Day 73 – Cusco, Peru

Not much happened today.  We had a short scenic ride (on a paved road!) from Abancay to Cusco.  I tasted Alpaca at dinner tonight for the first time.  Oh, and my bike slid out on a corner sending me sliding down the highway.  Luckily I wasn´t going very fast (at most 60 km/h) and wasn´t injured.  My elbow is slighly skinned, but my riding jacket did its job nicely. 

My bike actually slid farther than I did.  I entered the corner (basically a U-turn to the right) at a conservative speed.  I had entered similiar corners at much greater speeds previously during the trip.  I felt in complete control.  I was certainly in no danger of grinding the foot peg or even going slightly wide.  Then the front tire lost contact with the asphalt.  It happened so fast that there was no time to anticipate losing control.  I was happily riding one minute, thinking of how I hadn´t dropped my bike in Peru yet, and the next minute I was on the ground watching my bike slide forward and clear across to the far side of the highway.

Fortunately, there was no damage to the bike.  After adjusting the right handguard so that my throttle didn´t stick, I was ready for action again.  It bothered my that I couldn´t put my finger on why I had slid out though.  True, the road was slippery, and there were patches of oil and diesel on the curve where I had lost control.  But I had ridden a lot of roads with similiar suface conditions.  What was the difference now?

It wasn´t until I stopped for a photo opportunity of a snowy mountain range about an hour later that I noticed something odd about my front tire.  It was covered in streaks of what looked like oil.  Surely it was water from a puddle.  But I hadn´t driven through any puddles.  The rest of the bike was dry.  It was only the front tire.  I took a closer look and realized that my fork seals had blown.  There was fork oil all over my forks, rim, and tire.  Hmmmm.  A little fork oil between my front tire and the asphalt certainly wouldn´t help my traction, would it?

There was nothing to do but continue to Cusco, riding with the knowledge that there was oil dripping down onto my front tire and that I could slid out again at any moment.  Fun.  Even my boots were covered in fork oil.  When we got to Cusco, I nearly rear-ended a taxi.  You guessed it – fork oil had coated my front rotar.  I locked the rear wheel (despite the fact that my rear brake pads were completely gone).  It was a close call without the front brake.

My bike is in the shop (overnight) right now.  It was impossible to find fork seals in Cusco for my bike.  One of the mechanics rode his motorcycle around the city for about an hour and a half looking for some, but to no avail.  He ended up taking the O-rings out of a couple of other seals he had lying around and making them fit in my old seals.  Hopefully it will work.  Tomorrow the mechanic is going to try to find some brake pads (front and rear) for me.  Things that I wish I had packed: 1) fork seals; and 2) brake pads.

Ted and I had previously had a conversation about how easy/difficult it would be to grind the footpeg while cornering.  We started joking about how we wanted to see sparks when we took action shots of each other blasting around a corner.  After I had picked my bike up off the road, we noticed a scratch line in the pavement tracking the movement of my bike while it was on its side.  Ted remarked that I had finally grinded my peg on a turn.

5 thoughts on “Day 73 – Cusco, Peru

  1. Hi Tyson, The Andes is not where you want to be without brakes and with fork oil slicking the rubber side of your bike. I am glad you weren’t injured. I hope that your mechanic is creative and can safely solve your problem. How is your ear faring with all the changes in altitude? Andrea looked at your pictures of Ecudaor last night.  Stay safe! Love you, Mom

  2. Hi Tyson,Just heard about the earthquake in Peru that happened a couple of hours ago.Hope you and Ted are doing well.-Bryan

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