Sunday, December 23, 2012

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintanence in Medellin

Day 67
Medellin, Colombia
Day's ride: 0 miles

Medellin is awesome. I could live here. I don't even like cities, but this place is pretty damn cool.

I woke up early and got a little chow at a nearby resteraunt. I asked for coffee and got this:

.....a shot of esspresso. Damn. When I was in Spain it was the same way. Ask for "cafe" and you would get a shot of esspresso. Ask for "cafe con leche" (coffee with milk) and you would get coffee with milk. Unfortunately, they didn't seem to understand that some people just drink normal coffee without milk. It blew their minds. I eventually had to start asking for "cafe con leche, sin leche" (coffee with milk, without milk). They thought I was so strange. Silly Americans. It blew the minds of the Italians too. That's why the Americano was invented by GI's in Italy back in WWII. Look it up.

In any event, breakfast was good. I ordered chorizo and a "bollo" and this is what they gave me:

It was really really good! That sauce was amazing too!

After chow I went to hunt down the Bike Shop that Albert (the owner of the Shamrock) told me about.

I walked in and almost fainted. There, in the back of the store, I finally found what I've been looking for the entire trip:

That's right, an XR650L!!!!!!!!!!! Hell yeah, it's about time!!!

I knew right away that this was the store for me. Right after I found the XRL, I found the pressure suit I've been looking for:

It's more of a jumped up roost deflector with elbow and forearm armor than it is an actual pressure suit. I'm so tired of sweating my brains out everyday wearing that jacket in 90 degree weather. I was super stoked at this point.

Then I met Frederico, the owner. He speaks great english and was really helpful. He even had a set of Perrelli Scorpions in the shop for $130. What a deal!

I went back to the Shamrock, got my bike, and took it to the shop. First task: check the valves.

I've never done this before, but everyone assured me that it would be really easy. Frederico's chief mechanic walked me through it step by step. Of course, this was all in Spanish, so I'm not sure that I totally understand the process. I've got the basics down though and it does seem pretty easy. I had the mechanic check it after I finished to make sure that it was good.

Next step: new tires and chain.

They use an inovative bike lift in this shop: they suspend the bike from the roof with cambuckle straps. It's a pretty good idea actually. Whenever I get another garage of my own (most likely many years from now) I think I'll use this idea.

Before I left Oregon, I put on a set of Avon Distanzia's, oddmeter reading 3,187. I just hit 9,915, so that's 6,728 miles. Plus I'm carrying a lot of weight and riding pretty hard. These tires are pretty tough. They've held up really well; in fact, they aren't quite dead yet. They are down to the wear bar, but I think I could squeeze another 1,000 miles or so out of them safely.

I decided to pay the shop to do the grunt work on the tire change and the chain. While I was watching, I found a new fairing/head light set up:

It's too bad that the owner of the Adventure 950 that it came from wouldn't trade me.

After they got the tires off, we ran them over to the tire shop. In the Rzr! Quads and side by sides are street legal down here, so we tore around Medellin for a few minutes in the shop's "pit razor".

When we got back to the shop, I noticed that they were working on a snowmobile:

That's probably the last thing I expected to see this close to the equator. Apparently they have an artificial snow field around here somewhere.

After waiting a little bit for the tires, we got everything slapped back together and I had Frederico sign my bike:

Mission complete! Tomorrow I'm probably going to go back and have them give it a good wash. It could use it after all of the abuse I've put it through.

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