Best laid plans? Busted spokes prompt back wheel rebuild in Wellington

If we had to break down on this trip – and with the old spokes, it was pretty much inevitable – it couldn’t have happened at a better spot, with Wellington, bike repair experts and friends within a little more than an hour’s drive.

Nearly three weeks into our Tandem Tour the length of New Zealand, we’ve had to call in some helpful friends with a van, and take a day out from pedalling, to get our rear wheel completely rebuilt after blowing four – FOUR! – spokes yesterday as we approached the capital Wellington.

And it would have been the most gorgeous evening ride, 1200km into our journey now and after nearly 25,000 total feet climbed…

The offending broken spokes. Daisy’s first breakdown.

We’d had the back wheel rebuilt with a new rim before setting off from the UK at the beginning of the month, and I was a tad surprised at the time to find that our lovely bike mechanic in Sheringham had reused most of the spokes from the old wheel.

“No worries,” he and his fellow bike-building Dad replied when I wondered whether that was wise. “We do this all the time, and have never had any problems.”

Well, they hadn’t rebuilt a tandem wheel before with a Rohloff 14-speed integrated hub, and the most massively tensioned short spokes – and as Greg replied in a very apologetic text, a tandem’s loading has been the ultimate test of their system.

And I guess they won’t use old spokes again!

Loading Daisy into Kim and Dusty’s people carrier

Many thanks to awesome Kiwi country music star Cameron Dusty Burnell (our daughter Katie’s wedding photographer in 2014) and his singing partner Kim Bonnington for rescuing us from the side of the road.

Thanks too for a couple of nights housing in Wellington while we have found spokes and wheelbuilder – both now achieved, with anticipatory thanks to Chris Hadden for the Rohloff bits, and to Owen Hughes of Dirt Merchants for opening up his store this evening just to rebuild our wheel.

So, tomorrow Sunday we’re moving again, though first on a ferry to the South Island, ready to restart pedalling on Monday.

All going brilliantly otherwise, and both of us are feeling thoroughly fit and loving the open air and the distances.

Many thanks to those who are following us, and especially if you’ve made a donation to the Rory Peck Trust – where we’ve still got a way to go to our target of £3000. Donation button at the top of the page!

And, as ever, let the photos speak for themselves.

Chocoholics of the world unite…. And on a bike, the calories get worked off.
Packing up the tent and gear at Eketahuna campsite.
Eketahuna’s rather oversize Kiwi
And avoid blasting all that washing with dust as you drive past
Amazing coach-builders Greg and Ali Lang, encountered on the journey, rebuilding old trams and railway carriages.

2 responses to “Best laid plans? Busted spokes prompt back wheel rebuild in Wellington”

  1. So very sorry about the spokes but glad you had good help. may you continue well onto South Island.
    Love and great respect Mary Jo


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