Mediterranean Cycopaths

A Moving Start

18th January 2007 

Our first day on the road and as we departed our Tunis’ hotel, leading our gleaming, full laden bikes to their destiny, Sean sprang a little surprise on me by producing a slip of paper and proceeding to recite a passage he had come across that encapsulated his thoughts in relation to the challenge we were about to commence… and it went a little something like this:

‘So many people live within unhappy circumstances yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. 
The very basic core of a mans living spirit is his passion for
adventure.  The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun’
(John Krakeur)

It was a special moment (although totally unbefitting the dingy alleyway we were in – surrounded by cats clawing at filthy, stinking food scraps) and I appreciated the sentiments.  I was just about to high five him when I noticed that my front cog gear shifter was bent and hanging perilously.  As soon as I attempted remedial action, it
snapped off completely in my hand, effectively reducing me from 27 gears to 9 in the blink of an eye.  Not a great start. 

Fortunately the 70 odd kilometres, Hammermet, were
pretty flat, so I was able to ride on the biggest cog the whole way.  We made pretty good progress, only stopping once when Sean had a flat tyre (which occurred in front of a military base, officials from which were pretty keen for us to move on, even sending out a mechanic to help in the final stages of the repair).

On arrival I teamed up with some local tinkermen to rig up a new gear shifter. 2 Dinar for the parts(!) and a hefty tip for the boys – Shokran, shokran! (Thank-you, thank-you!).  Let’s see how long it lasts.

Jon

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January 27, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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