Saturday, 12 September 2009

On the kindness of strangers, or in Rod we trust

The day began well enough as I pedaled up out of Princeton along the Princeton-Summerland road, the back way between the two said communities but also the extremely scenic route, passing through ranch land. I saw two groups of mule deer, 8 in total. This route paralleled the KVR and indeed crossed it a few times. I tried it for a bit before giving up on the loose sand.
The heat of the day wasn't in full force for much of the time and I had lunch at the Teepee Lakes resort in relatively cool weather. The lady managing the place asked me if I had known the place was there. I confessed that I hadn't but that I had been hoping that there would be somewhere I could buy something cold to drink. (I had bought a sandwich on my way out of Princeton.) She commented that it was a sign that the owners needed to do a bit more advertising!!!

Shortly after lunch, the road turned to manageable dirt, and came into more sparsely populated territory. At around 80 km from Princeton, I was pedaling up a grade when something went in my drivetrain. Cursing, I stopped to try to fix the problem, only to discover that my chain had parted at the link! A quick examination of the chain told me that I couldn't fix the problem. I was pretty sure I was out of cell range and didn't really know where to call anyway. Consequently, I started walking towards Summerland. A minute or two later, a pickup came along from Summerland which I flagged down. While he wasn't going in my direction, Rod (the driver) very kindly drove me the remaining 10 odd km into Summerland, where he left me in search of a bike shop. There wasn't one, so I coasted out of town towards Penticton, where I was assured of finding one. I coasted out as I figured I would have more luck hitch-hiking out of town than in. Also, Summerland is only about 10 km from Penticton and one of my fallback plans was to walk to Penticton before 5 PM. (It was 3ish.) After about 10-15 minutes, a young German-speaking Swiss couple picked me up in their RV. They drove into Penticton and to Freedom the Bike Shop. I never caught their names, but they turned down my offer a beer on me and gave me a Swiss chocolate bar!!! Here's to Rod and the Swiss couple. The subtitle of this blog entry was suggested by Rod.
The oddly named bike shop very kindly, and swiftly replaced the link and sold me a reserve replacement link. They only charged me for the reserve link which was very good of them. Then again, they were DeVinci bike dealers. ;-)

The bike shop was only a block away from my youth hostel. Unfortunately, the office only opened at 5 PM and it was about 4 PM. I walked my bike to a nearby coffee shop to wait. Before I entered the shop, I was accosted by a man wanting to know about my touring bike. He was in the process of planning a bike trip in Australia and was wondering about what bike to acquire. I gave my opinion that DeVinci touring bikes were pretty good (I don't think I mentioned the broken chain and anyway, it could have been a defective replacement chain) but cautioned that my aunt Margo and uncle Chris while owning DeVinci touring bike had opted for Surly Long-Haul Truckers for their Bangkok to Europe trip. We chatted for a bit, before I went in to find some cool liquid refreshment.

I am sharing a room in the hostel with a young German from Hamburg, who is here in search of a job and an older, possibly retired, expatriate Englishman. When I told him I was bike touring, we fell to chatting about it as he had ridden from BC to Kenora on a mountain bike, camping every 50 miles or so. He had to quit in Kenora as his hip had given out on him.

I am rather tired, so I am looking forward to getting to Kelowna and the Tysons for a good rest. With luck, I will be able to go a day without biking as my legs are rather sore.

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