Well things did not go according to plan today! We headed out in good time and after about 17km came to a little village and stopped to take photos of kangaroos grazing. I held Maria's bike against mine as I always do and after a couple of minutes we moved on. The it all went a bit wrong, my front pannier must have been dislodged and dropped off the rack into the front wheel. I was travelling at about 20kph and the wheel locked up and sent me flying over the bars. I managed to unclip mid air and did my best roll when I landed. Surprisingly I had hardly a mark on me but the front wheel was a write off!
The next chain of events restores your faith in human nature! First off John Murray a local handyman stopped to help and he took us and our bikes back to Iluka. I was cutting it close to get to the ferry so he rang the skipper and made sure he didn't leave without me. On thee ferry crossing I spoke to another John who had done alot of bike touring himself, we chatted and he wished me luck as I headed off to the bike shop.
Now the bike shop is small but the guy there couldn't be more helpful. He didn't have a wheel but made loads of enquiries for me and eventually it got down to giving me some numbers of more bike shops to see if they could help, he even let me use his phone. He could get me a wheel in about 5 days but I needed one sooner and one of the shops had one in stock, trouble was it is 90km away.
My options were to buy a temporary wheel of him for $60 (he said if I was going the other way he would lend it me and I could leave it at his mates bike shop!) then ride to the shop which is sort of en route and pick up the new one. Ride to the shop on Maria's bike and bring it back 180km round trip or get the bus or hire a car. I did try a courier but as it is the weekend I still wouldn't get it for 5 days.
I rang the car hire, too much. Bus only went one way each day so would involve an over night stay. I was thinking it would be the long ride. I had time to burn until the return ferry so I had a couple of beers followed by fish and chips for lunch. As I sat waiting for the ferry I chatted to a local cyclist who had a new wheel he said I could have for $40. Another local this time a woman turned up and saw the wheel then gave a Vodka breezer! On the ferry I had another beer to help me decide the best options and just as I got off the other side John the guy I had chatted to on the way over came up and offered to take me to the shop in the morning! 180km round trip for a guy he had chatted to for 30 minutes, he had even popped in to the bike shop early to see if I was sorted.
I couldn't thank him enough and Maria had booked us into a cabin tonight and the manager had done us a good rate out of sympathy I guess.
Lots of help from total strangers, would you get this in the UK, I would like to think so but I am not so sure!
Another ssign for the collection, it turns out emus haven't been seen here for 4 years though.
I blame the kangaroos for the wheel!
Can you spot the $150 problem!