Less than an hour ago, I was profoundly inspired by my own shadow. There is something very natural and liberating about biking east as the sun is setting, not having an exact destination nor a time of arrival; but simply traveling with daylight, going as far the sun will take you.
After a day heading mostly south into a ferocious headwind, I had turned eastward and was on a quiet road when I saw my long shadow stretching out in front of me. It instantly reminded me not only that the day was drawing to a close but also of the infinite array of possibilities that were before me. That by not having an endpoint, I was free to go wherever I wanted and needed.
….and now, as the sun sets, I have to give a huge shout out to Bob, a friendly old gentlemen from Luther, Michigan (population 339) who hipped me to a solid lakeside camp spot he had staked out back in 1969, which is now my current location for the night. I doubt Bob has the intrawebs, so if you ever head to Luther and come across him, please give him my gratitude.
I am posting this for John…
Good luck continuing your ride on the trashed rim. It may fall apart before you get home; just keep a close eye on it for advancing cracking. If it does fall apart while you ride, it is your rear wheel and may not cause you to crash like the failure of the front wheel will. This kind of damage is caused by overloading the rim. The spokes may have been tensioned too much; but more likely, your miles of riding with the weight of your packs caused the failure. I assume you got the wheels with the complete bike. Often designers of complete bikes cut corners here and there and often rims are not of the highest quality. Your wheels may also be laced with straight gauge spokes; butted spokes absorb and dissipate the forces better. The wheel the bike came with may be sufficient for general riding and light touring; your tour, with more than 100 pounds of gear over three thousand miles is extreme and calls for the best equipment to withstand the insults to the bike. When you replace the wheel, make sure you get a wheel with at least 36 (40 would be better; 48 bomb proof) butted spokes. Hand built by a wheel builder will also help. Bike All Paths, John Mcc