The single-piece sealed bearings for the headset came out in pieces.
The first order of the day was finding the bicycle shop. The directions from Tourist Information proved inadequate, and I stopped a mail carrier to ask for clarification. She told me the shop had moved farther out of town but unsurprisingly her directions were spot on. And they were closed.
They opened 10 minutes later. Upon inspection, the mechanic expressed concern that if he pulled the headset apart and didn’t have exactly the right parts, the bicycle would be unrideable, with no other bicycle shops between here and Belfast. Given that I couldn’t ride 100 km the way it was, and upon further examination him deciding he was 99.9% likely to have the right parts, with me steadying the forks he pulled the front of the bicycle apart. The upper and lower sealed bearings cassettes fell out in pieces.
Little. Tiny. Pieces.
I’m really glad I hadn’t pulled it apart by the side of the road. He had it reassembled with brand new parts in short order. Wow, that’s different. Turning is now far smoother than I remember it. I suspect the problem started when I rattled myself down a steep dirt track in the Austrian mountains; it’s been quirky since then. I also had them fix the left toe clip; I’d fixed it yesterday with one of my zip ties.
That sorted out, I headed to the nearby Castlewellan Nature Park for exploration. I spent … a while … in the 3.6 km hedge maze there. The Peace Maze was the largest in the world until 2007 – Steph helped plant it as part of a school project.
Afterwards I headed across to the Tullymore Nature Park. Both had camping; I need to remember that possibility for Northern Ireland Nature Parks.
Another day of partially grey skies but lovely weather. However, there becomes a problem of averages. The weather tomorrow (Sunday) should turn to rain late in the day, and then Monday looks dire. I plan a short 50 km ride tomorrow including three castles. There’s a campground at the end of it. The on-line reservation system indicates they’re full (but with some sites set aside for people who just show up), so I’ve tracked down another campground 10 km farther down the road. That should give me somewhere to be settled one way or the other before the rain hits. Worst case at that point I’m only 40 km or so outside of Belfast.