20 May 2010

Another rim for Susan!

Oh, we thought we were so lucky back then in the city of Agdz!!!
The Campagnolo rim that we had found there as an emergency exchange for the broken Mavic rim lasted for just about 1200 kilometers. I did already have the notion back then that one side of the Campagnolo was a tad "tired" (or "fatigue" as they say in many African countries)...

So while riding, Susan suddenly complains about some re-occuring noise and there we go: the side of the rim broke and the pressure from the tyre deforms it to the outside so it touches the brake pad with every rotation. We are smack in the middle of the desert between two cities. Back to Boujdour it is about 60 kilometers against the wind (riding against the wind is unthinkable - we just heard of a couple of around-the-world-cyclists who gave up coming from the south) and forward to Dakhla it's about another 250 kilometers. Our water situation is still ok but we will soon run low. Obviously - there isn't much to chose from. Vehicles are rare here but in an emergency case we should be able to get help - at times you have to wait for an hour for the next truck or pickup to pass. So we decide to unhook Susan's rear brake and keep going until the rim snaps. Who knows, in the end we might make it all the way to Dakhla...
After 70 more kilometers the cut in the rim has extended further but now it's time to sleep anyway. So we call it a day. We set up the tent on the road side and cook up a pot of fresh green bean soup.
The next morning we manage another 70 kilometers and by total coincidence reach the first house that day when the rim gives in. No more. Its 118 kilometers until Dakhla where we might be able to find a replacement. If not, then we have to travel all the way to Casablanca - a two day bus ride one way!

Near the house, we meet a couple of young guys who work on a construction site behind the house. They promise to take care of our bikes while we hitch a ride to Dakhla to try our luck on the local 26 inch 36 hole rim market. A truck driver stops with his 31500 litre sulfuric acid in tow and takes us along.
Smiling, Susan and I cruise along at three times our normal travelling speed while the kilometer markers fly by . The landscape to the left is endless desert that streches until Somalia. To the right, about 20 meters from the road, the land falls abruptly over sandy cliffs 50 meters down onto a wide sandy beach. The ocean itself is dark ultramarine blue with beautiful waves that break perfectly for surfing. We have heard that somewhere around here there are a couple of secret surfing spots, unknown to most riders - or - simply too far off the beaten track.
50 kilometers before reaching Dakhla we suddenly hear a loud "BOOOOM" coming from the trailer and now it's not only us but also the truck driver himself has been blessed with a broken wheel.
Alright then, time for truck repair lessons.

After about half an hour and a litre of combined sweat we are on the road again... and make it to Dakhla just in time to find a place to sleep.
The next morning I visit Hassan's local motorbike and cycle shop. In his back room he finds a used rim that he is willing to sell - some older model called MACH1 210. It has 36 holes and no cracks. Great! I start working on the spokes. Hassan and his crew of mechanics are a nice bunch of guys. After lots of laughing, sweet Moroccan tea, some fresh pastry and 4 hours of time the new wheel is ready to roll from here to Senegal. Insh' allah!

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