Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Newport News, Virginia

The bike shop near my hotel
I pre-booked two nights' accommodation in Newport News. One of the factors I took into account when selecting a hotel was proximity to a bike shop. This turned out to be fortunate. After I checked in my baggage at Dallas airport yesterday, the TSA selected my bike box for physical inspection and opened it. On unpacking this morning I found that the hydraulic line to the rear brake had snapped at the (left) lever. This may have been the TSA or it may be that my initial packing was inadequate. I walked the bike to nearby Bike Beat where Rod was extraordinarily helpful. His spacious shop does not handle Magura products and he has no experience with them. Nevertheless he spent a lot of time researching on the web and making phone calls, looking for someone who could help. All the dealers within 100 km listed on the Magura website have gone out of business. Eventually Rod found Bikes Unlimited in Williamsburg who had the necessary mineral oil and expertise. Another customer, Vincent, and his wife Ann volunteered to drive me and my bike there, where Barry spent close on three hours working on the bike. It seems that my HS33 is a new design introduced in Europe in 2011 and in America in 2012. The manual on the Magura website covers the old design only. On completion of the job, Barry's colleague Andrew drove me back to Newport News. All day I was blown away by people's kindness and willingness to help a stranger.

At Bike Beat in the morning, I met a customer, Bill, from the San Francisco bay area. He was assembling his bike, which he had shipped there from California. He is here to ride the TransAmerica Trail, like me, and will be spending tomorrow night in Williamsburg. Bill told me that yesterday he met three English guys who are also about to ride the TransAm to Oregon. As expected, I will not be alone on the road.

My plan is to set out tomorrow. Andrew suggested that I take Route 17 to Yorktown, where my maps begin, but to wait until after 9am when traffic volumes should reduce. From Yorktown, I will continue to Williamsburg. Whether I go further, and if so, how far, depends on how well I have recovered from the fatigue of the journey from Australia and the disorientation of the 14 hour clock change. It's forecast to rain tomorrow, as it did today, with temperatures up to 22C.


  1. Hi Alisdair, I'm following your trek.
    Orthilion is drumming up awareness on the TOG forum, hence my envy of your ride.
    I turned down the opportunity to ride in the last Gong ride as I use my bike as transport - never had the urge to get a driver license - and not for fun. Ride well, and watch out for car doors and potholes !
    - Birko; from Marrickville, Sydney.

  2. Hi Alasdair. That was rotten luck. It would take quite a force to break that cable. Hard to understand how that could happen if the box showed no sign of damage. I guess you can claim on the insurance. We usually secure the disconnected handlebars by cord or tape to the cross tube..,:!: