There was no sleepiness from waking up at sunrise, nor sore legs from endless hills, nor fears of crazed motorists for today we would reach our first Australian climbing destination and get to spend one whole month in the same spot. Oh how to sweet to have regular food and to trade the redundancy of rotating pedals for absorbing rock climbing!
For the last leg of our journey we chose yet more back roads. Immediately we were met by some extremely steep climbs of 17% followed by a downhill and more of the same. Climbing up another 15% grade my chain came off my lowest gear in between the sprockets locking the rear wheel. We stopped and I fixed it, then stopped again and just as we neared the top, we stopped a third time. To my dismay I realized that my hangar had snapped and my rear derailleur was just hanging on my chain. This is the only part I didn’t bring an extra of. These derailleur hangars are made to break and are what is known as a sacrificial part, breaking in order to save other more expensive parts and to prevent injury.
After I finished cursing our fate and began devising a temporary fix using zip ties, a woman appeared in a golf cart. She said that maybe her husband would have a part that we could use. Her husband, Martin from Holland, and a life long bike rider knew exactly what we needed and took the hangars off his own bike. And although it wasn’t the right part, it was good enough so I could change into my lower gears and would get us to our destination. We thanked him profusely and promised to mail the part back once we found a replacement. His wife had told us that the roads continue to be hilly and we were only 50% of the way through. We debated turning back and taking the highway, but then decided to stick to the planned route. Thankfully Martin’s wife was wrong and we were at the top of the last big hill before the road flattened out.
Exhausted but elated at our good fortune we reached the Glasshouse Mountains Campground where we would get our first long rest. When we arrived we met a local guy named Warren who welcomed us in true Aussie fashion, with cold beers. We can’t say enough about the generosity of others and for two cynical city people this has been an instructive trip.