June 20: Ignace to Savanne River (~128km)

Bikely map

I got going at around 10:15am, and had some good riding conditions, so I was able to make about 20km/h (including the non-riding time when I stopped to eat, drink, etc.) for the first 3 hours or so. At some point in this window, I took this picture

More specifically, I took the picture near the end of the window as, after the 3 hours had passed, I was given a good deal of time to become familiar with my surroundings.

I had noticed just a few minutes before stopping that the ride had been getting bumpy at quite a regular interval. This was an interval close enough to a tire circumfrence to raise some suspicions about the state of my rear tire. While I contemplated where best to stop and inspect the rear wheel (as I was making a rather good pace down that stretch of road), the inner tube popped and made the decision for me.

Taking the tire off to repair the flat, the cause of the bumpiness (and of the flat) appeared to be that the bead of the tire had seperated from the wall for a few inches, so there wasn’t really anything holding the tire into the rim, and it was bulging out. I suspect that I had overinflated the tire somewhat the previous morning (lower that the rated maximum pressure, but then it was first thing in the morning, so the increase in temperature as the day went on (both from ambient temperature increase, and from being ridden on all day) had likely pushed it outside its tolerances and caused it to fail. I cursed myself a little for my carelessness in that respect (I had halfway anticipated such a problem while inflating the tire, but was finding the pumping (and would therefore likely find the repumping as I’d inevitably overdeflate it while backing off the pressure) to be an unwanted delay getting going).

I also cursed myself for my carelessness in acquiring inner tubes (before getting going) without having written down my tire size, as apart from a spare tube that I had already packed in Toronto, all the tubes I had were 700Cx28-32, while my tires are 700Cx25. Knowing the major concern with this sort of mismatch is simply avoiding damage to the tube while reseating the tire, I first made an attempt to use one of the oversized tubes (and conserve the proper-fitting tube) simply by being careful with the reseating (though not without first applying a small duct tape patch to try and help keep the bead attached to the rest of the tire). This effort was unsuccessful, so I tried again with the correctly sized tube, and after inflating it to the minimum recommended pressure (so as to minimize the strain on the duct tape), I set back out, knowing that I’d need to get a new tire in Thunder Bay.

While I encountered a sign suggesting that it was already quite close

I still had a few small towns to pass through before actually getting there. At the first of these (Upsala), I called ahead to the bike shop in Thunder Bay to see if they’d be open on Sunday (my planned rest day) and found that they would be.

There was a bit more by way of intermittent thundershowers (adding the stresses of slippery roads and concern for my weather-forecasting ankle to the stress of riding on a dodgy tire with the only intact inner tube that fit it properly) but I was able to make it to a campground about 20km past town where I stopped for the night, and increased the quantity of duct tape applied to the tire (and verified that the renewed bumpiness was not a cause for much heightened concern). This time, I took a few pictures of the tire before applying more duct tape:

(having also placed duct tape markers around the bulge so that it would be easier to find the weak spot when the tire was deflated, and there was no longer an obvious bulge). Also a shot of the patched tire (though in retrospect, I could also have put some of the inner tube cement from my patch kit under the supported bead for a little extra strength–especially since the tire now had all night for it to cure)

Before packing in for the night, I also took a picture of the river that the campsite was on the bank of

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