South America Blog Posts

Week 17 – Doing repairs & riding San Borja to Santa Rosa

After I arrived in San Borja with the French couple, we had planned to separate as they headed to Trinidad and I continued north. After spending so many nights in the tents, we decided to take some rest days before leaving town. In my case, this wasn’t just to rest, but also to take care of some repairs that I needed to address. Riding on the rough road surfaces over the last few weeks had taken it’s toll on the bike. I am guessing the vibrations just worked things loose. So it was mostly just a case of tightening some bolts. But there was one problem that I really didn’t know how to take care of.

A Damaged Tyre

One day on the route to San Borja I noticed a huge lump in the wall of my front tyre. I never experienced anything like that before, so I posted some pictures in Facebook groups to ask for advice. After reading through a lot of comments I spoke to my friend Charlie, who I met while travelling through Africa. He has a lot more knowledge about bicycles than I do and actually owns a chain of bike shops. So I went with his suggestion. I wrapped a bank note around the innertube of the tyre where it aligned with the defect. This worked for a few days, but then it came back. When I took the wheel off again I saw that the bank note had split into several pieces. So I went for a slightly stronger solution. First I lined the inside of the tyre with duct tape. Then I cut a small piece of plastic water bottle to around the size of the bank note. Charlie had warned me that the plastic would puncture the tube. So I followed some more advice from Facebook. I covered the piece of bottle with more duct tape. That seems to have done the trick and its still holding up to now. I also contacted the manufacturer and they said they would replace the tyre. But I won’t be holding my breath.

The Back Road to Santa Rosa

I decided to take the route that I am on, after meeting Yuri in Uyuni. He said that one of the highlights was the road from San Borja to Santa Rosa. This is a back road which doesn’t show up on Google Maps. The road surface isn’t so great, but the road takes you through the countryside. Passing cattle ranches, forest and marshland. The route took a couple of days and I spent the night camping in a small village called Santa Elena. It’s such a beautiful village. There were horses, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats just wandering around free. It was also a great camp spot as there was an outside toilet and a tap with running water. I took a ‘shower’ using the tap before getting some food and heading to bed.

Lots of Wildlife

The second way was amazing. I started to see more wildlife along the roadside. Animals that I had never seen in the wild before. The first was an armadillo. But it ran too fast for me to take any pictures. Then there were Capybaras. Lots of them. Some in the road and they would make a loud noise when they were running away. Something like a dog’s bark, but a lazy old dog with dementia or something. Then I saw a large bird that looked like an emu or ostrich. But maybe the coolest thing was when I got closer to my final destination for this week. I was crossing a bridge when I heard a noise. Something moving in the water. I looked down to see that the river was full of Kaimen. It was a great way to end the route as I got into town. The only issue now is the road north. Yuri told me it was a bad road. Not necessarily the road surface, but just a long boring road, 350km. But that is for next week.

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