Preventative Maintenance

/ Friday, 16 December 2011 / AfricaNamibia

Just a few hours away from leaving the capital city of Windhoek in Namibia after a few solid days of rest – Short of a few hills today it’s all downhill from here for  very long time, the kilometres will start to add up quite quickly paired with tar roads. I met some cyclists who surprisingly knew who I was by name and website who were out training for the Desert Dash – an annual race that has 450 riders travel from Windhoek to Swakopmund over 380km of dirt roads in 24 hours or less. I had a crazy idea that I wanted to do this ride with them, but unfortunately registration is long since closed.

Windhoek is the last stop for a while for bicycle parts and to stock  up on goods that you normally don’t see in the small towns of <1000 along the way. I decided to cave in and deal with some issues involving flats, and bumps to increase my enjoyment of the trip.

Dealing with Flats:

20111214_174101After having more flats in one month than I have in all of my other world riding combined I decided enough was enough and opted to put Slime into my bicycle tires. It is a liquid that claims to solve any flats 1/8″ in diameter instantly and lasts up to two years. The upside is that I don’t need to repair flats which always cause frustrating moments on the roads, yet the downside is added weight to the wheels which is the most noticeable weight to have while riding. Also, I have been made aware that if you do experience a puncture with Slime in your tires you have to toss out the tube and start fresh. We’ll see if this solves my flat issues.

 

20111214_173806

Dealing with Bumps:

My ass is starting to hurt something fierce – Dirt roads, extreme heat and long days in the saddle is starting to bring some pretty painful bumps onto my backside. I’ve decided that I’m going to do down the sticky route and start applying a medicated location to keep things slippery and sliding in the junk department – I’ve only broken skin once about 3 weeks ago, and don’t want to go through another 4 days of torture while it heals. Time will tell as well to see if this solves some of the bump issues. Unfortunately, no photo of the application.

 20111216_074352

 I’ve also invested in some lubrication to make sure my bicycle pump is able to function properly – a good silicone spray helps keep the rubber soft and sliding. My Topeak Road Morph G died a painful death over a year ago after repeated use where the chamber became scalding to the touch eventually destroying the rubber air flange.

It’s off directly east to Botswana now, estimated time of arrival is 4-5 days depending on the stops, where the water is scarce, animals are plentiful, and even less people inhabit the area. Which also means that I’m going to drop off the internet for a while as I’m expecting minimal access until one of the bigger cities – 800km away.

Windhoek has been good – however it has also made me realize my dislike for cities – Traffic, too  many people, threats of theft are common and force you to be very vigilant at every moment. Luckily I have had the opportunity to stay with a wonderful couple, Laure and Thomas – who come from different territories of France (mainland, and a small island north of Madagascar). Windhoek reminds me a bit of St. John’s Newfoundland with the crazy amount of hills that are everywhere – You can’t go 200 metres without climbing a steep grade, thankfully there is no snow here like there was last year at this time.


3 comments

  1. December 16th, 2011

    Be safe out there and pack plenty of H2O! Looking forward to your next update in a few days.

    ron & petra


  2. Laure
    December 17th, 2011

    Hi there in Gobabis or wherever you are now. It was great to meet you. Makes me think a lot about what/where next and why not something different?! Do ants sleep at night, I was wondering? See you…


  3. frank revelo
    December 23rd, 2011

    Slime is junk. What you want is latex-based sealant, such as Stans or Schwalbe docblue. Here is my report on flat prevention: frankrevelo.com/hiking/flatprevention.com. We have tons of goathead thorns in this area, probably similar to Africa. Sealant is an absolute must. And no, with Stans you do NOT need to toss out the tube if you get a flat that the sealant won’t fix. You just fix the puncture the normal way, with a patch, then pour more sealant in the tube (you’ll need schrader valves). You should have started the Africa part of the trip with 8 2oz bottles of Stans (one bottle per tube). See if you can get someone to mail you the Stans. If thorns in Africa are like here, you will not get far without sealant. And 2oz per wheel is not going to kill performance. Slime is much heavier than Stans and anyway it doesn’t work that well, despite being sold everywhere.


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