Defuel, Refuel, Taxi cabs

posted in: Bicycle Touring | 11

*Did not have wifi in the airport so I’m posting this late… probably will be a common theme with my updates*

Well I can’t deny that the start of the trip has had plenty of hiccups, but that said things could be much worse!  My flight plans were to depart Minneapolis at 8:00 AM with a two hour layover in Chicago and then arrive in Norfolk at 2:30 PM local time.  Plenty of time to put the bike together and get a 20 mile ride in to Virginia beach to look for some camping spots.

Here’s how my day actually went…

5:15 AM – Wake up, shower for the last time ever (kidding), and head to the airport

6:00 AM – Check in bags and say goodbye to the parents.  No problems checking the bike.


8:00 AM – Board the plane and we are notified that our flight will be delayed about 30 minutes due to bad weather in Chicago.  No big deal.  This is why I picked a longer layover.

8:45 AM – We are about to push off when the captain announces that they overfilled the fuel tank for this flight.  They need to bring a truck out to defuel the plane to reduce weight.  This is a first for me I think.

9:00 AM – The plane is a 1000 lbs lighter and we are able to take-off

10:30 AM – My layover has been reduced to slightly less than an hour (I like longer layovers when I have my bike or skis), but thankfully the boarding gate was right next to the gate our plane from Minneapolis pulled into.

11:30 AM – We have boarded the plane and are waiting in the longer than normal taxi line for takeoff due to weather delays earlier in the day.  Nearing takeoff we are told there is a weather system moving in and that we cannot takeoff until it passes.  15 minutes later we were hit by a good downpour… small sized hail included


12:30 PM – We are cleared for takeoff but now have to return to a gate to have the plane inspected for damage from the hail.

1:30 PM – Inspection is all clear.  Now we don’t have enough fuel.  Time to refuel.

2:30 PM – Finally we take off from Chicago.

5:30 PM – I get my bike!  Everything showed up!  Time to start putting this bad boy together.  Putting your bike together in the baggage claim area is fun!

IMG_5375 IMG_5376

6:30 PM – Bike goes together smoothly with no issues except… my tires are flat and apparently my pump needs an adapter to work on presta valves (I must’ve had an adapter on my road bike at home).  My tires we flat because I had to let air out of my tires to so that I could actually squeeze my bike into a box.

7:00 PM – After exploring some options, it looks like I’ll need to hitch a ride to the nearest store.  I come across a good guy who works at the airport, Andrew, to look after my bike while I catch a cab into town.

IMG_5377Not how I planned my Norfolk departure to begin.

7:30 PM – I’m back with the adapter and also grabbed fuel for my stove!  Unfortunately, it turns out it wasn’t a valve adapter that was missing.  It was an adapter for my pump!  Remarkably, by using the valve adapters I bought and jamming the pump hose fitting and o-ring together I was able to inflate my tires.  I will be purchasing a new pump at my next opportunity!

8:00 PM – It’s dark. I chat with Andrew for a bit and ask if it’s ok if I crash in the airport for the night.  He tips me to go upstairs where it’s quieter.


Thanks for watching my bike Andrew!  You the man.

9:00 PM – So here I am!  Dry, warm, full off my 2nd granola bar for the afternoon, and lounging in the airport writing up the days events.  I actually haven’t even been frustrated today.  I’ve got time on my side and things could have been far worse.  I could have been 35 miles from anywhere when I realized my pump was missing an adapter, my bike could have not shown up or been damaged from flying.



It’s been a good experience.  I would have been suspicious if everything had gone flawlessly.  Now I’ll have a strong start tomorrow.

In summary:
Miles ridden to date – 0
Flat tires – 2 (but I’m not counting these)
Acts of kindness – 1
Angry Dogs – 0

I may put a counter with interesting stats like the above.  Maybe it’s fine at the end of the blog post?  Anyways let me know if you have some that would be interesting and easy enough to track for a few months.

Share and Enjoy !

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11 Responses

  1. brad martin

    Murphy always says, if something can go wrong, it will… great story to tell your grandkids about someday!

    • Bradley

      Haha Murphy’s law has shown up a few times, but it keeps thing interesting!

  2. Gramma & Grampa K

    Thought about you all day….

  3. Hopefully you will find many more acts of kindness!

    You could count the # of bugs splattered on your sunglasses… or the # of dead deer you have to dodge.

    • Bradley

      Haha none so far… Maybe I’ll generalize it to road kill. Or maybe I’ll lose count in the midwest!

  4. That’s really cool that they let you sleep in the airport like that. Norfolk Int’l Airport is small, but in my opinion has always had a comfortable, clean feel to it. Though it’s been about five years since I last flew into/out of there.

    • Bradley

      Yea they seemed really cool. I was happy with my little corner sleeping spot for the night. Stayed dry!

  5. jean Ryan

    A memorable start! And a good one to find such an helpful friend on the first day surely is a good omen. Take care. Have fun.

  6. Natalie Byrne

    Go, Brad, Go! You are experiencing the best of the world. Very inspiring. Pedal to the medal—or wind.. 🙂 Looking forward to the next update.

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