27 February 2007

camping in Ketumbeine

saw a solitary bull elephant

camped by a small river 5km above Olkeju Olongishu (Ketumbeine)

went to a bush church.

visited the caves of von Lettow Vorbeck from WWI

We went to Ketumbeine for the weekend. Drove out after church on
sunday. I started packing at 11am and we were ready about 1pm.
Pretty good huh. It took us about 3 hours to get to Ketumbeine, the
road has gotten bad again. Bethany was waiting to take them to a
boma. Steve had the 3rd case of Rift Valley Fever in tanzania since
some ten years. there is a big outbreak in Kenya. Many people have
stopped eating meat, not me. Steve showed me a campsite 6km up the
mountain next to a stream. really nice. so i took all their kids and
two neighbors and went and set up camp. then picked the rest up just
before dark. Steve and Bethany came along and then walked home at
Boys did alot of the work .
Next day we drove down to fribergs house and all drove to a church and
hour away. think C & G really liked that. then we had lunch under a
tree and drove a bit and walked an hour to an old WWI cave. Von
Lettow-Vorbeck would fight a battle and while british were bringing in
more people he would run and hide. This cave is up in some hills and
dug about 70 meters straight into the mountain. cool inside. there
are some trenches around the bottom side.

then we left from there. Saw one lone Bull elephant on the way.

13 February 2007

How I prevent flats while bush bashing.

Scott commented that a flat tyre could make life difficult 60 kms from home. This picture is of 2 inches of my front tyre. All those white spots are thorns embedded in the tyre. The big ones are 2mm thick. I haven't been into deep bush for a couple of weeks, there are more embedded thorns immediately after a trip.

I rarely have a flat tyre with my current system, and I will ride right over thorns on the mtn bike. In the bush of maasai land it is pretty hard to avoid thorns, even on a maintained road.

However I also take a spare tube, many patches and glue, tools, and stuff like spare spokes. I might even take a spare tyre. I wont ride with someone on a serious bush ride unless they have a similar system. PERIOD.

My system is thorn resistent almost thorn proof. Not the tyres as much as what is inside. My front tyre has kevlar in it and thick. Then I have a 3mm plastic liner between tyre and tube that breaks most thorns and makes the tyre thicker (goat skin also works). Then heavy duty tubes(5 mm thick). THEN I have what is called "slime" in the tube. Slime is the real key. Even if a thorn gets though the 3 layers the slime seals the puncture. If I get a big hole ( > ~3 mm) the slime doesn't seal well, and I might have to patch the tyre.

As I said I can ride my bike over inch long thorns and they either break off or eventually make a pin hole in the tube but it gets sealed by the slime. There are probably a couple thousand holes in a tube that has been in the tyre for awhile. After a trip if I take the tyre off the are a hundred thorns poking through. Sometimes I don't use the thick tubes, the slime works really well.

Needless to say the tyres they are heavy.

Sometimes you have to add air during a ride a few times until it seals all the holes. This usually happens when you hit a rock right where a big thorn was and it gets pushed further in. Sometimes it is just divine justice and the tyre goes down.

On the third day of the Tarangire trip my tyre kept going down. The usual method is to stop and pump it up hard, spin the tyre as fast as you can to spread the slime and then look and see if there is a huge thorn or a place you can see the flourescent slime oozing out. Then you ride on and hope you don't have to repeat the process. Well this time after 3 times we decided we needed an inspection.

Hmm! Somehow I had a thin tube on and there was slime all over the place inside the tyre. I think that the slime in that tube was salvaged from another tube and watered down. El cheapo wanted to save a couple $.
Wes deadpans " that is a pretty thin tube you got there". Which actually meant "What the hell you doing coming out here with a thin tube."

I think we put a different tube in at added a bit of slime and rode on with no problem.

Hmm I like talking about bikes. I wonder if I am in the wrong profession!

11 February 2007

Passing through from Germany

One Sunday last month I had an emergency at the office and I rushed in the car. As I was driving the car home in Sakina area where all the bars abound I met a long distance bicyclist coming the other way pursued by a couple of local riders.

Cool I thought as I continued home, wish that was me.

I didn't get much further when I started thinking he could use a home stay and I like discussing their routes etc.

I turned around and chased him down .

"You need any assistance I yell out the window."

"yah maybe"

I pull the car over and he stops. He points to the crank and I figure it needs some repairs/maintenance that I can probably do for him. So I offer a bed as it is 5pm.

His english is minimal. I learned his name later that night it is Frank Blume.

Turns out the problem was the pedal. I never heard how the problem started but the fix done in Nairobi was to bore out the hole for the right pedal on the crank, screw in insert, some brazing and somehow it is a couple degress crooked. And you cant take it off for service.

I look around for a crank but he pointed out that all mine are solid and square and his is hollow and splined crank. New bike! I also almost bugger the spindle taking the crank arm off.

I scratch my head and we pantomine our discussions what to do.

I pantomine we will take the crank arm to a friend tomorrow. It is Sunday night , which is pizza night so Nashesha and I take him to dinner. Mom is in South Africa on a trip. Afterwards I fall asleep watchin his slides.

The next morning we drop the crank at a shop near my house and Frank will go with Kaindi and see what they can do. We discuss and agree to put in another insert.

Me, I have all sort of problems at work so I don't see Frank until 8pm that night. We check it out in the dark and it doesn't look like what i wanted.

Immediately I realize when I am taking the pedal off the the insert also comes off and and the brazing pieces on the end mess up the threads.

Next day we try again and I stand around and make sure they put a flange on the outside and a washer on the inside. another couple hours standing around and we have what does the trick. When Frank was in Dar 600km down the road he said it was okay.