Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

Breakages

By Stuart Lowe on

I had an early start this morning to try to get some miles in before it got too hot. My first problem was that a bike route claimed on my map could only be accessed by steps. That wasn't going to happen. So I went back around to the road. Up it went so progress was slow.

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I set off early this morning.

There were plenty of Camino pilgrims already out walking the road so I passed quite a few. Then, as I was sailing down the other side: whooooosh. Air went from my rear tyre. I came to a stop to avoid damaging the wheel before all the air was out. Drat. I had a puncture. I removed my bags and took a look. A pilgrim gave me a hand getting the tyre off then carried on his way. The cheap French tyre has worn on the side. Probably my fault with badly positioned brakes. But it has gone a good distance in the past couple of weeks. I replaced the inner tube, tried to patch the tyre's wear with duct tape, and cautiously continued.

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It's hilly around here.

I reached the top of the next hill and found a picnic area. I had a three fried egg sandwich. It was that sort of day.

As I pressed on I heard a noise on each wheel rotation. That meant it wasn't pedal related (my left pedal has been making disconcerting noises recently). I looked. The inner tube was poking out of the tyre and rubbing on the brake pad. I adjusted the brake pad but knew I couldn't really use the brakes too much now. Google maps said I had a downhill, followed by another 170m hill, some relative flat, then another 170m hill. If they didn't have switch backs I might survive.

I got over the first hill and down to Laredo where there was traffic due to the Sunday festivities. I stopped to see what was going on but as I set off again: whoooosh. Puncture two of the day.

I did a puncture repair and really put lots of duct tape around the rim of the tyre. It looked ridiculous (don't do this at home, kids) but I had few options given everywhere was shut because it was Sunday. My best option was to head towards Santander where, in the morning, I'd have more chance of finding a good tyre. Preferably another Schwalbe marathon plus.

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Taped tyre

I had a brief stop at a supermarket that was miraculously open and got two "chocolate triangle" pastries for a euro.

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Riding down into Laredo

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Festivities in Laredo

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Heading towards Santoña

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Parque Natural de Las Marismas de Santoña, Victoria y Joyel.

As I rode the relatively flat road out towadds Santaño and on towards the next hill, I mused on the fact I'd not seen any branches of the bank Santander which is everywhere in the UK.

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Ajo

I crossed the bridge near Somo. I was stopping every few km to restick to duct tape that was struggling in the 26C heat. Then, in Gajano, I had a new problem. My pannier rack broke. Double drat. The little bracket on the right-hand side had snapped. Whilst I was attempting a rough fix, a man from Parbayón offered that I could stay at his house.

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Heading from Somo to Pedreña.

His name was Luis and he knows a good bike shop I can visit in the morning. Ignoring the warnings you get at primary school, I went off with this stranger in his car. I'll have to cycle back to where he gave me a lift from, in the morning, but I it'll be less than 20km.

Luis said I can stay tomorrow and do laundry so it seems like the right time for a 'rest' day (I'll cycle what I missed plus fix bike so it won't be a proper rest).