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Published: July 26th 2015
Day 58 More desert, first puncture (kinda), and celebrating Peru’s Independence Day in our own way
Distance driven today: 265 miles / 426 km
Cumulative distance driven: 10,608 miles / 17,071 km
Today’s trip: Huanchaco to Huacho, Peru
Repaired rear tire puncture: in less than 10 min
As soon as we left Huancaco just outside Trujillo, we entered the desert again. Once again we rode with strong side winds wanting to push the bike over, and with a fair amount of sand blowing intro our helmets, and onto our clothes. When we reached the city of Chimbote a few hours, we decided that it was time for us to buy a Peruvian flag and mount it on our bike. Below is the context for that decision. July 28 is the day when Peru commemorates that it gained its independence from colonial powers, as well as from the Chilean forces with which they were in conflict with in the 1800’s. During the entire month of July, homes, office buildings, public and private institutions, schools, and restaurants display the national flag to honor the Independence Day. Flagging the Peruvian flag is indeed obligatory and as a consequence
there is hardly a place we have driven buy that does not display the flag.
At a local market in Chimbote, we therefore bought a medium sized Peruvian flag and tied it to the duffel bag on the rear rack of the bike. By putting the flag so visibly on our bike, we show that we care about Peru’s important patriotic day. The locals seem to really appreciate our gesture if we are to judge by the number of honks sounding every time we pass through a city, and the thumbs up people on the street gives us. To be completely honest, mounting the flag on the bike, wasn’t entirely our won idea (though I wish it was). Rather, we copied it from a group of adventure bikers we saw riding the PanAmerican highway in the opposite direction, and whom we briefly saw in the opposite lane during our morning desert ride. They all carried large Peru flags on the back of their bikes, and that is how Zoe and I concluded that there must be some sort of national celebration going on.
As we were leaving Chimbote we pulled into a gas station to fuel up before
the next leg in the desert. Call it intuition, but I decided to do a routine inspection of the bike, as I do every now and then just to check that everything seems to be ok. That’s when I discovered a screw lodged into the rear tire. No air seemed to have leaked from the tire, and for a moment Zoe and I debated whether we should just leave the screw in place and continue driving. The rational was that, as long as the screw was in the tire, it would act as a plug. If we however pulled it out, the tire would get inflated and we would have to fix it. After some deliberations, I decided to do the right thing and pull out the screw and repair that tire while at the gas station, before we continued. The risk of having to repair the rear tire in the middle of the 120km/75miles long desert stretch, with no amenities at all available, was simply too big to take. Most importantly, by virtue of us already being at a gas station, we had access to pressurized air.
In a well-rehearsed sequence, I pulled out my tire plugging kit,
and in less than 10 min. I had removed the screw, cleaned the hole and plugged it, and inflated the tire. Before heading out of the gas station and into the desert, I wanted to check that we had the exact right tire pressure. This is important for several reasons. First, the bike is heavily loaded and higher tire pressure than normal is needed to take the extra weight. Second, correct tire pressure is required for the bike to run in a stable manner. Too low tire pressure and the bike could start to wobble on the road. Third, insufficient tire pressure can quickly cause exercise wearing of the tire. I decided to pull out my tire pressure gauge to measure the exact tire pressure. The only issue was that I could not remember where I had packet it. I knew that I had put my tire pressure gauge in an easy-to-find place, exactly for an instance like the one we experienced today. The only question was where exactly that easy-to-find place was? It had been almost 2 months ago since I had packed it in our garage in Seattle, before shipping the bike to Anchorage, Alaska. I have to
confess that I had a hard time remembering where I put it!
We ended up having to empty all bags and panniers, and go through all our belongings, before I finally found it, and could confidently measure that we had inflated the rear tire at exactly 40 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). It turns out that, when we drove the bike to the Colon port in Panama for loading it to the container that would take it to Colombia, we had to re-pack all of our belongings. Since we knew that it would take at least a week to ship the bike (it took 2 weeks actually, but we did not know that at the time), we packed the aluminum panniers on the bike with everything that we wouldn’t need during those two weeks. We repacked everything else and only took clothes and other items that we would need in Cartagena Colombia while waiting for the container. The tire pressure gauge, which is the size of a pen, was of course nested at the very bottom of a bag, together with some spare parts which we haven’t had to use so far. No wonder that it took a while
to find the tire pressure gauge.
Tot: 0.091s; Tpl: 0.022s; cc: 9; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0248s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb