A great Halifax bike shop

Wheel full 70px I’d be seriously remiss if I departed Halifax on my trip without mentioning Bikes by Dave [linkie], a local bike shop that I stopped at on Monday to get the Surly checked over and to ask a couple of questions that I had.

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Wheel full 70px When I called to set up a time to come in I was told that there was a several day wait for service but after I explained a little about my trip I was told to come on over, as they were always happy to make a little room on the schedule for someone on a long-distance tour.

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Wheel full 70px When I arrived, Tom, the shop’s mechanic, quickly and efficiently went over the bike, addressed my questions and concerns, and made several helpful recommendations concerning my route down Nova Scotia’s southwest coast. It was obvious during the 30 minutes or so that I was there that, if anything, the info about being busy was an understatement. It was a busy shop, that’s for sure.

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Dave

Wheel full 70px When the bike was ready Dave Marder, the owner, rang up what I thought was a very reasonable amount for the time Tom spent.  If I lived in Halifax, I know where I’d take my bike to get worked on.

It’s ALIVE!

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Wheel full 70px Well, no.  Really it’s just a box.  With a bike in it.  My bike!

Wheel full 70px I’m, as you have probably guessed, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Nobody told me it would take an hour and a half to get to where I’m staying from the airport, or that I’d have to change buses three times, or that my checked baggage- the two rear panniers- would have not shown up on the carousel.

Wheel full 70px But none of that matters right now.  I’m here.  The bike is here.  And all the rest will work out.

Wheel full 70px Right?

Wheel full 70px I’m exhausted.  Time for bed- catch you in the morning.  We have a bike to put back together.

So let’s get this show on the road

Wheel full 70px Today really didn’t go as planned.  The Topeak cadence/speed sensor we were waiting on didn’t exactly work with my bike.   I’ll be getting in touch with the company, because a phone call to them from owner Garf Cooper at the ZenCog bike shop indicated that I might have gotten an older unit. Shame on someone.

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Garf giving the malfunctioning sensor the evil eye

Wheel full 70px So I spent much of the afternoon hanging around ZenCog  instead of getting going. My schedule is set up to accommodate things like this happening, but it’s sort of disappointing to blow the first day of the ride.   Garf and his crew are great folks to hang around with though, and I’d highly recommend ZenCog to anyone who has need of a bicycle shop in Jacksonville, Florida.  It’s a real bike shop and I could tell over the several days I hung around there that Garf does right by his customers.

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Abandon hope all ye who enter here

Wheel full 70px Here then is what I’m  doing tomorrow.  I’ll be up early to sort out the last packing of the panniers and loading of the bike.  Sometime around nine I’ll head out and ride west through the environs of Jacksonville, pass under the I-295 beltway,  and then pick up the Jacksonville – Baldwin rail trail.   Past Baldwin, the trail ends and I’ll pick up US 90, the old two-lane main route west that was replaced by Interstate 10.  I plan to stop for the day in Macclenny after cycling a bit more than 30 miles/50 km  and stay for the night at an inexpensive motel at the freeway interchange south of town. That will give me a good chance to check over and adjust as needed my gear and the bike before I set out on a longer riding day on Wednesday.

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Wheel full 70px As you can see, these miles are as flat is the proverbial parking lot.  They should go by pretty quickly, but I’m still a little nervous about the impact of four fully loaded panniers.   We’ll see.

Wheel full 70px I’m estimating four hours riding time making seven and a half miles an hour with a 15 minute break each hour.  That should hopefully put me in Macclenny before the day really heats up.

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Wheel full 70px This first week of the trip will get me by next weekend to Spring Hill, Florida where my sister Sue and her family live.

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Wheel full 70px I’ll visit with them ’til early next week then head off for Key West.  Back with you tomorrow.

 

 

A Shout-out!

Wheel full 70px Here’s to Aero Tech Designs and Scosche, companies that were incredibly responsive when I found myself missing items at the last minute in Alaska to pack for the flight to Florida and the start of the trip.

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Wheel full 70px I ordered all my biking clothes from Aero Tech.  The company has sizes for guys like me- 3X and 4X tall.  When we opened the package the clothes came in early last week Heather and I thought we had been shorted a pair of shorts (funny that, eh?) so I called the company’s customer service folks and asked if the order could be made whole.  I explained I was leaving on Friday and doubted that anything would make it to Alaska before I left.  I asked that the replacement be sent to the ZenCog Bike Shop hoping it would arrive by today.  Well, it was there Saturday when I arrived.

Wheel full 70px The best (or worst, depending on your perspective) part.  In our last mad pass through the house looking for the tiny charging base for the Scosche heartbeat per minute sensor armband, we found the missing shorts still wrapped under the end of the bed among the dust bunnies.  I’m gonna call Aero Tech customer service back today and pay for the shorts and the company’s shipping cost.  Sheesh.

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Wheel full 70px The Scosche charging base situation was clearly my fault from the get go.   The thing is tiny – not much larger than a quarter with some rectangular extensions on the sides.  I charged the sensor when it arrived so that I could check it out and thought I had put the base among the things to be packed. Hah!  Fail!   We kept thinking we’d find it, so put off calling Scosche for a replacement.    After a while I just forgot about it until I started the frenzied packing two days before I was supposed to leave. I called Scosche customer service on Thursday,  explained that I was flying out mid-day Friday and asked if there was any way that a new charging unit could be sent by the end of the week so as to hopefully arrive in Jacksonville today.  Like the cycling shorts from Aero Tech, The charging base arrived on Saturday. The FedEx guy actually walked into the store about 10 minutes after I arrived.

Wheel full 70px I can’t say good enough things about these companies. I am so glad to be dealing with them in connection with my trip.

I can do this!

Wheel full 70pxI needed some stuff…

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…thanks, George, for making me smile when I wrote that…

so I rode to my local Target store, which is about seven and a half miles away.

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Wheel full 70pxI’m sitting in the store’s Starbuck’s now, replacing lost electrolytes by drinking a large coffee Frappucino.  I beat Google’s predicted time down here, and even stopped to take some pictures.

Wheel full 70pxI am going to need some soothing butt cream, that’s for sure.

Wheel full 70pxBut I’m alive and I feel GOOD.

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Wheel full 70pxI’m doing something audacious.  Thanks for coming along on the ride.