is fully discharged. Nothing to do but sit in a park and wait 15 minutes in the rain. “Well”, I tell myself, “It looks like your last day is going to be another adventure, doggonit.”
When my phone is charged a bit I ride to the Air BnB. I am a sight, soaking wet, arriving on bike. The hostess tells me that they have cancelled my reservation. I am indignant. “What do you mean you have cancelled it? I just rode 115 miles to get here and it’s pouring rain….” She says I can sit on the front porch until I sort things out.
Mad, I hop on my bike and ride away- less dramatically then I would like though, ’cause of the rear wheel. I find a bit of shelter to repair my bike.
While I am repairing my bike, I get a new email. “Your AirBnB reservation has been cancelled.” Grrrr. She just now cancelled it! I look for a hotel option using my phone, but being in downtown Tampa all I get very high prices. But Ybor City is just 7 miles away, and has some more affordable hotels. So I put the phone back in the plastic bag and try to navigate out of Tampa City.
Tampa City has a trolley. Unlike rail tracks, trolley tracks are recessed in grooves. In the rain and with my tired frustration I get my rear wheel caught in a track groove and try to turn out of it. I know immediately something is terribly wrong. My rear wheel is now bent into what is called a “potato chip” shape.
I find a sheltered spot under an abandoned building to take a look. I can barely push it there even with the brake disconnected.
Whoa, that is bad. I get out my spoke wrench and soon realize it is hopeless. Spokes are broken, the rim is ruined. It is 6:30PM. I call two bike shops close, both are closed. Tomorrow is Labor Day. I would have to wait until Tuesday to get a new wheel, and I am just 80 miles from home.
I call two wise friends, Mike and Thom, and we agree the trip is over. I call Leslie, and she cheerfully agrees to come pick me up and she’ll leave right away. What a great girlfriend- to patiently wait all these months and still be kind to me.
I’m very very tired and very very glad to have done it and to arrive home.