Third time is a charm

I’m back in Fairbanks for the third time this month (if you count my overnight layover in the airport).

The gravel and washboard on the Denali Highway was not nice to my bike.  At some point as we were cruising down a hill I hit a rock and remember thinking the sound it made against the metal rim was not too good.  Things seemed OK after that and I thought nothing of it.


At some point yesterday (Saturday) I noticed my rim was a little out of whack, not too much, just noticeable when braking.  Then it got to the point where it was hitting the break pad everytime around.

I finally decided to look at the rim…


Yikes!  The tailwinds and mostly flat and downhill headed north from Paxson meant we got to a campsite only 30 miles away from Delta Junction, where we had a place to stay via  We may have pushed the last 30 miles, but thought rain was coming and didn’t want to roll into town too late.

I decided to risk the 30 miles today on the damaged rim as opposed to looking for a ride, after all, I had gotten just as far on it the day before.

Flying with a great tailwind

With some more incredible tailwinds (I didn’t pedal more than 10 of the 30 miles today), which had me braking as to not go to fast and risk my rim blowing out at a high speed, we got to Delta Junction at about 2:30.  We found our host’s place a few miles north of Delta, and after a shower, packed a bag with some overnight stuff and headed south back into town on foot.

I held my thumb out to cars going to Fairbanks, wondering if it would help my cause or not to be carrying to bicycle wheels.  A guy that saw me on his way north picked me up on his way back south and dropped me off at the visitors center.  I hung out there for a while, but no one was stopping there.

I wrote a sign saying “Friendly cyclist headed to South America needs to get to Fairbanks to replace broken rim” and hung out in front of the gas station for a while.  Several people approached me and said “Would give you a ride but headed the other way”  This was encouraging.

I got hungry so I headed to the drive in for some curly fries.  A kind lady who hadn’t even read my sign approached me and asked what the sign said.  Later on she would tell me that she found it odd for someone to be carrying around two bicycle rims.

She said she would be able to give me a ride, so I enjoyed the two hour ride into Fairbanks getting to know her and her son.  It turns out that at one point she had worked at the sports store I’ll be looking for new rims at tomorrow.

I hope to get to the sports store first thing, and see if they can replace my rim during the day.  In the meantime I’ll do some grocery shopping and research for the next leg of the trip.  Then I’ll have to try my luck at hitchhiking back to Delta to meet up with Baptiste.

1 comment to Third time is a charm

  • Cooper

    Dang Matto, I’m glad you had the tailwinds and sorry you had to backtrack. I hope you find exactly the rims that you need and get on your way soon.

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