D-Tour 2007: Glendale, AZ to Del Rio, TX

Day 8: Mechanical problems – broken spoke, flat tire, and more…

The day started out great – I was feeling good and I left just before sunrise. I rode about 13 miles before the sun actually rose, and I was able to get some of it on my camera phone. I was making good time and my legs felt great. Then, about 20 miles into the day, I lost a spoke on my back tire. I may not have noticed it right away, except it was the spoke that had my computer magnet on it. So all of the sudden, the computer on the bike said zero miles an hour; since I was still moving at about 12 mph, I knew something was up. That has happened before – usually I just had to adjust the magnet a little to align it back up. When I went to adjust it, the whole spoke moved. So, I removed the broken spoke and took the magnet off by hand. I put it on another spoke and hand tightened it because I didn’t have a screwdriver.

A minor set back, but I was back up and running in no time, but when you lose a spoke, your tire gets loop-sided and begins to rub against the breaks. So I unhitched the rear break – a trick I only just learned a week before the D-Tour started. Now I’m riding with front brakes only. I know you might be thinking about when you were a kid and riding your bike as fast as you could and grabbed the front brake only to fly over the handle bars, right? Well, maybe that was just me. Anyway, at three-hundred pounds, I would have to be moving a lot faster than I can petal to throw me over the bars. Still, I have to be cautious.

Then about 10 miles down the road, after I had just merged onto I-10, I heard a metal clanging at that same back tire. My first thought was ‘great another broken spoke” but then I realized it was something worse – a metal hanger had punctured my tire and was rapping through my bike as the wheel turned. I came to a stop and heard the hissing of the air leaving the tube. I pulled the hanger out and the tire quickly went flat. No problem, I had a spare tube and the correct tool to remove the tire. It took about 20 mins, but I was able to get the new tube on the tire and inflate the tire with my new CO2 canister. I was proud of myself as I have never changed a tire by myself before – the last time I had a flat, a guy stopped to help – and I needed his help, because I had no idea what I was doing. Anyway, I was back on the road and feeling great.

Stephanie called me at 10:30 am local time. She hit the road and headed to met me. I had already made it through the climbs and was feeling great. She caught up with me at 11:30 and I had gone 60 miles. I had less than 20 miles left and we had already booked a cabin at the KOA in Van Horn so I was looking forward to the pool. I took a break and got in the car. While I was sitting there, a truck came by so fast that the wind he caused blew my bike over. I didn’t think much of it until I started to head back out after the break – my computer wasn’t calculating my speed or distance. Cadence worked ok, so I knew the computer was working, but without speed or distance, I can’t know how far I’ve gotten and I can’t report back to you guys my days results. After inspection, I noticed that when the bike fell over, the computer was jarred and the cable was pulled loose, exposing the wires. I wasn’t able to fix it. This was a big deal.

The nearest bike shop in front of us was over a 100 miles away. The nearest bike shop behind us was over 100 miles away. We called the bike shop in front of us, but they didn’t answer. We called the bike shop behind us – they answered and they had the computer in stock. We put the bike on the car and headed back to El Paso. The trip took several hours but I was able to get the computer fixed, the spoke replaced, the wheel trued up, a replacement tube, and an all in one tool kit.

Now don’t think I was ready to quit for the day. I still had almost 20 miles of road to finish. That’s right – I drove right back to the spot where the computer broke and hit the pedals. We ‘thought’ I was going to roll into the KOA at 8pm which isn’t as great as the 1pm that I would have rolled in, but the pool closes at 10pm so I thought 2 hours is plenty. Wait for it… Wait for it… that’s right – Time Zone change – its not 8pm, its 9pm!!!

Well, the pool felt great and so did finishing the day without putting the bike on the car (not counting the repair trip). In all, I got 77 1/2 miles today – that’s every mile from last nights motel to tonights KOA cabin! WooHooo! It felt great to complete a day with climbing. Tomorrow is the real test – about 90 miles with a lot of climbing. Its made even harder with the time zone change – I lost an hour of sleep time.

Until tomorrow – I’ll see you down the road!

5 replies on “Day 8: Mechanical problems – broken spoke, flat tire, and more…”

Hey Dale…great talking to you throughout the journey. I’ve been reading your blogs and it’s pretty amazing what you are doing to get here! Sorry yesterday had so many mechanical failures but, you were able to still bike a lot. I’m flying on Monday and Tuesday for sure so I might have to call you late Tues. evening to catch up. Look forward to all the pictures!


Hey Son,

Amazing! Simply amazing! We are proud of this huge accomplishment.

How are you going to top this? I bet your mind is already wrapping itself around the next great plan!

What a wonderful wife you have. She has sacrificed

oops, I hit the wrontg key! What I was trying to say is that Stephanie has blessed you so much by supporting you through this trip…sacrificiing quite a bit to make this trip with you …your very own “staff”, following along after you, picking you up, taking you to the next drop off spot, and all the while entertaining a 3 year old in a car every day! Wow, what a special woman God chose for you!
We love you and can’t wait to see you this week. Give Stephanie and Zander big hugs and kisses.

Comments are closed.