Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Brass Fork in the Road

Wow, it has been a long time. I'm still alive and well. I just haven't done much bike riding lately. Alright, I will try to get you guys up to date on my misadventure.

Take only pictures, and leave only handprints.

So just before I made it to Lima I noticed that the rim of my front wheel had split. I was at around 15,000 feet in Cerro de Pasco, the highest city in the world. The air was thin and there wasn't a bike shop in sight. The closest big city at this point was Lima. So with the help of a few zip ties I bandaged up the wheel and continued riding. In the back of my head I was thinking, "It's only a few more days to Lima. I'll make it!" Well every few hours the crack on the rim got longer and longer. I just added a few more trusty zip ties and soldiered on. This quick fix worked for a while, but soon the metal split apart so far that the sharp edges of rim rubbed through the tube and flattened my tire.

Just before arriving in the highest city in the world.

Last day in the jungle.

The initial repair.

On this day I was wishing I had shoes. There were many sharp plants I kept stopping on.

El Gringo.

No rim, no tube, no bueno. Since there weren't any bike shops in the mountains and I didn't have a welding machine with me. I decided to hitch a ride. It took nearly three hours with my thumb held high before I got a ride. A group of citrus pickers in a large truck picked me up and took me to Huaral. A neighboring city to Lima. From there I grabbed a bus to Lima confident that I could repair my bike there. Not only was the rim broken and the tube punctured, but the three hour walk attempting to get a ride had slowly destroyed my tire. The brakes I believe were the culprit for the damaged rim. They were terribly worn and created a metal on metal connection with the rim. More often than not I had to use my foot to manually shift gears. I was literally coming into town to the rims. My bike was in shambles.

These where the buddies that picked me up.

They offered to take my on their next citrus run if I wanted.

This was my gift for helping them. 10 pounds of clementines.

Repair #2.

Just before the bike bit the dust.

Once in Lima I went to the Giant Bicycle factory. They had agreed to sponsor all the repairs for me free of charge. That sounded like a pretty good deal. They quoted that to order the parts and repair the bike it would take 7-10 days. No big deal, I could do with a little siesta. Now I just get to enjoy the city for a few days.

Emperor Cusco himself.

My first day in Lima I was out out the town when I met a young Peruvian girl named Claudia working in a cafe. We started talking and got along right away. We met again the next day and started seeing each other. Before I knew it those 10 days in Lima had flown by. I inquired about the bike, but this is Peru, and there are always delays. The repairs weren't finished yet. I wasn't in too much of a hurry to move on so I just let them take their time repairing the bike.


We couldn't resist.

I continued exploring the city. As I walked along the coast of Miraflores (A rich suburb of Lima) I saw many tourists parachuting off the cliffs towards the sea. Claudia's birthday was approaching and I couldn't resist the parachute. I decided we should do that for her birthday. The wind wasn't very strong that day, but eventually it picked up and we could go. We each had our life strapped on to a professional diver. My parachutist ran towards the cliff and we jumped off. We swooped down towards the water the quickly changed directions as we gained altitude. Soon we were sailing above the tallest skyscrapers in Lima. Using only the power of the wind. It was the best kind of birthday present, one I got to enjoy as well.

What was Tormod up to you might ask? Well he had also met a Peruvian girl Tirsa a few days after I met Claudia and those two began seeing eachother. Since my bike was in the shop still and we had some free time Tormod and I came up with a plan. The four of us would take a road trip to Cusco to see Machu Picchu, Peru's most famous landmark and one of the 7 wonders of the world.

The big fancy blue tent is mine. The little green one is Tormod's. Just thought you should know.

Our ride. It was a bit faster than the bikes.

Grabbing some warmer clothes after getting caught in a hailstorm.

 After three days in the car we arrived in Cusco. Machu Picchu was fantastic. It exceeded all my expectations. I didn't expect much more than a over crowded tourist trap. It was far from that. While there were many people there touring around, the park is massive with many hiking trails and opportunities to get away from the crowds if you want. And the views in that place are stunning.

Machu Picchu!!!!! Oh and Claudia.

This park had a lot more to offer than just the ruins.

These guys were fearless.

Getting a bit creative with some Jenga pieces.

I want to go back!

This dude was about to get flattened by the train.

Claudia was a bit nervous at first, but I convinced her that it was safe.

Hiking up this mountain to 16,000 feet with an infection in one of my lungs was a bit difficult. But I made it!

Balance is key.

This was our celebratory chest bump after winning a game of beer pong. They don't have red Solo cups here.

Again time was flying, before I knew it we had spent a week in Cusco already. Claudia and I decided to continue traveling together for a while longer. Tirsa had things to attend to in Lima so she and Tormod flew back. Claudia and I traveled to the bottom of Peru and hopped into Bolivia. We hiked rainbow mountain, sailed Lake Titicaca, cabled above the city in La Paz, and had some fun at the beach. Then we turned around and headed back north on a collection of different buses. 10 hours on a bus, hopefully you're tired.

There was a bit of show and a ton of fog, but Rainbow mountain was still a lot of fun.

I don't even.....

Hike up into the clouds.

"Close your eyes Claudia. Will you give me a kiss?"

Maybe she will transform into a princess instead.

Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side.

These was our dinner that we cooked over the tiny bonfire. It looked better when I envisioned it in my head. 

A luxurious lake house. There was no wifi.

Hot chocolate with our pet llama Washap.

She was afraid to take this picture. Would I ever attempt anything dangerous?

We're now back in Lima. And after more than two months in the shop my bike is still not fixed. After 7 months here and with a dwindling bank account I needed to make a tough decision. I'm still not sure my exact plans, but due to a lack of money, homesickness, and the coming winter in the Southern Hemisphere. I will be postponing the rest of my bicycle trip. Not to mention my bike is still incomplete. I will be returning home for the summer to save up some money, play a bit of volleyball, and catching up with friends and family. Then I'll fly back to South America and complete the last portion of the ride.

Walking across the border into Bolivia. The grocery stores hete have more security than this border.

Copacabana, Bolivia. They had decent tacos.

She's starting to trust my poses a little more.

Feel the breeze.

This was the city of Puno. Neat little town.

Swinging from the lighthouse.

Capital of Bolivia, La Paz. They use cable cars as public transport here.

Bee vs. Finger
Bee wins!

It was a tough decision to make, but I decided rather than hurry through the last few months in Chile and Argentina and freeze up in the Andes. I might as well just wait until the weather is nice and I have the funds to ride at the leisurely pace I enjoy.

Ciudad Blanca. Arequipa.

Why exactly are we awake this early?

I'm chilling in Lima for a bit longer with Claudia before we fly to Brazil, the last stop before home. After that I'll be back in the USA. Maybe with a bit of convincing I'll be able to persuade Claudia to continue the bike ride with me when I return. Who knows?

Setting the camera up in the sand with the timer sounded like a good idea. Until this wave rolled in and soaked my phone.

This place in a massive sea lion/penguin sanctuary.

Ride the waves.


Marcona. A secret beach.

Sunrise, or sunset?

Somethings not quite right. This mermaid has legs.

There were rocky caves all along the coast.

We stuck around for about a half hour taking wave pictures. This was the biggest one.

Thanks for reading my stories everybody. It's halftime now. This concludes the first portion of the South American bike ride. Spanish was learned, friends were made, and tons of unforgettable memories were scribbled into my brain. Can't wait to be back in the USA to see those of you that are American!


A blond moustache and a curly moustache.