Stayed last night at F.o.d.F. home in Maastricht. Homeowner is, I think, very interesting person but language is a bit of a barrier. Her cat ('Cheese') rules the roost... large, imperious, friendly. Three other groups of travelers here, so breakfast was very sociable! And ran into another guest last night at local Chinese restaurant, had dinner together, and a very enjoyable and wide-ranging conversation.
Rode out this morning towards the south, with thought of possibly visiting Margraten. Did not pan out as expected, but that is part of the fun.
A few miles out, bike went from a nice smooth ride to making "lumpity lumpity" noises. Little bumps, felt almost like there was chewing gum stuck to the back wheel. Took a quick look, no chewing gum, rode on. Problem did not go away, so I flipped bike over to take a closer look.
Rear tire has a nasty bulge, reminscent of a goiter. Tire is in the process of a major failure! Let out some pressure, limped back to town, and spent a nice day on foot.
Psychologically interesting. When I flipped the bike -- my constant companion and reliable ride for the past few weeks -- over and spotted the bulging tire, it felt something like I imagine looking at one's own foot and realizing the big toe is gangrenous might. Well, probably not as bad as that... but not a good feeling all the same! The problem is serious, and cannot be ignored -- but you would really, really like to pretend it was not happening.
Spent a few hours visiting bike shops here today (there are worse ways to spend a nice Saturday!). Unfortunately, the reality of riding an "exotic" is... kiss the idea of spare parts goodbye. Soonest I could get a replacement tire would be 3 days from now, maybe.
Good news is that I know of one replacement tire... back at C/G/J's in Amsterdam. And I needed to head back that direction soon anyway, to start preparing for flight home on Thursday. This blow-out will just point me back there a day or so sooner.