All the way across Alabama the gears were screwing up something terrible. ?I knew I needed to get a professional to look at the bike. ?The only problem was I was riding through little bitty towns. ?Not exactly a lot of bike shops in Podunk, Alabama.
Montgomery would have probably had some places to choose from, but that would have required me to plan my route through the city instead of around it. ?The first decent sized city on the tour beyond Montgomery was Columbus, Georgia. ?For four days prior to arriving in Georgia I’d been Googling bike shops in Columbus. ?Because of the overwhelming number of great reviews I settled on?Ride On Bikes. ?Their website says, “Probably the best bike shop in the world.” ?I’d have to agree.
I pulled into the store about 2PM. ?(Or maybe it was 3PM as I crossed over into the Eastern Time Zone.) ?I got waited on right away and all sort of people oooh’d and aaah’d over my bike and hearing about?The Ride.
I have to tell you: ?while I enjoy telling friends and family about?The Ride none of them are bicyclists. ?It’s hard to?really?explain the pains and joys of a long distance ride to someone who last rode a bicycle in 6th grade. ? Yesterday when James and I got to ride together:
. . . it was so nice because I got to talk to a?bicyclist. ?At?Ride on Bikes, there was?a whole damned store full of bicyclists!
The very sweet lady who greeted me told me about her own cross-country ride. ?She had a story of searching for a bike store and when they finally found it, it was closed because it was a Sunday. ?They had completely lost track of time and had no idea it was Sunday.
I laughed because just a few days ago I had a lady at a hotel who told me check-in wasn’t until 3PM. ?I told her that not only did I not know what time it was, but I didn’t know what day it was. ?Hell, I wasn’t even 100% sure what?city?I was in.
Everyone there understood exactly?what I was talking about!
Byron took my bike under his wing:
At one point he let me know I’d brought the bike in just in time. ?The cable that controls the back gears was about ready to break. ?I told him that “good timing” wasn’t one of my best traits. ?I asked him some questions — probably most of them really stupid — and I finally left him alone to do his magic.
I heard him cussin’ the bike a couple of times. ?I definitely understood the need to do that. ?He couldn’t get the gears to work perfectly so he completely?rebuilt the entire cabling assembly.
Byron even gave it the old college try to better my “MacGyver’d” fix to my front panniers. ? He wasn’t successful with it, but I was impressed that it gave it his all.
I put all the bags back on the bike:
and took it up front to pay for it. ?I was told, “There’s no charge. ?It was a pleasure to have you with us today.”
No way! ?There’s some more of that good old Southern hospitality for you!
If they were going to insist I didn’t owe anything, I insisted leaving a tip for beer money. ?As I headed over to the hotel I got to thinking about how much I’d left as as tip. ?It wasn’t enough. ?(I can only chalk it up to being caught by surprise at the amount of the bill.) ?After I took care of some things at the hotel, I hightailed it back and doubled the tip. ?I knew what a repair like that would have cost me back in Ohio and I?still?got a deal.
I appreciate Byron and all the staff at Ride on Bikes. ?What a great place! ?Thanks for getting my bike ready for the last part of my journey!