Bush Camp on the Rio Santa in Peruvian Andes

As usual when bush camping, I eased in and out of sleep throughout the night, keeping time with the changing positions of stars and Milky Way. It cooled through the night and we snuggled off and on, spoke quietly about the stars, and the shadows on the canyon walls cast by the odd passing vehicle, watching for a cessation of movement or change in motor sound.

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Canyon del Pato, Peru; Hell on two Tandem Wheels

Canyon del Pato is Hell on a tandem, pretty much two days of Hell. It was the best way north in the Andes from Huaraz without backtracking to a road lined with illegal coca plantations and bandits; not our favorite type of cultural interaction.

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Preparing a Tandem Bicycle for the Andes and the Amazon 4

When we travel on our tandem in difficult places, like Tibet, and SE Asia, keeping the bike clean is the last thing I’m thinking about at the end of a hard day: food, a place to get horizontal and sleep are first priority, maybe changing money, buying food for the next day, trying to understand your host, the market vendors; all this before sunset since it’s often cold then, or sometimes not the best time for a gringo to be wandering the streets. So this is often when the derailleuer looks like after 3 or 4 thousand miles.

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Preparing a Tandem Bicycle for the Andes and Amazon 1

I am beginning to dismantle Zippy, world touring tandem, in preparation for our next self supported tour, this time South America. Before each tour, I completely dismantle Zippy for three reasons: to find our which parts need replacing so I can order them and fix the worn parts, catch any impending failures of frame, rims or drive-train, and to re-familiarize myself with every part. Since many of the places we tour are hundreds of miles from a proper bike shop, I have to be able to fix pretty much anything. Anyone who owns a tandem will tell you tandems need more attention than single bikes; I might have to rebuild the hub somewhere in the high Andes, or the middle of the Amazon basin, while being munched on by ants and mosquitoes and critters we’ve never seen before.

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