Lucky escape

Date: 04/01
City: San Jose, Costa Rica
Kilometres ridden: 257
Cumulative kilometre: 29700

The goal today was to buy new back tyres and get them fitted (two different things in Central and South America). So we packed the bikes, said good bye to all people in Villa Kunterbunt and got on our way. The road was easy and we only had 160km to go. After a while the sealed road stopped and a small dirt track started. In disbelief we checked the map and the GPS – but we were on the right track. In the end we got back on a sealed road which was much easier to ride. After an uneventful ride we arrived in San Jose when we realised that our address was incomplete. So we started to circle the area, ask people until eventually a nice motorcycle rider rode in front of us to show us the shop ” Moto Boutique”. We were close 🙂
and we felt completely secure in the shop 😀

That’s where we meet Esmond, the owner and his wife; both were really nice and helpful. After chatting a bit, Esmond threw the tires into his car and drove them to the workshop leading us to where Pan, the tire mechanic , was waiting for us. He went straight to work and did my bike first. To get the tyre removed and put on again he went away and came back 10 minutes later. When he started with Sigrid’s bike I became curious and went with him.

I guess I made him nervous since he fitted Sigrid’s tyre in the wrong direction, so he did it again – I thought ‘merde’ is a French word 😀. In Costa Rica they don’t balance tires, the language barrier prevented us from knowing why... Anyway, it got late and we needed accommodation, so Sigrid suggested a hotel that had good reviews in Motorcycle blogs, so we went there and had a nice evening. The view from our balcony over San Jose was great.


Date: 05/01
City: San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica
Kilometres ridden: 128
Cumulative kilometre: 29828

The same view from our balcony in the morning was a bit different, to the left it looked like a slum area and to the right like a banking district.

But the pool area still looked really nice.

Today was our thirty-second Wedding anniversary, so our gift was……wait for it…….. a back tyre. We bought each other a back tyre 😀. When I checked the installation in the daylight I realised that on Sigrid bike the axel was not fitted straight, bummer. At the same time I realised that Sigrid’s bike needs new rear brake pads, so it was lucky after all. So we tracked our way back to the mechanic. We explained the problem and he fixed both (I had rear brake pads in my toolkit). We continued from there and the GPS guided us through the mountain which brought us through the clouds.

At the highest point we were at 3200m and it got really cold, particularly because I only had a sweat shirt under my jacket and the under arm vents were still open. My hands got really cold, so we stopped at the next restaurant. I got the heated vests out and defrosted my hands on a hot coffee. Nice ride after that. When we arrived at San Isidro de El General we turned towards the road to Hatillo, our destination at the coast.
We found some nice windy roads only 30km to our destination and we had one and a half hour of daylight. Things were going great.
Then, suddenly, in one corner I had a tyre blowout. The bike went straight onto the other side of the road and tried to fall to the left, but this time I kept the bike up. I was just lucky that no one was coming on the other side of the road. Anyway, welcome to my nightmare, having to change a tyre. Well I did it once before…  What could possibly go wrong?

So we moved the bike to some stable ground and started to change a tyre. We were aware that the sun would set in sixty minutes, so Sigrid started to get the camping light out while I was getting the back wheel out.

When I removed the tube, I found the culprit. A long nail did the whole damage. So I ensured that the inside of the tyre didn’t have any other sharp edges, got a new tube from the tool box, fitted the tube, just to realise that I cleverly labeled the box wrong. I put the front wheel spare tube in, which is bigger. To cut the story short, after fitting the right tube, I didn’t pay enough attention that the tyre would sit properly when I try to put it on again. So in the end, when I could hardly pull it over the rim, I remembered what Graham (Horizon Unlimited founder) was saying over and over again, ‘if it is too hard, then there is something wrong, sit back, grab a beer and have a look at the tyre again’.
And I immediately figured out the problem.

I didn’t have beer. 😛 ?

By now it was dark out site, but we had our camping light for the tent, which gave us enough light to keep going.

Anyway, in the end I figured out what the problem was, but by this time I already mutilated the tyre bead, so I was sure we needed a new tyre as soon as possible. When we were nearly finished a nice guy with his family stopped in front of us and asked if he could help. When we said we are ok, he insisted to wait until we really got moving, which was very nice of him.

We decided to return to the previous town and have a look for a motorcycle shop that stocks tires tomorrow or on Monday.  So we turned around and rode back a couple of km, all the while feeling the vibration of the mutilated back tyre :S.

After we booked into a hotel, Sigrid had a swim at 9PM and I got chills. I must have caught something, hopefully its gone by tomorrow.


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