November 02, 2004 GMT
Broken Bike Bits 2

I watched as Willy tightened all my spokes.

'Do you know what you are doing?'

'Oh yes', he said.

The next day I went for a ride into the mountains with Nico.

Even before we got out of the town I realised I had a big problem.

As I rode slowly down the road I stood up and looked at my front wheel over the fairing. It was wobbling like mad from side to side.

Willy had completely fucked it up. Brilliant.

I explained the situation to Nico and we abandoned our ride. He took me straight to his own mechanic who removed the wheels and took them to a professional wheel builder.

That was six months ago in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Fabricio had just had my lovely new tyres fitted and I was admiring them from a distance. They were my favourite tyres that gave really good grip and lasted the longest time. The rear wheel rim was covered in the usual mixture of dirt and oil from the automatic chain oiler. I knelt down besides my bike and took a closer look.

Whilst admiring my lovely new rear tyre I noticed a large dent in the rim.

The wheel was still very dirty but something else caught my eye. There was a thin line besides one of the adjacent spokes. A closer inspection revealed an 8cm crack that went through two spokes.


After cleaning the rim I found another eight cracks. Every forward pointing spoke on the right side had the same problem.



The relacing in Cuenca had been done far too tightly. The KTM spokes are much thicker and stronger than most bikes. This means that the wheel builder tends to make them much tighter than they should be.

Luckily Fabricio found a smuggled black Excel rim the right size. When we went to pick the wheel up he hit a few spokes with a spanner.

They all rang. They were all too tight.

It had happened again.

Visit www.fowb.co.uk for more details on this and previous trips.

Posted by Jeremy Bullard at 08:20 PM GMT
November 12, 2004 GMT
A 1,000km Day

So what's the big deal?

All I did was sit on my bike for nine hours.


I left Sao Paulo just before nine am and rolled into Campo Grande at seven thirty pm. One thousand and one kilometres later at an average speed of one hundred and eleven km/h.

This beat my previous record by 180km.

I suppose it must be a boy thing.

Brazil is huge. I wanted to get to the Pantanal and there is no other route. The road heads east and just keeps on going. If I forgot to stop I'd end up in Bolivia again.

I didn't set out to ride all the way, only as far as I felt comfortable and I'd stop if I got tired. I just never got tired.

I love Brazil .

The scenery is so green, gentle rolling hills, really good roads and millions of trees.

The sunset was ablaze of orange and pinks on both sides of the road as I headed into the night. I thought of but abandoned any attempt at a photo. It just wouldn't convey the breadth of the views and intensity of the colours.

Now I have cracked the 1,000km barrier I'm glad I don't have to do it again. I can't see the point of doing a Nick Sanders (who has the world record for circumnavigating the world on a bike in thirty one days.

What a complete waste of time and petrol.

What has he seen?

It's like lots of the entries in The Guinness Book of Records: Apparently the current record for eating live goldfish is over three hundred.

Congratulations.

What a truly useful social skill. It must be useful at drinks parties.

What do you do?'

I eat live goldfish'

Oh, how, er, interesting'.

At least there's a nice view at the top of Everest.

Well, now I've got my own bit of uselessness.

But hey, it's a long way to Ushuaia.

Maybe I'll do 1,002 km next.


Visit www.fowb.co.uk for more details on this and previous trips.

Posted by Jeremy Bullard at 07:32 PM GMT
 


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