Friday, February 24, 2012

ode to my lil red bike

On the road between Cafayate and Cachi in Argentina
it's sad. two days ago i waved goodbye to my lil red bike as it drove off into the sunset. well it didn't drive off alone - but with its new owner, Francisco. I'm not sure how much I trust him - he didn't seem to really appreciate the beautiful sound of the purring motor, or the impeccable maintenance record, or really respect the heights, depths and lengths it's travelled. But I guess, that's what happens when you let something go. You send it off with your best wishes, and hope that it makes it's way ok.

So, as a little ode to my star, some of my favourite memories.... (i have some sort of elton john like music playing in the background and am getting a tad emotional.. so bear with me!). Just to start off...
  • the feeling of possibility and joy every time setting off on a new open road
  • the beautiful soft, purring sound of the engine. no it wasn't a grunty harley, nor a plasticy clack clack... just ... beautiful.
  • fitting in pedestrian bridges to get to great spots
  • standing up, closing my eyes (nearly!) and just letting the front wheel find its way through the rocky ground in Southwest Bolivia
  • hitting the asphalt upon reaching the Argentinean border at Paso San Francisco. Well a combination of getting myself there solo that high, and also having nice road to curve around.
  • the conversations I've had with locals about travelling on bikes - as a woman, as a foreigner, as a person.
  • finding my wheels on muddy roads in Northern Argentinean parks.
  • always being patient with me when I fell so ungracefully from you.
  • the comrades of other bikers you meet. You see one coming, you wave, you chat, you share stories, Or you roll into a hotel, see the bikes, start admiring, start talking, solve problems with the aid of some beers, make wonderful friends from all over.
  • goodness. just all of it! (yes there are some gripes - but I've saved these for the 'about my bike' page
So, thank you lil red for making my trip. I hope you are ridden well and given lots of love. I will always treasure our time together and am grateful that I met you so serendipitously and that we discovered so much together.

fare well oh lil one! and .. (cue music)...

April - May 2011: My first relationship with the bike from the back seat. 2 up with Diego. We rode from Mendoza to Santiago, then up to La Serena over 2 months. He taught me how to ride, how to maintain the bike, how to make a delicious pasta dish with a raw egg, and got me through the paperwork of transferring ownership.

April 2011: Just after the very first time I rode the bike in a campground near the border of Chile/Argentina on the way to Santiago. I fell off 3 times, was not able to conquer figure of 8s but started feeling the looooove.

April 2011: This was the afternoon I 'felt at one with my lil red bike'. Somehow the gravel, the BMX like experience just sold it for me. A day before I had been the passenger; the day after - I drove Diego and our luggage back into the capital of Chile, Santiago.

May 2011: Roadside fixing a flat. This was month 1 of 10 months, and the LAST FLAT I had. Got to love enduro tires. And my awesome bike that hardly ever broke down.

May 2011: In La Serena, Chile on the morning we set off SOLO. Complete with my dodgy helmet, jeans, hiking jacket and bicycle elbow and knee protection.

May 2011: 5 days later, we cross the 4786m paso to Argentina. Elated. And the bike? no problems at such a high altitude. Yes a little slower, but still got us up there.

May 2011: Some of our little overnight roadside hotels somewhere on Ruta 40, Argentina. No other bigger bike could have possibly fitted in here.

June 2011: Another advantage of my lil bike? it got me across pedestrian bridges and into a campgrounds alongside rivers where people like this old dude swung by on his way home for a chat. Near Cachi, Argentina.

May 2011: The poor thing did eat a fair bit of dust though. Near Tarija in Bolivia.

May 2011: Hmm Mud is not so easy to conquer. In the remote Parque Nacional Baritu in Northern Argentina.

June 2011: Oh yes. My lil bike headed out this 650 KLR, 1100GS BMW, and BMW boxer. They all had to sit behind me cause I was the littlest and ahem.. the slowest.

June 2011: The hardest terrain we did. In Southwest Bolivia. Sand, gravel, mud. Awesome:)

June 2011: Sometimes I abandoned the lil bike to climb up some metal at 4500m altitude. WIth full gear on. Southwest Bolivia

August 2011: Both me and the bike hanging out with friends in Sucre, Bolivia. This hostel was definitely a biker home away from home.

August 2011: Roadside breakfast soup from the market after a 5am start some 100kms down the road. Even on these cold mornings the bike always started.

August 2011: Both of us having fun exploring the Ruta del Che in Bolivia.

September 2011: Always a bit of TLC goes a long way. Adjusting my chain roadside in the sweltering heat of Bolivia,

September 2011: Lil red more hardworking cousin... loaded with family on mud roads in Bolivia.

November 2011: Coming out of hibernation in Alex's garage in Arequipa. Ready for what was to the last stretch of road.

November 2011: Coming into the final station... The rather desertic expanse of Arica, Chile.

February 2012: FInal clean at Frank's house in Arica.

February 2012: Ready to be passed on for the next adventure!

February 2012: The vultures ;) ... aka Philipe and Geoff having a peruse of the tools of lil red.

February 2012: Francisco laying claim to the bike in the Notaria in Arica.

February 2012: Last snuggle...

February 2012: Francisco ready to helmet up and ride off into the...

... sunset.

sadly... "the end" for my wonderful journey with lil red:)

1 comment:

  1. I am starting to understand how hard it was for you to go your separate ways with your bike! We're having an amazing time and loving the bikes more and more each day. I see from your photos you stayed at Hostel Maria Casa in La Serana! Aren't they such lovely hosts?