„It started with a…“
No, it was not a kiss! My time here in Mexico B.C. started with a flat! After travelling the whole west coast of the US without any bike issues on the second day here in Mexico – after a really long time of not having touched or seen or needed it – I firstly dug out my tools! Nails and glass on the shoulder of the street are not really a tyre´s best friend, as I was reminded that evening. I was lucky that it happened close to the entrance of a nature reserve where Javier, the ranger (hope I may call him “ranger”), did first help me with “pumping” and next with a place to stay: I could camp in front of the entrance of the reserve where I was safe because he would watch over me in his night shift. And where he before doing that would offered me coffee, homemade muffins and a quesadilla – welcome to Mexico!
There was just one thing that didn´t really let me relax that night: the flat was not a big deal as after one hour everything was repaired. But since then there was a real problem! While repairing the tube I realised that the rim of the wheel was sliced open like a tin of beans! …which was finally the explanation for some clicking noise when using the brakes. It sounded just insane but until then I couldn´t see what was really the reason for it. Of course I knew the rims should have been changed already (which I just forgot when I was back in Germany)! Well, and now imagine my situation: I just left Germany (1,5 months ago) and I double-just left the States (1,5 days ago!) when I see I definitely need new rims now. When everybody did always tell me “you´ll see: once you leave America things will be different!” and I still didn´t have a real feeling or personal experience or even idea or imagination of how Mexico would really be! I just thought that now it´s over… I mean: you can maybe get a new chain, or a new tube or some oil here, ok. But rims? And – what´s even more important – a person who can fix them? A real professional?
I really didn´t sleep well. Actually I didn´t sleep at all. (So it was not a problem if Javier did get a good rest that night). In the morning I asked him if there was a good bike shop in Ensenada, which was fortunately coming in something like 20km only! He told me, there was one. But finding it on a city map is still different from remembering it´s pure existence… So when finally I arrived in Ensenada around 11 a.m. I first stopped in a gas station and asked the guys if they could give me a direction. And they could! They sent me to Mr. Chepe Garcia, the gentleman you see on the picture. He´s nothing less than an ex-professional cyclist and now his son is professional enough to bike in the Tour de France! And he was the next step to maybe the finding of a solution for my problem: he had a very professional look at my bike, did very professionally identify the radius and size of the rim by only looking at it for some seconds and finally – by counting the spokes – did very professionally realise and tell me that he couldn´t help me. In very professional Spanish language!
But he also told me who for sure would be able to help me. He explained by speaking very slowly and very clearly and by repeating again and again and finally by even drawing something on a little piece of paper that I must go to “TNT bicicletas”. …or “NT bicicletas”? TNT. No, NT! NT bicicletas! And I really found them! With the first “T”. Next step was done – puuuh! There I tried to explain again what my problem was. Just a pity that by then I already had forgotten all the technical Spanish expressions that Chepe had given me before. And a pity that they were much more busy! I might be wrong but did they get a bit nervous when I tried to tell them in almost professional Spanish what I wanted them to do???
Finally there was that certain man in black. He was the last one who was called to have a look at my bike when all the others had already given up with me. …he did speak English! And he did understand the problem. When I showed him the damaged rim he just nodded. Generally I would say that he is not one of those people who talk much! He just said: “one moment!” while already disappearing in the shop. But when that moment did already last something like 10+ minutes I just hoped that there was no back door in that shop through which he had just escaped! But no: he came back and – ta da: he brought a wheel. A used one. Now I remembered Chepe: “But tell them they MUST give you a new one. Otherwise they will give you a used one! I know them! You want to go far, you need a new one! And if there are any problems, if they don´t want to give you a new one, call me!” …I decided not to call him because the argumentation of the mysterious mister with the black baseball hat was actually quite comprehensible: we don´t have a new one and this one is maybe a used wheel but… actually it is not used. Because it was mounted on a beach cruiser which only had back pedal brakes! Ok, then I agreed. I could even see that the surface had never been touched by a rim brake. And I asked if he maybe had a second one like this. …again not many words, just: “let me see” and he disappeared again.
Well finally I got more and more relaxed with that guy they call “the mecanino” on their website. We negotiated the price and he promised me to finish everything ´till the same evening. Although Christmas was close and they had already sooooooo much work. I went into the hostel he recommended me, had a nice and relaxed afternoon there and in the evening – hours after the official opening time – I had it back in my arms. My pink bike. And “the mecanino” as well… I just had to hug him when finally his work was done (very professionally!) and all his promises had been kept. I asked him if he would like to be the godparent of my little Greek duck which still dosn´t have a name (he had told me that usually they are asked to fix those girly stuff on the handle bars of little “Americanas”…, imagine!). But when I told him how honourable I rescued that little duck from it´s death in Greece he loudly laughed (imagine!) and immediately agreed. So dear Ladies and Gentlemen, dear followers and readers of my blog: I proudly present the official name of my good old Greek rubber duck: from now you can call him Mr. Roberto TNT!
Since that “explosive” experience in Ensenada I know: Also Mexicans are very honourable, professional and trustable people! And they can even joke! (…though it might take a while.)
Well, just lots of thanks to all of you bike-professionals there in the North of Baja for just a great time I had with you in the end! Thank you for saving me! (…and my duck from potentially dying without a name!)
Ensenada, Mexiko (Hostel)
Tages-Km: 29,87km / -Zeit: 1:47h / -Höhenmeter: 181m
Gesamt-Km: 12.709km / -Zeit: 884:36h / -Höhenmeter: 117.563m
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