72 Km for the day
Another perfect day for a bike ride and we completed the 70 km in a reasonable time, its so close to the end that the we are just concentrating on the destination and not the ride, this is sad as its still a ride and a very pretty ride over roads that I have never ridden or will probably never ride again (but I say never say never).
Our last morning tea
We get to the city of Banderma and check into our pre arranged hotel ( something else we have never done before but as its getting close to the end we pre arrange our accommodation)
Terry has broken his prescription sunglasses and wants to find an optometrist to fix them (were are you now Malinda J)
We walk around the shopping district and its hard to find an optometrist, bit like when you try and find an ATM, when you want one there is none there, when you don’t want one you trip over the dam machines.
Terry asks a guy who is selling reading glasses on the side of the road and this guy gives Terry a pair of damaged reading glasses, we figure that if we can not find an optometrist then we can harvest the parts from the reading glasses as a stop gap fix for his glasses.
Fortunately we found an optometrist and Terry glasses were fixed.
Terry with the nice guy who gave him a set of reading glasses
We enjoyed a nice meal and maybe to much wine as we reminisced about the last 4 months on the road as cycle tourists, we have under 5 km of cycling to go on this tour so this feels like the end, but its not as tomorrow we catch the ferry to Istanbul and ride to the Blue Mosque were it all began 4 months ago…..
Well those that know me and if you have read my blog will now that I love my bike so this review will be hard for me to be un biased.
The wheels are hand build and very heavy duty, I have ridden over some very rough roads and given the bike a real flogging. They have remained true and spin effortlessly. The tyres are Schwalbe Marathon 700 x 35C I put a brand new set on before the tour. I have not had one flat, after 5400 Km that speaks for itself. They are a heavy tyre and my not be the fastest but are tough as nails.
They hold their pressure well and I usually only had to put a couple of pumps of air in every couple of days.
The front hub is a Shimano Deore XT dynamo, for those that don’t know it generates electricity as it spins. My bike has lights and these were always on whilst I was riding, I like it as I am seen and even when I am at home ride with the lights on.
The lights also came in very handy when we hit tunnels, there was one tunnel in Montenegro that went for 3 km with no lighting. Also for the few times when we had to ride at night.
Shimano cable disc, metal pads, 160 mm rotor w/ lock ring. These are the front disk breaks and I did have a few issues with them. They need to be adjusted every 500 km when you are touring and carrying a load. Something I was not aware of before the tour started, I just like the set and forget of the rear V pull breaks that only need a visual check on the wear of the pads.
I am happy with the front breaks now that I fully understand how they work.
I changed the saddle and have a Brooks B17 leather saddle.
I did not have any “under carriage” issues and have been very comfortable over the last 4 months averaging 80 – 90 km per day.
I have not done anything with the saddle but with give it a good treatment with the leather conditioner when I get home. People say that it need to be kept dry all the time and I have tried to do this as I have a cover that goes over it when we were camping.
The frame of the bike is good old fashion steel, this is strong, but heavy.
A lot of the carbon fibre snob set will turn their nose up at the frame.
The other reasons for steel are as follows;
There is flex so it absorbs the bumps and rough roads better, although shocks on the front is something to think about for the next tour.
Also being steel can be welded by anybody with a welder in rural and remote areas, just glad I didn’t have to test that one J
The bike came with front and rear Tubus racks to clip the panniers on, I checked these on a regular basis for lose screws or cracks and they remain rock solid after the whole tour.
I am very please with the way my bike performed over the 4 months, I did have the issues with the front disks, but it was an issue of me not understanding how they work more that a mechanical flaw.
I gave the bike a real work out and she passed all my tests.
I love my bike
I may have said this before, but the bicycle is the most simplest form of transportation ever invented.
Its such a simple design, and has been for the past 150 years.
Its still pretty simple, you have to peddle the thing at it will get you from point A to point B.
Not much has changed, the parts get lighter and more robust but its still a very simple machine.
A simple machine that has taken me through 14 countries and over 5300 km and an adventure of a life time and for this I am eternally grateful.