15 February 2010

Ten years on a front shock.

On Sunday's ride I felt a knock and heard a noise on a couple of drops , as if I had bottomed out on the front fork. I tested it and it seemed all okay. Later i noticed that there was more "grease" on the left shock. Then it dawned on me plodding home, that the grease is shock oil and my shock seal is going. Damn.

It depresses me. I hate to spend money on replacing stuff. Why can't it last forever?

I would guess I have gone 60,000-100,000 km on this bike. I bought this bike 10 years ago new, and the rock shock is now dubious! Woe is me. Many people would have replaced this bike already, but that is not me. I have replaced the drive systems too many times, the rear rim wore out , and shift levers and a brake all got replaced , but the frame will last forever.

Should I try to find a seal and fix or buy a new one? There is play, so I probably need to replace more than seals, probably need bushes too. I will put off a decision and action, so any day now I will have to figure out another off road / commuting bike.

Nothing special about the ride but still happy I did it.

All the regulars had other bike plans. Bent wanted to road bike on Saturday, Thomas wanted to ride long, hard, and fast with Saidi et al. Everyone else kept mum except John Corse.

So I rode the 25 km or so to his house in Usa River. Mungu wangu is his house big and airy. The best part is there is no gate, but a long narrow winding driveway through a forest. He made me some french press coffee despite me arriving about 30 minutes late. John was suprised I rode to his house, he was expecting me to drive.

John led me on some pretty cool tracks and roads above Usa River, all new to me. Eventually we popped out on the Momella road at the top of the hill and rode past Pete Oneal's place. The tracks became dustier and rockier until we came out at Kikatiti. We crossed the great north road heading for the railway line, and then followed high tension lines until we ran into Dolly Estate.

At Usa River we parted ways. I took old Moshi road stopping at Bernice's farm to check out the small house for the caretaker. That was a 15km detour. Bernice was around looking at more land and i was promised a smoothie at Erik Zweig's so i rode over there and felt sleepy and tired. He eventually got tired of trying to talk to someone who's eyes kept rolling back into his head and nodding off. He went to get some water in his pickup and i tried to snooze on his porch. 15 minutes later I was feeling okay and rode the 90 minutes home without any water in the 35C heat. Wasn't so bad.

the distance was around 115km in 5 .5 riding time.

The point is it was kind of a ho hum ride but it made my weekend complete. The wedding we attended was a total waste.

01 February 2010

Found a new trail.

A few years ago I rode to Monduli Juu with Paulo Rukoine and through the highlands to Lepurko and back on the road. It was a good ride. Click the link above to read about it.

Saturday I invited arushabikers mailing list to try that ride.

It turned out to be one of the great rides of my life, probably because at the end of the plateau we went hard left instead of straight and rode through a dense pristine forest for an hour , seeing only 5 women on their way up.

It use to be hard to find someone to go on 6-13 hour rides. But now Bent is training for 24 hours ride in Denmark and he likes long rides and Thomas has two mtn bike rides coming up. Three others started out with us and turned around up on the plateau.

That is where the ride started for me, the 3 hours to get there was transport mostly, as riding up to the plateau and onwards was where i wanted to be.

It was saturday and we met bunches of smiling Masai on the way to market day. It seemed like everyone was happy and smiling. Not sure if it was because the rains have been good, or it was market day, or they are always like that. We three riders were in a similar mood.

On the other side of the Monduli Juu depression is the old Nafco wheat farms, but hardly any cultivation goes on there and hardly any houses. We had a hard time keeping a smile off of our faces as we had a strong tailwind and now we were slightly downhill, so the 15 or so km were a breeeze.

As we got to the end of the highlands , and lepurko Mtn was right there across a valley, the main track went hard left to the south and small foot paths went straight and another north. We tried the south one, the north one, and took the south one.

It was one of the awesome rides of my life. It was thick forest and downhill for an hour. It was thick enough to get scratched and we had to dismount a fair bit. We stopped for lunch in the forest and dallied for 30 minutes sharing whatever food we had along.

Out of the forest we came to treeless savannas with forested valleys. It was like riding through the movie set of out of Africa. We had some flat issues here, a fair amount of flats but were well prepared.

by 2pm we were at the tarmac and went into transport mode, drafting back to arusha with two water / coke stops. Eventually it showed that Thomas was too strong and we let him motor off home and Bent and I slowed to a reasonable speed.

Total hours 0615-1630 about 10 hours
riding time 7:30
distance 122km

I started with 3.5 ltrs liquid, a bout 1 ltr of cokes and about 1.5 litre water along the way. Was probably dehydrated most of the day.

The trick of this ride, is to go left. We maybe should of headed west again at the bottom of the escarpment and ridden across the big valley.


Jan mentioned the other day that his girl friend had read my blog, didn't know he knew me. I was kind of taken aback that someone besides my immediate family and a few buddies read the blog. I mean I check out the counters and all and either you know me or you did a search on "Vincent Shirima" . (LOL now i will get another 1 hit a week because of his name here.)

Any way please drop a comment whoever you are.