Flat tires, broken rims and sting ray bites in San Felipe

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Best bike mechanic Daniel in San Felipe

Bike touring can be pretty adventurous. You never know what you will get. It is like movies with Indiana Jones. Or James Bond. And this part of our biking trip was pretty special. Why? Shortly: flat tires, broken rim and sting ray bites in San Felipe. All in one week. And that`s still not everything!

It started with the 2nd flat tires

San Felipe wasn’t our favorite place to stay. Famous for its off road races, it is a noisy place with a lot of American snowbirds. When we arrived quite exhausted from the mountains, we had in mind to stay one or maximum two nights in a hotel a bit outside of the center. While I was trying to recover from my sickness in the room, Sämi went to a nearby grocery store and had the second flat tire.

It could be worse!

“Shit happens”, he thought, “it could be worse…” And it came worse! After fixing the flat tire, Sämi went to the gas station to pump the tires with compressed air. There was no display and the back wheel got ,,a bit too much,, air. That, of course, led to a little crack on the rim. “Oh oh, not good” – Sämi thought. Especially when you have to go around 500 km to next town with a fully loaded bike. The two local bike mechanics didn’t have rims in that size. But one of them had the absolute glorious idea to weld the crack with a little aluminum plate. And Sämi had even more glorious feeling to follow his idea.

Latest when he met the welder, a almost two meter tall rock of a man, who said he never welded a bicycle rim, but he can try, Sämi should have realized that it’s probably not the smartest idea. But, well, he didn`t and this is how it ended…

Fixing broken rim

Broken rim

So, new rim, but from where!? We went once more to check the local bike mechanic (NOT the one who recommended to weld the rim) to check if there is no option. No luck. But he gave us some addresses from bike stores in Ensenada and Mexicali. After quite some phone calls, WhatsApp messages and Facebook checks (with a lot of help from José, a local guy from the hotel, and from our Warmshower host Chema) we found a rim in Ensenada. Heureka!

Stolen rim

The next problem to solve was now to get it to San Felipe. Chema offered us to pick it up in Ensenada and recommended me to ask in a fb group for “Raites” (kind of carpooling) if somebody comes this way and can take it. No luck. So he found some guy at the bus station who went to Mexicali and who promised to give it there to the busdriver who goes to San Felipe. Since we were like 10 km outside of the center, I should just stand by the road at around 11 pm and give bus driver a sign with my white and red light from the bike. So I did. But the bus driver ignored me and passed.

 “Damn, he didn’t see me”, Sämi thought and desperately run to ask the hotel owner to follow the bus. We actually caught it. But when Sämi asked the driver about a bicycle rim, he watched at him like he’s from behind the moon. Obviously something went wrong. As we found out later, the guy at the bus station was lying, just keen to make some money, and messed it up. So, the whole rim searching game again… Sämi found another shop in Ensenada which had a fitting rim. This time it successfully came by “Raite”.

Birthday tire combo

On the day we wanted to leave (it was my birthday!) we were just about to take off. Sämi had another flat tire.. He fixed it and finally we left. After around 3 km, Sämi’s got what? Flat tire again! Our patience (and I mean mine) was used up. Luckily, there was an ice cream place just nearby. So while Sämi went once more to Daniel, our local bike mechanic hero, I was calming down with a tasty ice cream. And another one.. And I also bought a wine 🙂 Daniel was just smiling when Sämi came around the corner with the flat tire and a can of beer. We figured out that the problem of the ongoing flat tires came from the rim tape. Daniel changed it and since then Sämi was free of flat tires.. For a little while.. 🙂

And that`s still not everything!!!

In this week in San Felipe, Sämi was also beaten by a sting ray. I told him : ,,Sämi, be careful when you go to swim in the sea because there are  sting rays. And he said as usuall: ,,Ja, ja… (you know that face of the self-confident man like – you woman always see a trouble everywhere 🙂 And then I did not see a trouble – I had more unique view. Look!

Bike touring sting ray adventure

I was happy that there was a very friendly Mexican family who helped carrying Sämi from the beach to the hospital. He got there an injection and they sent him home and told him to keep the foot in warm water .-) And if you think, that only Sämi was a trouble maker, I can just say, that I also accidentally made me a 3 months lasting ,,tattoo,, (burns) directly on the face..

So let`s summarize – in one week in San Felipe we had 3 flat tires, one broken rim and then even more broken one, one stolen rim, stick ray bite. And we met a always high hollywood cameraman and his wife – also hollywood make-up artist, who let us stay couple of nights in there camping car directly on the beach. And I burned my face. On my birthday.

Luckily it also had a happy ending. More about that in our next post.

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