Days 2-3-Philly to Baltimore (101 miles)

I was just cruising into Baltimore when out of nowhere the bike starting losing power and decelerating quickly. Something was wrong but since I was three lanes away from the hard shoulder, all I could do was indicate and then drift across the lanes as fast and as safely as possible. I was going at highway speed, as was the traffic behind but I managed to pull over avoiding them(just about!). A quick check of the tank confirmed gas gone again, this time I had the trip meter running which clocked at 200 km so at least I knew the range danger zone! This meant I was getting closer to 25 mpg than to the quoted 45 mpg in the bike manual! No bueno! Reserve tank to the rescue for the second time in two days. Since I was hitting about 530 miles on the bike it was coming up to it's first service mark. I made a note to mention the fuel efficiency issue to the garage when I dropped it in.

Made it through Baltimore without re-living any scenes from 'The Wire'. I was disappointed I didn't stumble upon the 12 O'Clock Boyz, the city's illegal dirt-bike gang who can be often seen tearing around streets popping wheelies so vertical they dutifully earn their name. Check out this article for more: http://www.vice.com/read/the-wheelying-dirt-bike-gangs-of-baltimore-twelve-o-clock-boyz-lofty-nathan. 

I found a spot called Pete's Cycles with good reviews who would take my bike in for the service on Saturday. A new bike's first service after 500/600 miles of breaking in is pretty important. For one, the oil filter and oil needs to be changed because it gets contaminated with metal filings from the engines first use. I dropped it in and they said the full service would take 3 hours. There was a cinema nearby so I thought it'd be a good way to kill time. Settled for 'Selma'(only cost me $3.50 as oppose to the $14 Manhattan prices I was used to!). There was a time in the movie where one of Martin Luther King's posse starts preaching some words of wisdom to Martin. I wouldn't have normally thought anything of it, or known what it was until I heard a cacophony of synchronised mumbles only to realize half the cinema were repeating what he was saying on screen...a passage from the bible. My first real taste of rural America I thought.

The garage weren't able to find anything obvious wrong with the bike that might have been causing the fuel consumption problem but I was hoping she would run a bit more efficiently after the service. I asked them to tighten the rear suspension as the default setting did not take into account a full load. They were also able to wire up a 12v cigarette charger adaptor so I could power up my phone charger and charge my other bits and pieces if needs be. Total cost was about $312 which was standard enough from what I'd researched. I'd be good to go without another maintenance until the 3000/4000 mile mark.

All in all I spent a bit longer than I'd planned in Baltimore(2 nights) but I did appreciate the home cooking and great company of my relatives who put me up(Thanks Deirdre, Paul and Lewis!).

 My Baltimore hosts and family

My Baltimore hosts and family