Day 9: West Virginia… Or, the longest 12 miles ever

The day started out as most of mine do, with me stumbling around groggily wishing I had coffee. I got rolling a little later than planned, the drinks from last night still coursing in my system. It wAs a fun night though, Whitney introduced me to two of her friends who were a lot of fun.

Once I hit the road to leave Pittsburgh i came to the realization that entering and exiting cities are the bane of my existence. With a culture devoted to cars and highWays the options for serious travel by bike can be few and far between. After some wonderful hills I left Pittsburgh and picked up a good pace on the Panhandle Trail that flows from Pennsylvania righ,t through west Virginia and stops a few miles from the Ohio border.

The trail was really nice, but didn’t have the tree cover of the previous trails. It worked though, until I got to the end… I had just finished the trail and was heading towards Steubenville when my rear derailer busted off my bike. Luckily I didn’t wreck but I certainly wasn’t going anywhere.

I called Josh, my best friend of over 20 years and the one I turn to when I’m really in a jam. He went to work looking for a bike shop while I slowly moved my way down to civilization. I also called Whitney to tell her what happened and she was able to find someone to come get me if needed. My friends rock.

Well Josh found a shop that was only open by appointment and was run out of a home garage about 10 miles away. Josh called the Dave, the bike repairman, and set me up so that he’d help me out if I could get there. I called Dave to confirm everything and Dave found me a local cab company. My phone battery was at about 4% so I was pretty helpless. I called the cab and was on my way.

The cab showed up and it didn’t have a meter and the driver didn’t know where the p,ace was but he quoted me a fare from the beginning and we rolled into the general direction of the repair shop. I had the address written down and some directions so we weren’t completely lost. The cab driver seemed very interested in my ride but the woman in the passenger seat seemed bored or annoyed. I couldn’t understand anything she said but the driver could understand so I felt like I was being translated to.

I got to the repair shop and Dave got to work. Besides the derailer my gears were worn, my chain warped, and I had about 8 broken spokes. Sad panda. I hung around and chatted while the repairs were being done. Dave’s wife brought me an amazing dinner while I was there and we asked about everything from my ride to bike racing to their kids and grand kids. It was actually really pleasant and I’m really glad I met them. They are two of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met.

When the repairs were done Dave gave me a ride to a local campground where I now sit. I’m not even behind schedule, in fact I may be ahead because the path now leads me across a bridge that is more bicycle friendly than my previous route.

Next stop, New Philadelphia, Ohio and my first couch surfing experience. At this point over half my couch surfing requests have been filled.

2 thoughts on “Day 9: West Virginia… Or, the longest 12 miles ever

  1. Glad everything worked out Peter! I am intensely following your blog and your ride. If you need any help with finding couch surfers, let me know!

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