The breakdown which almost never happened


It happens to everyone on a bike tour; flats, broken spokes, snapped cables- but since my bike is a bit different, I was worried about what might happen if one of my welds broke.  Well, it finally did after a solid 3 months of abuse! In the small town of Santa Barbara, far away from the Santa Barbara of home; I was coasting downhill when I felt a bouncing vibration from the steering when applying heavy breaking.  I pulled over to a small bus-stand type shelter and stared to examine things, and my heart sank when I realized what happened; the fork extension had cracked and separated at the bottom, where much of the stress is regularly applied.


A motorcyclist cruised by and stopped at the small grocery shop next the stand, and saw my collection of bike parts and luggage scattered on the ground.  He popped over and started asking me questions; and I explained with a sigh that I was stuck and needed to find a welder… on sunday morning… at ten…

“Claro amigo, vamos!”

I hopped on the back of his bike as we raced back up to the town I’d just left.  A thunderstorm was rolling in, and soon I was drenched as we rolled into a workshop, fork in one hand, extension in the other.  Aurelio the welder took a look and recommended bronz-ing it back together.  The original weld was done by good friend Adrian, who’d helped me build the bike from scratch, and was traditional MIG wire.  I don’t know a great deal about welding, so I put my faith in hands that looked like they had been doing this for 30 years.


30 minutes and 6$ later I was reassembling my bike, and waiting for the thunderstorm to fade.  What I expected as a total disaster was made easy thanks to the friendly, helpful Colombians that have always been there since the beginning of my tour.  Viva Colombia!


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