Week Thirteen: Dan's Rim Exploded

26/06/18-02/07/18

Countries: Sweden, Latvia & Estonia

Jen   Distance: 233.9km / 145.3mi
         Elevation: 807m / 2,648ft

Dan  Distance: 193.9km / 120.5mi
         Elevation: 747m / 2,451ft
         Hitchhiked: 40km / 24.9mi

Towards the end of each week, we rack our brains, trying to remember stuff that's happened (weeks and days blur together), which I then write about on the blog. This week was no different, except that I turned to Dan and said, ‘we’ve had a pretty uneventful week, this week’. Never will I ever say those words out loud again, as on Sunday, Dan’s wheel rim literally exploded. And to think the main disaster prior to this, was getting a mosquito bite on my bum crease.

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Before Dan’s bike was rendered useless, we were having a pretty smooth week. We caught an overnight ferry from Stockholm, Sweden to Riga, Latvia. Spent a day wandering around Riga – it’s a beautiful city, particularly the Old Town, if you can look past the stag and hen dos. And then we followed the coast up from Latvia to Estonia. Disaster struck just 30km over the border.   

 We were so smug thinking we'd found a street beer for €0.50. Turns out, it was Kvass. Considered non-alcoholic, as the alcohol from fermentation is typically 0.5–1.0%, it's a traditional Baltic beverage made from rye bread. It looks like beer, but tastes like fruit juice.

We were so smug thinking we'd found a street beer for €0.50. Turns out, it was Kvass. Considered non-alcoholic, as the alcohol from fermentation is typically 0.5–1.0%, it's a traditional Baltic beverage made from rye bread. It looks like beer, but tastes like fruit juice.

 We found a real beer in one of the bars off the main square in Riga. And then another in a bar just down the road, which had a guitarist playing live (we miss live music!). And then a few more at a supermarket, which we enjoyed back at camp.

We found a real beer in one of the bars off the main square in Riga. And then another in a bar just down the road, which had a guitarist playing live (we miss live music!). And then a few more at a supermarket, which we enjoyed back at camp.

 We also got to watch England beat Panama in the comfort of our tent. 

We also got to watch England beat Panama in the comfort of our tent. 

 Crossing into our 9th country, Estonia.

Crossing into our 9th country, Estonia.

 Our first night in Estonia was spent on the beach, all four wheels intact.

Our first night in Estonia was spent on the beach, all four wheels intact.

See, a pretty uneventful week, right? Now for the disaster. The noise was deafening. Neither of us knew quite what had happened at first. Thankfully the rim and inner tube blew on a quiet road and we were going at a snail’s pace, otherwise it could have been a different story. And I still don’t understand how there was no damage whatsoever to the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tyre - they’re invincible.

Off course, the first thing we did was take pictures and videos. Once the important stuff was out of the way, we then hatched a plan. Luckily, the next big town, 40km away, had not just one bike shop, but four! We decided to hitch a ride there. It didn’t take long before a lovely Dutch family stopped in their classic VW camper van. They were happy to take the bike, but there was only room for one. That left me and Boris to cycle the 40km to Pärnu. Dan definitely drew the short straw. 

Now’s probably a good time to introduce my bike, Boris, which Dan aptly named after a certain Foreign Secretary. Reasons being it’s blue - not my first choice of colour, I might add - and I often yell about stupid things it does. I’ve learned to love one Boris; it’s not the blonde one. 

 A total write-off. 

A total write-off. 

 Hatching a plan. Just so you don't think we're total numpties, we did realise we were at a bus stop, but there wasn't one due for a few hours. 

Hatching a plan. Just so you don't think we're total numpties, we did realise we were at a bus stop, but there wasn't one due for a few hours. 

 Another day, another hitchhike.

Another day, another hitchhike.

We’ve contacted Cloud 9 Cycles (the guys who built our wheels and bikes), who have contacted Halo (the wheel rim manufacturers) on our behalf, and we’re going to speak to bike shops today, to see about a temporary fix. Hopefully we'll get Dan's bike rolling again soon - the Estonia islands are calling!

Now we play the waiting game, which so far has involved beers, burgers, and several World Cup matches. We’ve also just learned that Pärnu is famous for its spas... maybe the wheel can wait a little longer. 

 Before we go, we just wanted to show you our new favourite tool, which we brought back from the UK last week. The Next Best Thing 2 (the small metal circle at the top), does exactly the same job as the three tools at the bottom, it allows you to remove the cassette. Ironically, this is the week we’ll actually need it, since Dan’s wheel disintegrated. 

Before we go, we just wanted to show you our new favourite tool, which we brought back from the UK last week. The Next Best Thing 2 (the small metal circle at the top), does exactly the same job as the three tools at the bottom, it allows you to remove the cassette. Ironically, this is the week we’ll actually need it, since Dan’s wheel disintegrated.