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Jan 30

Journey to Loreto

Broken Rim

Broken Rim!

Karl, Felix, Tony, and I didn’t make it a single day from San Ignacio before we had a rim break.

Ironically, it wasn’t Tony’s rim that broke, it was Karl’s.  Just before descending down into Santa Rosalia (the longest fastest hill I have seen thus far) Karl hit one of those little bumps they put along the edges of road, and his uber-expensive, hard coated, extra tough rim that had made 12,000 km decided that it wasn’t going to make 13,000 km… and broke.

Felix had already set off down the hill and was miles gone by the time Karl and I squatted down to survey the damaged.  The rim had fully

The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. The bump that broke Karl's rim.

The beginning of the hill down to Santa Rosalia. Zack is thinking, "I could just ditch Karl and go for it..."

cracked, but luckily the design of the rim meant that there was still tension in the spoke where it broke.  Unluckily, it had bent inwards enough such that Karl’s firmtech hydraulic rim brakes could no longer work and would have to be disengaged.  The bike could still roll, but with a nice big bump with every revolution of the wheel.  So the good news was that Karl could still move his bike and his 45kg of gear, the bad news was that he’d have to go down the hill at about 5 kph without rear-wheel brakes. “I think my front brake pads are going to be used up by the time I get to the bottom of the hill…”, Karl observed.

The other bad news was that the sun was already down and it was very quickly getting dark, so while Karl limped down the hill I rode ahead and started trying to wave down any ute going down the hill.  It didn’t take very long before I found a kind woman who was willing to give Karl a ride down to Santa Rosalia, and so we loaded Karl’s bike into the back of her ute and he was off, leaving Tony and I alone to ride the last 20 km in the dark.

Cycling past Volcan de Tres Virgenes

We stayed a couple of days in Santa Rosalia, a town set up by a french mining operation in the 1800s, before Karl got a bus to Loreto, and Felix and I started riding again.  We took three days to make the journey to Loreto, passing by the small town of Mulege, and the legendarily pristine beaches along the Bahia de la Concepcion.  The beaches were absolutely stunning, sufficiently so such that the scores of American RVs parked on them failed to tarnish their allure.  Tony survived the journey, but when we arrived in Loreto, we wasted no time and set out to find “Manny” the bike mechanic whose fame extends along the entire length of the Baja Peninsula.

It's coffee! It's coffee time! The mision in the background...

Time to relax

Manny is quite possibly one of the nicest guys I have ever met.  He’s been a mechanic in Loreto for 20 years, and being to only properly trained mechanic between Ensenada and La Paz, he is a busy man.  In addition, he is the coach for the small collection of youngster who race bicycles in the central Baja California area.  He would be able to fix our bikes, but because it’s difficult to get parts in this part of the world, my bike would probably take 4 or 5 days, whereas the best solution for Karl would be to get a replacement rim sent from Germany (it was covered by warranty) so Karl and Felix would be in Loreto for much longer.  So we were going to have some time to relax and chill out, which suited me because it’s a nice quiet town, but not too quiet and not too small.

After a couple nights in a hotel, we found a great little campground/RV park about a 15 min stroll from the city centre run by the lovely Yolanda from Guadalajara, La Riviera RV Park.  Hot showers, toilets, a nice shaded common area, and free wifi, all for less than $4/night.  We have good company here too, as we finally caught up to Raul and Marta, which was a nice surprise.

Sunday Market

I bumped into Manny at the Sunday market yesterday, and he told me that my bike would be ready for me tonight, and I could leave tomorrow if I liked, but I think I’m going to stay here two more nights and get back on the road Wednesday.  It’s nice and comfortable here.

1 ping

  1. The Final Push » Zack Skerritt

    [...] the rim a good scrub.  This was the rim that had been on my front wheel before, the same rim that Manny, that legend of a mechanic in Baja California, Mexico, had acquired for me second hand from a friend in Ensenada and charged me $3.50 for almost a year [...]

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