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I tried using Google Translate to understand more about the adventures of that Japanese rider I just blogged about, with very mixed results. Kanji is not so easy for the Google, eh?

Regardless, here's what I have gathered. It sounds like he was moving pretty fast on a descent, holding his line, when a rider that he was passing decided to suddenly swerve left, cutting him off. As he went over the handlebars and into a ditch (soft dirt, mercifully), his foot got caught in his front wheel and snapped two spokes. I guess the bicycle was sponsored or something - he also posted about trying to find a place to attach a sticker that wouldn't affect the frame - so that's probably why he wound up with a bike with a foolishly low spoke count. After determining that he felt more-or-less okay (other than being unable to turn his head), he noted that the next town was only 3 km away, and walked there.

Right before he met up with me, he borrowed a spoke wrench from an American recumbent rider because he had decided against packing one along. He showed me that he could get the wheel to rotate without hitting the brake pads if he left the brake quick-release open. I was pretty skeptical, but I wasn't in a position to change his mind, and it sounded like he was on his way to finding a bike shop.

No such luck, however...I guess he doesn't speak any French whatsoever, so he had a hard time tracking down a bike shop that Google Maps had pointed out in Lassay-les-Chateaux, and burned a lot of time in searching. Eventually he just pushed on to the next control, Fougeres.

His luck wasn't much better at the control. He took his bike over to a mechanic, who pulled off the tire, tube, and rim strip before observing the spoke type, whereupon the mechanic realized that he didn't have the proper replacement spokes. He fiddled with the wheel a little bit more, which only threw it further out of true, and which meant that K had to completely undo his front brake to keep moving and had lost even more time with having to reassemble the tire. It took K 8 hours to travel the 90 km between Villaines-la-Juhel and Fougeres, which is not promising for brevet completion. He couldn't stand up on the hills or move very quickly with the broken wheel, but he shoved on from Fougeres to Tinteniac, the next control - another 5 hours to travel 50 km. He finally had much better luck in Tinteniac, where the mechanic had a binder full of all different styles of spokes, and in the end the wheel was in better shape than it had been when K began PBP.

I haven't puzzled through the rest of K's stories, but wow. People have all kinds of adventures and misadventures on PBP. My thought is, if you are going on a bike ride in a foreign country, either figure out how to transport a complete set of spare everything*, or rely on something that can be repaired in a straightforward fashion with standard components (e.g. my mid-ride drivetrain replacement). Also, I am so curious about the cultural differences between riding in Japan vs. France. It looks like K got to hang out with another Japanese rider who used to be a world class racer, which was also interesting to observe.

*One of the K-hound Texans basically does this. He rides a brevet practically every single weekend, usually on an S&S-coupled tandem with his wife, and basically keeps a spare bicycle and bike shop tools in his truck. He says he's had pretty much every single component fail at one point or another, including a time where he wound up disassembling the tandem and reassembling it into a cumbersome one-person bike so he could finish out a brevet (leaving his wife with the extra piece - she didn't seem to mind). I think that was a "broken crank" adventure. He was also the person who had a chain whip and cassette removal tool when I broke a driveside spoke in the middle of a 600k, 10 miles from the sleep stop control. That's where I learned about FiberFix spoke replacements and decided it would be prudent to buy a couple for my toolkit. And also to get rid of that treacherous rear wheel (the replacement has been a million times more reliable).


( 7 remarks — Remark )
Oct. 20th, 2015 02:26 am (UTC)
Even my race wheels _still_ use standard spokes, simply because it's such a PITA for all my friends with their fancy bladed aluminum spokes to find any replacements. The guy with the sponsored bike is in a difficult situation. I can tell you, having seen this, that at the Leadville 100 trail race a lot of the native Americans who show up from northern Mexico run the first mile in their fancy sponsored shoes, then take them off and tuck them in their belts, and run the rest of the race barefoot, and put the shoes back on just before they get back to where the media are.
Oct. 20th, 2015 02:04 pm (UTC)
The contrast between the Japanese rider and that Ukranian rider is especially striking in this regard. Very different mentalities. Perhaps K will make some different decisions when he tries again in 2019!

I can't remember what the rules are regarding bike swaps during brevets. I guess one element is that it's challenging to transport one bike for a brevet, let alone more than that, unless a person has some sort of team going. From what I could decipher, the people that K traveled with didn't have the resources for a wheel replacement.

I need to add at least a shifter cable to my toolkit. Mechanic's wire, too. Really, I could also write an article about roadside bike repairs during brevets, based on my experiences and S's experiences, combined!
Oct. 21st, 2015 03:11 am (UTC)
I'd like to read that article.
One of my previous mountain bikes had a chain protector on the right chainstay, consisting of three spare spokes. I liked that idea. A lot of modern ultra endurance offroad bikes use two rear wheels and a spread fork, so if you blow up a freehub you have a spare.
Oct. 21st, 2015 01:25 pm (UTC)
Wait, wait, wait. TWO rear wheels? Picture please!

A lot of long-distance bikes come with spare spokes, too. It's a wise idea!
Oct. 21st, 2015 04:26 pm (UTC)
I'm not finding great pictures. The Hunter Cycles frame in this sequence: http://dirtragmag.com/nahbs-2013-fat-bikes-gallery-part-1/ has one. I saw several at NAHBS2014 but am not finding a lot of details online.
Oct. 21st, 2015 06:36 pm (UTC)
Ahh, okay, *now* I understand! At first I thought you meant they had a front wheel, PLUS two rear wheels somehow magically put together in a convenient arrangement. Makes more sense to say the front wheel is actually a spare rear wheel. I could see how those people who race in crazy mountainous terrain would find something like that tremendously useful.
Oct. 21st, 2015 09:40 pm (UTC)
They seem to suffer from a lot more drivetrain failures -- or maybe, those are just so devastating. I think that's a lot of the catalyst for belt-drive bikes.
( 7 remarks — Remark )

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