Thursday, 1 September 2011
THE TALE OF A TYRE
I would have preferred the tyre to tell this story. However, the tyre in question has now perished, and I'm the only other who knows the full epic. (If you have no interest in bicycle tyre performance, then you may choose to skip this post). Anyway, the story started in Australia where I was having a few tyre problems towards the end of the Outback crossing. Finally I found a set of decent Continentals in Adelaide, which Leana kindly bought for me. A thousand km's later in Melbourne I was somewhat disappointed to note that the rear Conti was already showing some wear, and I swapped the two around. After another two thousand k's in Puerto Montt, Chile, the orange puncture-proof layer was starting to show, and I dumped both tyres in the garage of the rickety hospedaje where I was staying. There I bought some sturdy Vietnamese tyres as well as a set of knobbly's - all in preparation of the bad road I was expecting to the South in Patagonia. After arriving back in that rickety hospedaje a month later, the knobbly's were finished and the fat Vietnamese were on their last legs. I reluctantly retrieved the better of the two Continentals from the garage where they were collecting dust, just in case I needed it as a spare on the way to Santiago. In Santiago I found 2 good-looking Kenda's, so I fitted one on the back wheel and kept the other as a spare (I also fitted the Continental to the front wheel, so it got a new life after 3 thousand km's). I was somewhat optimistically hoping to get across the Andes and Argentina to Buenos Ayres where I thought I should find some decent tyres. I was amazed that the Conti just kept going up the coast to Brazil, and by the time I reached Rio De Janeiro both the Kenda's had blown out the side-wall, and I had some Brazilian tyre on the back which kept getting punctured by truck-tyre debris. In the interior of Brazil I bought 3 fat Wanda King tyres (never heard of them before, and would rather not hear of them again). I'd become rather attached to the Continental on the front wheel, so I fitted one of the "Kings" to the back and kept the other 2 as spares (they each lasted just over 1000 km on the back wheel). In Lima the Continental went on the back, as I'd found some slim OK-ish tyre for the front. Everything seemed to be going well, but after Huaraz I hit the bad road via the spectacular Santa Rosa river canyon back to the coast. This was too much for the old Conti road tyre, and she waited patiently until I'd found a nice camp site before blowing through a cut in her side. At least that was a suitable spot as a last resting place for a tyre which had initially been treated shabbily, but had then performed it's duty. Also on that canyon road I met Jurgen from Germany cycling in the opposite direction (he'd apparently had his own share of tyre troubles). We swapped camera's and had some fun taking pic's of each other - in the process I failed to get a photo of him. On the second day of the Canyon road I met Australians Jules and Megan, who seemed to be going along just fine (both them and Jurgen had been cycling South since Alaska). I thought I'd also mention the two Belgians on their reclining bikes (Julian and Lori), who I'd met after they had already completed the bad section (with about 40 narrow dusty tunnels). Now I'm staying at the Casa De Cyclistas in Trujillo, and I still need to take a look to see if the owner (Lucho) perhaps has a decent tyre for me to carry on with. I'm still missing that old Conti, who in the end lasted for nearly 15 000 km, all with only one single puncture!