I've been meaning to write this story for a long time. It outlines all of the concepts that I teach but the timing was never right.
Today the bell rung. The time was now. An opportunity to finally clear this story from the queue so I can move forward. Monday morning. Music in my ears. I'm about to be late for work again. I get on my Dream Bike and clunk. The pedals spin but I don't move froward.
The sorrow was sudden. The best part of my morning ended before it could begin. Tears. I don't cry, but the Dream Bike dying so abruptly shook me. A soldier in a trench seeing the realities of war for the first time. This goddamn wheel. It's cursed.
It started with a Goal. Bike from Amsterdam to Barcelona in 3 weeks, towing a 6 year old through Europe. Through a historic heatwave, every year it's historic now. In Bourg-Sant-Andeol, 470km from Barcelona, I discovered the wheel was cracked. I could still ride but for how long? Bike trips are an exercise of finding comfort in the Unknown. You wake up and you don't know where you'll end up. Will the wind help you today? Did you push too hard yesterday and will have no energy left for the day? You know your Goal. Barcelona. One day at a time. It is an exercise in Persistence. You go to the end. A broken wheel is the Unknown addition to the Unknown equation. Anything can go wrong, this just adds to the mystery and excitement. I had to actively reject Doubt and Worry. Jonathan said he will disconnected the back break if the wobble started. Great...
We were hopeful. We had Faith. We were in France, they love bikes. We will find a wheel. Every bike shop we went to said, "Non". The growth of the bike industry resulted in too many wheel varieties. The broken wheel helped us make a Decision. During planning Pont Du Gard was a possibility, but it was a detour. Detours on bike trips are weighed heavily. We were not sure till that morning if we would see Pont Du Gard or leave it to the next time we're in the region. Whenever that will be.
To detour to Pont Du Gard required venturing off the EuroVelo. Longer but direct path on a busy highway. A Decision was made for us. A bike shop said the wheel is in the next town. We had to take the highway. The highway that led to Pont Du Gard. The next shop didn't have the wheel like they said. We called it and focused on Pont Du Gard as the next destination. Barcelona will happen. Wheel won't get in the way. Just keep pedaling. We got to Pont Du Gard and it was transformative. The highlight of the entire 4 weeks in Europe on the most stressful day. Did Fate drive us here? At least the circumstances did. Swimming in the Gardon and looking up at the behemoth Roman structure. The same experience of awe of so many before me.
We did find a wheel that fit (barely). It was in a shop in Nimes. It had less than half the spokes I needed, it didn't fit the bike properly but it fit at the time. It got me to Barcelona.
And today it broke.