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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Day 3: Oxford on Statford-upon-Avon

On paper this was the longest and hilliest day and it was clear we weren't going to be able to do it in one day. Unfortunately it was also the day with the least train options -- just one town about at the halfway point. So we decided to take the train to Banbury and ride from there.

That went well, but just after leaving the train station I again heard a hiss coming from the rear -- another flat. Something was clearly wrong. Mr Google provide the name of a nearby bike shop that was open and we walked the bikes over there.

Turns out I had a small cut on the tire. The guy (Luke) said it look like it got cut when somebody tried to put the tire on the rim (which was a local bike shop, BTW).

The only tire he had that would fit was a Kenda Kwest 20x1.25, which is pretty narrow (I use 20x1.5). I suggested he move the front tire to the rear and put the narrow on on the front. I also had a broken spoke on the rear wheel, which he fixed (with my spare spoke). And all this time he was dealing with other customers but after just over an hour we were ready to go. Oh, and he had no tubes that small so we used my last spare tube for the front.

The next problem was to find the bike trail, which didn't actually come into to town. After a few false starts we finally found it.

Then we came to the worse trails so far -- in many ways worse than the ones we saw in Eastern Germany 2 years ago. Narrow dirt tracks thru the woods, full of ruts and roots and really had to be walked if not on the level (up or down). One case it was an 8 inch wide dirt track thru a field -- mostly level but you could barely go 3 miles/hour. And another case you could see it had been paved in brick at one time -- still plenty of broke bricks to dodge.

The last 8 miles or so was the "Stratford Greenway" -- which was an abandoned rail line that while it wasn't paved was at least crushed limestone in good condition.

Finally at about 8pm we pulled up to the B&B -- and of course had to wait for the owner to come as he had closed up for the night (he did know we where coming).

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