Day 062, Saturday, 30 May 2009

Stopped! Waiting for spare parts!


Distance travelled – 0 km
Avg speed – 0 kph
Max speed – 0 kph


Not a good day today. We took the opportunity of the extra day in Bowen to do a quick clean and service on the bikes. Cleaning reveals all sorts of things that in retrospect are best not known about. But once you discover them you have to deal with them.

After wiping away the road grime from the rim of my (Mark) back wheel we discovered that there are some major cracks around two of the spoke nipples. One in particular looks like it is not far away from pulling out.

We have planned for this type of breakdown with a spare rim being part of our spares purchased before the trip and in store in our garage at home. We had also ordered spare hubs so that if we broke either wheel all we needed to do is call home and get Andrew to organise a new front or rear wheel to be built and then sent to us. In theory we worked out that in a worst case scenario, (ie if the wheel broke on a Saturday) we should have a new wheel in 7 days, (2 day weekend, Monday to build the wheel, 4 days to ship it).

However, it does not matter how much planning you do there will always be something unforeseen. In this instance the spare rear hub we ordered at the start of February did not arrive before we left and as of today has still not arrived.  After a call back to the bike shop in Canberra at lunchtime today we have been told that the item has only come into stock at Shimano this week but has still not been received in Canberra.

This means we need to get the new hub delivered to Canberra on Monday, the new wheel built and the wheel delivered to us in Bowen before or at the latest this coming Friday. Next weekend is a long weekend in NSW and Queensland so if we do not get the wheel on Friday we will be stuck in Bowen until the following Wednesday. To make things more interesting we must vacate our present accommodation by next Saturday morning.

Because we discovered this on a Saturday we have only been able to talk to one potential courier and at this stage it looks doubtful that they can get the wheel to us in time. The problem is compounded by none of the major couriers having an agent in Bowen as they are all in either Townsville or Proserpine.

As soon as Queensland starts work on Monday we will be both be on the phone trying to find a workable solution. We suspect it will be easier to get the wheel to Townsville but I am not confident that the present wheel will get me to Townsville. I am also not willing to risk it as if it breaks on the way it will present us with bigger issues than we have now. (“Issues” that’s a word I learnt to use after working for different Commonwealth departments.)

It is interesting that one of our predecessors on this trip, Peter Macquire, broke a rear wheel near Cairns about this time last year. This is why we planned to have a spare. My wheel, however, has covered a lot of touring kilometres with heavy loads over the last 30 months so it would be unfair to blame its failure only on Queensland roads and sugar cane rail crossings.

This issue is far from resolved and we do not expect things to go smoothly but we are willing to be surprised. We hope Bowen has enough to keep us occupied for the next week!

Zoom into the map and use the 'Satellite' layer to see our new location.



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