The last two days have been pretty annoying. The day before yesterday, I broke a spoke, which I was able to fix because it was on the non-gear side.
Yesterday I broke another one! On the gear side! I had no option but to put on a FiberFix and keep going. But I didn't secure it properly and a few miles in, the wheel had gotten seriously bent to the point it was touching the frame! I stopped and redid my FiberFix. I knew there was no way I could ride like this for 150 miles more to Damascus (the closest bike shop en-route).
I checked for other cities with bike shops around and found London, 26 miles to the south, but the shop was closed on Monday and opened only at 12 today. At least that's what Google said. Anyway, there was no other bike shops around so I went there and checked into a Motel for the night.
I woke up, waited till 11:30 AM, and then went to the shop, only to find that it was permanently closed! There was absolutely no other bike shop for several miles! I tried desperately calling a few motorcycle shops in the city, but none of them could fix bicycle spokes. In a last ditch attempt, I messaged a Warmshowers host about 10 miles away to see if she had any ideas about what I could do.
I did not expect what happened next. Rebecca (the WS host) went far out of her way for me. She called friends in London, but no one knew a mechanic with the tools. So she drove up, scooped me and my bike up and took me to the only bike shop in Corbin, 17 miles south. The mechanic wouldn't come in until the evening, so I had to wait around until then. The people at the bike shop were amazing though. Tom, the owner even invited me to dinner, and we all had a great time. Jeff, a friend of his, even payed for my dinner! Amazing hospitality to a biker, who is lost in the middle of nowhere. When we got back, the mechanic Ken had already started working on the bike. He fixed the spoke, trued the wheel, adjusted the derailleurs and made some other small adjustments. All in all, the bike felt solid again. Tom charged me 70 bucks for all that. A little steep for just fixing a spoke, but considering the pickup, dinner and tune-up, I guess it was alright. I am staying with Rebecca tonight. Hopefully, I can get out early tomorrow and get some solid miles in.