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What Do You Do on a Bike Friday
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Morocco and Spain

We recently spent two months touring in Morocco and Southern Spain.

Overall the trip was fantastic as it looks [above] in the photo riding in the Anti-Atlas Mountains in the South and [below] on the Mediterranean Coast in the North.

But our trip was marred by relentless bike problems (actually rear wheel problems) and this could be a very useful reminder to other travellers.

It all happened when we broke two spokes and took the bike to a bike shop to have it replaced (a stitch in time saves nine).

The bike has an Arai drag brake and the broken spoke was on that side. Well they replaced the spokes but as they didn't have any idea how the SRAM rear hub worked they pulled it apart trying to remove the brake.

The gears worked poorly after that, and I didn't immediately recognize the problem. But a few hundred kilometres later the two pawls in the rear hub broke.

The problem had started when the spoke fixing "mechanic" tried to put the hub back together. He let the pawl retaining spring slip off.

Amazingly we found some cheap Chinese pawls that fitted and another mechanic made us retainer out of a piece of spring wire and so we limped on.

Anyway, long story short after many breaks at various mechanics and many attempts to fix the problem a bit over 1000km later the hub died altogether.

We bought a second hand rear wheel at a garage sale and had a 6-speed cluster fitted and limped on to Spain.

Our trip was delayed and modified so we rode in total only about 2000km.

All of our repairs were hampered by our lack of any ability to speak to the well meaning and enthusiastic mechanics who in most cases had no idea about our "high end" equipment.

THE LESSON: Try to be self-sufficient and never leave your bike unattended with a well-meaning mechanic, even if he is just fitting spokes.