Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting over the Bay Bridge and Delaware...

I'd portaged through NYC Port Authority, passed through the dregs of Atlantic City, Crossed the Delaware from Cape May; the sun was out, the road ahead flat and straight, no problems. Life was good And i was Out on Del 16 when a loose end of a bungee cord caught a spoke then wrapped itself into the rear gears.
Everything came to a halt. I quickly realized I was over my head.

No bike shop open before 11:00 and if it doesn't carry Cannondale parts I'll have to go to Annapolis. That's $395 in a cab. The Motel desk clerk is online doing a bicycle tutorial. He comes out with pliers and the two of us bend and tug and jointly acknowledge a bicycle mechanic is needed. I call the bush pilot/cyclist Dan in Calif who is from Lewes about his thoughts; this guy is so on the ball. "Hold on I'm calling my brother. He's taking his wife to Annapolis today." A Delaware Trooper gets in on it. Then drives off. The Indian housekeepers are hanging on the balcony speaking Hindi. Dan calls back. "There's a shop a quarter mile down the road.  Let me know if you need anything else." The motel clerk is back online. "25 miles," he says. After no more than 1/4 mile, I hear a whistle, its the bike mechanic across the divided highway. Dan had called him.

Shaeffers Bicycle doesn't inspire confidence. It's a series of connected metal warehouses piled floor to ceiling with everything bicycle new and old, more than I have ever see in my life...more than most anyone could even imagine.

Wally and Cindy - my heroes.

"If you can get this fixed, you're my heroes," I say up front and meaning it. They pull out old parts and jointly do what was happening back at the motel talking all the while.

Cindy's husband, thirty her senior, died in 2010 and left her with two sons that sleep late and the bike Store. Wally has a wife in Tenn. twenty years his senior whom he hopes to get back to. A scruffy dog in a beat up chair barks when the door opens. "hush up Jacky". Cindy says, I'll be out in a minute."...Customers are just people who stop by at Shaeffers Bike Shop. If they happen to spend money, that's okay too.

Cindy is a self-confessed hoarder. She says her husband was too. She announces, "I'm going to clean this place up one day. I have a man friend in Florida I thought about going there."   She directs and fine tunes Wally's work. From this chaos comes a repair that works as good as new and I have two heroes and its not yet noon.

The rest of Delaware I found exceptionally dull. It explains how after all these years I didn't have much of an impression about the place. In the two days I've been here, I've read more signs or heard more references to the way to get OUT of Delaware....THE BRIDGE, THE FERRY.  The land is flat, fertile, and highly farmed. The roads are straight and flat. There don't appear to be a lot of dogs, horses or public parks or places to go. The food is hoagies and pizzas. Nothing too interesting in the way of housing. The states history with George Washington throwing the coin across the Delaware is manufactured. Oh, well. There are two heroes at Shaeffers Bike Shop in Lewes, Delaware and that's enough for one day. Away I ride toward the Chesapeake bay bridge,

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