Friday May 2, 2014, 32 miles (51 km) – Total so far: 2,422 miles (3,898 km)
May 2, 2014 32 miles We left Niksic expecting more rain and slowly climbed to the local ski area. The weather was sunny then cloudy then sunny so we were continually taking our rain gear on then off. The views were beautiful as we rode along the sparsely snowy roads. The riding was full of stunning scenery. It was classic European hairpin turns and climbing that we were really enjoying until a spoke popped through and slashed the rear tube. Another spoke and wheel problem. My bike was still jumping badly when using the rear brakes and Jocelyn’s chain was jumping around on her gear cluster. Near sunset the puncture happened but after changing the tube my rear wheel was pinging badly. We limped into the town of Savnik asking for accommodations since it was near sunset and were told 3km then turn left. We checked with a few others to confirm the same direction. At this point my wheel was sounding really bad so I told Jocelyn that I was walking because I didn’t want to ruin my rim and to cycle on ahead. For this 3 km climb oncoming traffic was honking and waving probably thinking this guy can’t climb. But I smiled and waved back and continued walking and at the top was Jocelyn waiting and she had rented us an a-frame cabin for the night. Nice job! What a relief as it was perfect and dark and there was a restaurant on premises.
May 3, 2014 82 miles by car This morning we woke early to work on my bike. The rear wheel was bad and needed to be replaced. The restaurant manager looked at my bike but shrugged his shoulders. Very kindly he attempted to call some friends who spoke a little English but to no avail until a customer came in who spoke English. Through this we found a bike shop in the ski resort town of Zabljak. We arranged transportation with another gentleman then he drove us the 10 miles north which was in our riding plan. When we arrived in Zabljak the bike shop turned out to be a sporting goods store that rented bicycles. They knew nothing about repairing bikes and said all their bikes are sent to the capital city of Podgorica for repair. After negotiating a price with our driver we were driven another 72 miles by car to this bike shop.
This bike shop had a real repair area and immediately saw the problem and said the wheel needed replacement. They pointed out the rough spots on the rim. I also requested that the chain be replaced (2,600 miles) and also the front brake pads. I had already replaced the rear.
We followed their suggestion for an inexpensive hotel down the street as my bike won’t be ready until tomorrow. So here we are with another delay. We were really enjoying the ride to Serbia but don’t want to backtrack and may head south to Albania. This journey really shows how a stranger in a strange land feels. When times seem difficult there is always a local to come through and help even through the language barrier. This trip is indeed about the people you meet and the kindness of strangers. Tonight we are safe and warm out of the pouring rain. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Speaking of rain we have been rained on for about 3 weeks now.