Day 130 (February 22, 2013)
Day's Ride: 0
Last night after we got back from the sign, I figured it was time
for a change.
So I went from this:
feel ten years younger. That, and no one seems to recognize me
Today Dylan and I moved to a campsite to save some money. The
weather was good, so I decided to do some bike maintenance. Ever since the day
that I changed out my rear tire, I've noticed a sort of dragging feeling at low
speed. At first I thought it was the tire dragging on something. I ruled that
out pretty fast but then thought it was the chain rubbing on the swing arm.
However, after changing out the chain slider, the feeling has continued. This
led me to believe that it was either a wheel bearing that was starting to go
bad, or the rear brakes wearing out.
Since I've been needing to change
out my front tire for the new Metzler that I bought back in Santiago, I decided
that I could take off both my wheels, change the rear brake pads, put on the new
rear sprocket, put on the new front tire, and check the bearings while I was at
The brake pads went on fast; it was lucky that I changed them out as
they were just about down to the metal. The new tire was easy too; I love front
tires, they're so easy to put on.
I put my fingers inside the bearings
and spun them around, they felt smooth to me, but I'm not too savvy on bearings
so I don't know for sure if they're okay.
I took off the old sprocket and
compared it to the new one.
after I put on the new sprocket and put the wheel back on, I realized that I
would have to cut the chain as I was now outside of the adjustment zone on the
chain tensioner. To make matters worse, since the new sprocket is three teeth
smaller, the chain was now resting on the chain slider which has already worn
quite a bit in the last 300 miles. In consideration of these things, I decided
to put the old sprocket back on. I guess if I can't find a new chain slider or a
new larger rear sprocket, this one is going to have to last for another few
As I was putting the old wheel back on, I took a look at
this thing (not quite sure what it's called) and realized that I had another
of the screws that holds the chain slider portion of the "thing" was missing. I
pulled the other one out to have a look at it and realized that the chain had
eaten through the rubber and into the screws here too.
I didn't really have any way of fixing this or replacing it, I just took it out
and put it in my tool bag. I guess I'll have to roll without it for the duration
unless by some miracle I can find one in Punta Arenas.
In summary, I
managed to put on my new front wheel and new rear brake pads, remove my damaged
chain slider thing, check my wheel bearings, and not put on my new rear
I took the bike out for a quick spin to get groceries and check
out my new adjustments. Unfortunately, the dragging sensation continued. At this
point my only ideas are that one of my wheel bearings is going bad and that I
just can't tell because I have no experience, or that the chain is causing a
little bit of drag as it goes over the chain slider at low speed. Regardless,
I'm just going to have to ride it Punta Arenas and find a mechanic as I can't
figure it out. I'm also going to have to find some oil soon. No one seems to
have any 10W-40 in Tierra del Fuego and I'm about 100 miles overdue for an oil
change. Luckily I always carry about 1.5 liters of extra oil with me, so I can
make sure it's topped off until then.
As I was working, Kurt and Corey,
the two Canadians that I had met twice in Mexico, once in Guatemala, once in El
Salvador, and once in Peru showed up at the campground! Doing this trip just
proves how small of a world it is for an adventure rider in South America. I had
known that they were close but didn't know that they were in town. They were
heading out to the sign to take a picture but we all decided to meet up at the
Irish Bar and celebrate later that night.