It was raining when we woke up this morning and headed to breakfast at the Little Dog Bakery in Brunswick, so we were in no rush to start biking. Evan and I got to sit with my Dad and chat for a while. It’s been great to spend some quality time with him after being away for so long.
It was still raining when we hit the road around 8:30. The first few miles were on a bike path that paralleled HW 1 and kept us away from the heavy Brunswick traffic. Once out of town, however, we had to hop on to some busier roads with more cars than we would have liked. Our wheels would kick up dirt and grime from the asphalt and splatter us and our bikes. This kind of biking “builds character,” as Evan put it.
About ten miles in, I heard a loud pop followed by a long hiss and felt my rear tire deflate. We pulled over under the cover of a gas station for me to fix my first flat in several weeks. I replaced the tube, pumped it back up, and loaded my bags back onto the bike. As we clipped in to ride away, Evan looked down and saw that his front tire was completely deflated (this, we later learned, is called a sympathy flat). We were out of spare tubes, so we pumped it up and coasted down the road to the Bath Cycle and Ski shop to get a replacement. We made it through another 35 miles of riding in the rain without incident until I got yet another flat. Upon close inspection, I could see that my rear tire was very worn down and had cracks in several places. We broke out our trusty foldable tire and will try to make it the rest of the trip with that.
The riding conditions today were less than ideal, and we definitely did a good bit of character building, but it didn’t seem to bother us too much. We are in the final state of the trip and can smell the finish. I mean this in the figurative sense (we have only a few more days left) and in the literal sense (we could smell the salty ocean air today).
Eventually the rain stopped and we were left covered in a thick layer of grime. As we pedaled, our chains made a rough, rattling noise that would make any self-respecting biker cringe. We got to Camden, filthy and sore and mentally exhausted. In town, we met up for lunch with Charles Humble, a friend of the Steiner family and all around woderful guy who treated us to lunch. We truly enjoyed meeting and spending time with Charles and it was a great way to recover from a rough morning.
In the afternoon, we found a hose, a bucket, some dish soap, and brush, and gave our bikes a really good scrub. I can’t wait to hop on mine tomorrow and pedal with a clean drive train. We walked around town with my Dad before having dinner by the Camden Harbor. Afterwards, we got on a 101-year-old schooner for a sunset sailboat ride around the Penobscot Bay. It was a beautiful and relaxing end to our tough day. Sunset sailing doesn’t necessarily build a lot of character but, I got to say, it’s a lot more fun than changing a flat tire in the rain.