Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Cycling in support of Limbs For Life
Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No 2 are ever the same

There is just something about a nice quiet little passage vanishing into the distance that will never get old.

If I was into snow flakes instead of traveling? I guess I would spend a lot of time groping around at higher elevations during certain times of the year with a magnifying glass. But instead I think I'll go ride my bike

I'd rather leave more unsaid than roads unridden

Extracting a thorn from my side

A few thousand Kms ago my rear hub started acting like it wanted to go somewhere other than with me. When I put pressure on the pedals there was a rather disgusting auditory crack. It went hand in hand with regular slipping, sometimes just a bit of one rotation but at times it was like freewheeling in both directions. This clutch slipping, spin class action didn't happen all the time but definitely almost threw me over the bars on more than a few occasions.
I knew the cassette/hub body was shot. That was obvious but the hard part was getting a replacement. Its a proprietary part for Halo hubs. There is no walking into a bike shop to buy a new one, at least not in Mexico. I contacted Halo directly and they were fantastically helpful. It was no problem to explain my situation and have them jump onboard with sending me replacement parts ASAP. These were coming from England so I had them shipped to a bike shop way ahead in Oaxaca.
In the mean time I flushed out the hub body with WD-40 and then soaked some chain oil into its bearings. This helped a lot. The popping and crackling stayed but most the skipping stopped. I thought it was case closed and just needed to get the 1000 or so Kms down to Oaxaca. As annoying as it was, she held together and we made it down.
I hit the bike shop with my fingers crossed... No dice. Nothing ever showed. Not while we were in the city that week or ever. Halo sent it but it never made it. So very typical for the Mexico mail system, we have since learned. Halo had no tracking # and the post office and bike shop did nothing but shrug their shoulders at me. What was I to do but ride on?
We had met Wolf and Javier and really wanted to cycle south with them. My plan was to return to Oaxaca on the bus when I got an e-mail from the bike shop. I'm still waiting on that e-mail.
As the Kilometers went by it got worse and worse. Just about every time I engaged the drive train there would be a crunch and a loss of half a pedal stroke or so. I expected every day to be left stranded A.K.A having to hitch hike.
We were now so far away from Oaxaca that it was more in bus fare than the price of the new part. So I contacted Jeff in Durango and he ordered me one from BTI. This was relayed to Kelly's mother who flew down to visit on her vacation and she hand delivered it to me. It was nice to hold in my hand the one piece that would give back my faith in Samu as a reliable rig and the confidence and smoothness in my cadence. As a bike mechanic this was a long run of cruel torture- A problem with my own bike I could not fix.
Here in Cancun, the Benotto dealer turned over their shop to me. This is what I found:
Shattered chunks of steel

the remnants of my cassette/ hub body

The rat bastard on left. 3/4" wrench not actually used for anything.

new bearings ass well!

I just wanna say THANX to Halo in their valid attempt at help me out and to Jeff at Papa Wheelies for being a Pal and gophering for me. And to Kelly's Mum in hand delivering some much needed supplies to us!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh Mexico, you erratic and wonderfully savage rudder

We've now ridden the whole whip. Scribbled the length of the southern fin. Rolled our tread across the gilded face of our latin neighbor's outback. Yes... We've ran the gauntlet on the bottleneck and have found ourselves gaping at a turquoise ocean! It seems a lifetime now that we have crammed into this last 6 months in Mexico. The faces of so many friendly people and the labyrinth of dirt and paved byways. The memories are as vivid in my brain as the smell of this coffee next to me. If only I could expel onto this keyboard some of the beauty, adventure, friends and experiences we have met here. In a country under so much speculation and a place we were warned so strongly against. I really have nothing negative to mutter, no piss to moan, no bitch to pitch on the band wagon of nay say-ers. Yes there is corruption, pollution, crime and poverty, but what country doesn't have that?
As for Mexico, all in all... As we pedaled through her, stumbling in our learning and understanding of the language, cultures and landscape. Never once were we shunned from the bosom or rarely shown anything but kindness and hospitality. We got stared and laughed at a lot but thats cuz we look goofy and talk funny.
I wrote this mainly for a few reasons: 1)We both really enjoyed Mexico 2) We are at the bottom of it. 3) To put in my 3 pesos for all the cyclist wondering if they should or if it means instant death CYCLING BIKING BICYCLING MEXICO
I think you know how we feel? hint: sandy, greasy, dirty, firm in the tush, tan, happy