Friday, June 27, 2014

Day 36--It's a Good Thing I'm Bike Mechanical

If I could see into the future, I would have left Skottevik earlier than 8:30. But, alas, I cannot. 

I found my friends, the brown signs, just as I was coming into Kristiansand.

There are actually two bridges side-by-side, with a nice bike path on this one. 

After crossing the bridge, I followed the signs to the "Sentrum". However, due to some construction, or just a lack of signs, I lost my friends. It wasn't really a big deal. I knew I had to come out the other side somehow. Kristiansand is a good size city. I rode along the water as much as possible. I saw this old fortress, and managed to work my way around to it.
From across the water.

At the Fortress.

After I left, I saw a sign for toilets. When I got to them, I noticed it was 10Kr. Since I didn't know when I'd get another potty opportunity, I decided to spend the Kroner. I put it in the slot, it came back. I tried another one, same thing. Then, quick study that I'm not, I tried the door. Ah, no charge to use the toilet. So that's what the green light means (learn something everyday!).

I decided I'd had enough of Kristiansand (I'm really not so fond of the big cities), so I began to try to find my friends, the brown signs. I could see a bridge that I would have to go over, and I could see the road I likely needed, but there was a big roundabout, and a lot of traffic. I decided to go up one block so I could come into the roundabout and just go straight. Lo and behold, there was one of my friends! Woo Hoo! It said Mandal--38.5 km. Super! That's the direction I needed to go! It seemed like there was a sign every 500m--38, 37.5, 37... 

As I was heading up to go over a bike bridge over the Motorway, I shifted to the small ring in front, and dropped the chain. Fortunately, this time it didn't get stuck between the folding bolt and the chainring (like on the way to Thimmendorf). I got the chain back on easily.

I continued following the signs. I was pretty much paralleling E39. Kind of noisy, but it was getting me out of town. It was also all uphill. At the top, there was a gas station. I was running low on water, so I stopped. Then I decided some ice cream would be nice. Then I realized it was noon. So, I ate my ice cream, then fixed my lunch (as we all know, life is short, eat dessert first). There was a nice picnic table in the shade (which was nice at first, but then a bit chilly as the wind was blowing quite strongly).

Feeling fortified, I continued. I was following the signs exactly, but I came into a sort of town (maybe just neighborhood) and suddenly, the next sign said 51km to Mandal. 51??? What happened to the 30s??? I couldn't see where I had possibly gone the wrong way. Plus, it was still the Route 1 signs. Mysterious! I had no other choice but to continue on, somewhat disappointed that I had much further to go to Mandal. 

As I came to a hill, I went to shift Betsy. SNAP! The rear derailleur cable broke right at the shifter. CRAP!!! Hmmm...what to do...??? Of course, Betsy was rideable, just in a not so easy gear. The easiest gear was the small ring on the front with the small ring on the back. Wouldn't be a problem...if I wasn't carrying about 60lbs of gear...and going up lots of hills. 

With no other choice but to continue, I started riding again. Almost immediately, I had to walk up a hill. Well now, this is going to be a MUCH longer day than I had anticipated! Amazingly, I made it up some other good size hills without walking (of course I was standing up to pedal). I asked Garmin where there was a bike shop. It was not so helpful (all the sporting goods stores were back in Kristiansand--I was not going to go back). So, I kept going. Finally, I had a thought to ask the next person I saw on a bike where the nearest bike shop was. Turns out there was one in Tagevade (something like that--it's not on any of my maps). I rode there and found the sporting goods shop with bike stuff. I said I needed a new rear derailleur cable. They had Jagwire. I bought the cable, then went around the corner to replace the broken one. I could get the new cable to feed through the old housing, but it wouldn't come out the end. After trying several times, I returned to the shop. I told the guy the problem, and he said I would need to take the housing off to get the new cable through. I was skeptical that that would work as I had had no problem feeding the cable all the way to the end. I told him I knew how to fix it. When I said that, he told me I could use the work stand and tools in the back. He was surprised that I had the knowledge.

I got Betsy up on the stand, and took the housing off. Sure enough, as I suspected, the cable still wouldn't feed through. I tried cutting some off (that being a problem itself as the derailleur cable housing has always been a bit too short), but still couldn't get the cable through. The guy had some white bulk Jagwire housing. I cut a long enough piece. From there, I had no problem getting the new cable through, and getting everything put back together. When I cut the bar tape to get to the housing, I did so, carefully. Then I just used black electrician's tape and put it back on. Except for the cable cutters and the work stand, I used all my own tools (their tools were kind of a mess). It took me about 1 1/2 hours from when I walked in the shop to buy the cable, to when I left. It cost me 169kr (around $25). However, my gloves (that were brand new when I started) had completely fallen apart, so I got a new pair of gloves too. I would have been screwed if I didn't know how to fix it myself as the guy was not the mechanic, and there was no mechanic there.
Here's Betsy with her new white cable.

I returned to where I had left the route and continued on. It was 3:00 when I left the shop. Now I just had to ride to Mandal. 

The North Sea Route continued to stay as close to the water as possible. That means there was a lot of ups, and not nearly enough downs (okay, there was probably about the same of each). The worst part was not the hills, but the fierce wind. I would highly recommend anyone (Jon and Christian) wanting to do this, seriously consider going FROM Stavanger! The hills wouldn't be nearly so bad with a tailwind.

I was finally getting closer to Mandal. I saw the sign for Sandnes Camping--1.4km. I made a beeline! I arrived at 6:20. Shortly after choosing my spot, a guy from Edinburgh came over to tell me he liked my Da Brim. His name was Stewart (or Stuart). We had a nice chat. 

After my delightful 10kr shower (of which I used every minute!), I headed to the kitchen to cook my dinner. I would have used my stove (in an effort to use the fuel before I get to Stavanger), but there is a strict open-fire ban. Apparently, this area has not had any rain for 6 weeks. It doesn't seem overly dry, and there are even a few picnic tables, but rules are rules. The kitchen was great, as there was even a table to sit and eat at, all while watching the World Tour Beach Volleyball tournament currently being held in Stavanger on the TV. It was Norway against Poland. Sadly, Norway was not winning (when in Rome, root for the Romans, you know!). Stewart came in to get something out of the freezer. It was ice cream, and he offered me one! Yum--dessert (this time, AFTER dinner)! Then while I was typing this, he walked by, and I said, "Thanks again for the ice cream." He said, "Do you want another one?" Of course!

Total miles today: 58 (again)

Here's a final fart...I mean parting shot. Gotta love these signs!

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