Stranded in Lima

After eight bike shops in four hours I gave up. I managed to buy a replacement saddle (mine had broken in two places) and a couple spare tubes. My rear rack, which I had partially welded in La Paz, had broken again in two places and was completely trashed. People took one look at it and shook their heads, “no hay”, they have nothing like that.

Meanwhile, my fancy spare $45 Schwalbe Marathon tire did not sit on the rim well and kept popping off when I inflated it. I had never seen that before. The bike mechanics were puzzled too. I finally called Schwalbe and asked them about it. The guy said , “it must be out of spec. due to a manufacturing error. You can send it back for a replacement.” Great. Thanks a lot. So I needed three new tires now, and found zero.

So I resigned myself to the fact I would be stuck in Lima for a time. After several phone calls and research I found replacements for the rack and tires on the internet and ordered them expedited to Peru which will take about five days. Then I can only pray they will get through customs.

It´s not all bad. There are worse places to be stuck for a week. There are plenty of museums here and no shortage of things to do. But I am already behind schedule and this will not help. Watch this space.

12 thoughts on “Stranded in Lima

  1. Katrina November 7, 2007 / 11:19 am

    I’m sure there are some nice Lima girls you can strike up a convo with.

  2. Ben Kilpela November 8, 2007 / 5:24 pm

    This is exactly what Chris McCandless, the real fellow who was the main character in the new film “Into the Wild”, was trying to get away from, ANY dependency on modern technology and society of ANY kind. Something as simple and as common as a bike tire has suddenly reminded you, Kev, of your keen dependence on society and business, even on global capitalism, for the satisfying of your desires and the achievement of your goals. McCandless ended up starving himself to death, as I said in a previous post, in the pursuit of freedom from all social and economic restraints. Thus, for your delectation, I give you some interesting philosophical questions to ponder while stuck in Lima. Hang in there and keep us posted. The ultimate and unhelpful solution, of course, is to buy a new bike, which, of course, entails other problems.

  3. kkoski44 November 8, 2007 / 11:31 pm

    I have not seen the movie yet but that sounds much more extreme than what I am trying to do. I guess I am too pragmatic. It must be darned near impossible to live completely self sufficient nowadays, and why would you want to? I enjoy roughing it a bit now and again, and yes one night I may be eating tuna fish from a can for dinner and sleeping on the side of a mountain. But the next night I am in a four star hotel dining on filet mignon and a fine Bordeaux. Who wants to live like hermit?

    A bicycle is a faily simple machine but you are still dependent on all the pieces working. An even simpler way of traveling would be to hike, and indeed, I met two French guys who were RUNNING from Mexico City to Ushuaia. Now that´s loco! But even then their ¨machines¨(their bodies) could break down.

    In the end, unless you are mountain biking way off road, bicycle touring as I am doing it is not really getting away from too much. I mean, I am on a road after all, so there are motorized vehicles around. Maybe that´s why I enjoy it. There are times of solitude and then the next day you are surrounded by people. You´re never quite sure what you will find around the next bend in the road.

    But while we are on the topic, what about those Amish and the Mennonites? There are quite a few Mennonites in Filadelfia, Paraguay. Many of them still get around in horse and buggy. What´s the point? I don´t get it. I even know some people who do not own a television. Can you believe it?

  4. Bill Lindberg November 9, 2007 / 9:27 pm

    Hi Kevin,

    Finally had some time to catch up on your trip. Quite an adventure so far ! Sorry about the bike problems- it’s hard enough to deal with severe ones at home.

    How does altitude affect you? I had no trouble at 12K on the Bicycle tour of Colorado.

    Will be following your adventure closly now, take care and good luck on the bike repairs.


  5. Bernard November 9, 2007 / 10:52 pm

    Hey Kevin, enjoy the break and take a good rest before the next leg of your trip! and keep posting those wonderful pictures. I also was reminded of your adventure when I saw “Into the Wild” (which I greatly enjoyed) but unlike the character in the movie, seems to me you want to be around people and you recognize the value of that. The guy in the movie wanted to get away from society/technology and thought he also needed to get away from people to achieve that. Tragically, he found out too late that he needed the company of others in order to truly be happy, but when he tried to return to the company of humans he was not able to.

  6. Capt. Don Kilpela Sr. November 10, 2007 / 4:36 pm


    When you are in Miami, I suggest you prepare for the second half of your quest by getting yourself a fake Peruvian passport for certain situation(s) in which you might find yourself.

    Uncle Don

  7. kkoski44 November 10, 2007 / 11:43 pm

    So far the altitude only affected me when I took the bus to La Paz. When bicycling I guess I acend so slowly that I get acclimated!

    That movie is on my list to see. It has not yet appeared on the Peruvian screens. Not much selection here. Can anyone recommend “Knocked up?” The paper here gave it a good review but it sounds like Hollywood trash.

    Don, I thought about getting a second US passport in case mine was lost or stolen, but it is a beaurocratic maze to get. A fake one could come in handy but I have have one idea how to get one. Do you have any connections?

    My new rear rack arrived today in the post! I was pleasantly surprised at the efficiency of the Peruvian customs and postal system. Just waiting for my tires then I am off.

  8. Capt. Don Kilpela Sr. November 11, 2007 / 4:08 am


    While you’re whiling away your time I thought you might like to know how I am going to handle this upcoming election. I have decided today to forsake all — I mean everything: commercials, interviews, speeches, etc — by political candidates until 1/1/09. The electioneering has become an etho-religious debate about nothing. I voted for Eisenhower in my first election in 1952. In 1956 I changed my mind and I see no reason to change it back. I have already made up my mind; I could pull that lever tomorrow morning for it has been decided as far back as 1956. Chew on that Kev…

    Love ya, Uncle Don

  9. kkoski44 November 11, 2007 / 4:08 pm

    Don, it might be difficult to escape the bombardment of advertisements, television, print, and internet news, etc. Everywhere I turn I see or hear something about the election. You may have to go live in the Alaskan wilderness. Now there´s a good reason to get away from society.

    But funny you should write about this. I was just composing a post about politics and this election. You raise an interesting concept. What if people could vote at any time, not just on election day? How would that change the dynamics of the campaign I wonder?

    As for me, I tend to vote for “None of the above”. But I have been fascinated by the Libertarian party for years. They never get many votes, but their ideas are intriguing. Basically they advocate smaller government in all areas. But I think they are bit too radical for most Americans to comprehend. Their policies might seem anarchistic and impractical to implement. I´ll post some of their specific policies later.

  10. Ira Bloom November 12, 2007 / 4:06 am


    Great blogging. Somehow you make the reader want to go on this trip with you even though it’s a physical impossibility – you’re absolutely nuts for biking up those mountains and living the way you do on the road.

    I’m disappointed that you haven’t mentioned the deal you and I struck before you set out – that you would handle this part of our journey and then take over raising my kids while I handle the next stage. Must have slipped your mind…


  11. Capt. Don Kilpela Sr. November 12, 2007 / 8:14 pm

    You might like to know, Kev, that I made it through two entire days without seeing, hearing, or reading about politics. In fact, except for a couple of games, I watched no television. It seems strange that the house is so quiet. Ben has often remarked that on occasion he has gone upstairs to the quarters and though no one was present there were three televisions blaring away. Reminds me of John Lennon’s practice of leaving a television on (without sound) at all times; he said it was his electronic fireplace.

    I read your reference articles about “fair” vote counting. I should have know that a good libertarian like you would think of that solution: totally impractical. Now when you bike along you are practical and a wonderful problem solver. Stop thinking about politics. Think about beauty and love and writing to your uncle.

    Reading: for the past years I have been concentrating almost solely on the historicity (not the theology) of Judahism, Christianity, and Judaism. I peeked into the 6-million word Talmud and Mishnah as well as the Jewish and Christian Bibles (King James Version of course) the history of which is the most interesting study I have encountered in my entire life. It all started about over ten years ago when Ben and I were in Chicago and I ran into Donald Akenson’s book, “Surpassing Wonder” at a great used book store on Michigan Avenue (now gone). For entertainment, I read many articles in “The New Yorker.” And that’s about it.

    Just though you might be interested…. I think about you often. Uncle Don

  12. kkoski44 November 13, 2007 / 8:44 pm

    A lot of people consider the liberatrian policies as impractical, but many could be implemented easily simply be repealing laws and regulations. Here are a few things Libertarians might do:

    – Eliminate all forms of censorship
    – Reduce subsidies to businesses
    – Reduce or eleminate barriers to foreign trade and immigration
    – Eliminate all welfare and redistribution of wealth
    – Legalize victimless crimes such as drugs, gambling and prostitution
    – Stop aid of any kind to foreign governments
    – Reduce regulations on business
    – Privatize the postal system, police forces and national defense
    – Substantially reduce taxes of all kinds

    Now does that seem impractical?

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