Good morning folks
I trust you had a superbly spectacular weekend.
Here is your weekly wrap-up of the week from bonkers central.
An emotional week, the Clunk has gone
Ironically Superclunk.com is now Clunkless on this side of the pond.
Most bikers would sell both kidneys before parting with their steed, but in the end the bike was worth more than my innards and it was the only thing of any value (material, monetary and emotional combined) that I could flog when we needed some bra$$, so it was the only option.
(The little red one is still hibernating in Blighty, I’d sell my eyeballs before selling the C90!)
Without sounding like “This is Your Life“, it has been quite a journey from beginning to end…
(People may say “It’s just a bike/machine/inaminate object”, but we’d been through a lot together!)
I remember having a conversation in the mighty temptation emporium that is “GetGeared” in Leeds sometime in November 2014. One of the lads there asked me what bike I’d buy when I got out to Peru.
It was a question that threw me a bit, as I’d already been out here and witnessed the traffic (which I would come to know so intimately) and had intended to take a Clunk-break. One would have to be insane to tackle these roads, surely…
I landed here in New Year 2015 and started work 2 days later, working in the 5 corners of the city and spending more time on the Combis than I was working (6hrs graft and 8hrs commuting every day). This lasted about a week, before I started going stir crazy and looking at other transport options.
My residential status here at the time meant that I couldn’t actually buy a bike, but I could apply for special permission, which I did, which gave me a shiny stamp in my passport and 28 days to find a steed. I actually looked at 14 different bikes; A suspect C50 (above), Chinese copies of Chinese copies, a Café Racer, an ancient Baja trials bike with a straight pipe, that poured oil (but sounded mint), plus a multitude of XR125s, which I settled for in the end.
The “Clunk sin nombre” (Clunk without name).
With my new wheels I set out to escape the city and explore. Once you flee the chaos there are some brilliant trails around, up into the hills and beyond.
The refuge of Cieneguilla was a handy Sunday early doors ride with the best coffee in Lima (Panaderia Montreal), and some awesome desert(ed) trails on its doorstep.
As I work 6 days, longer trips were tricky, but I did manage a few, but soon discovered that life at sea level was a far cry from the sierra (highlands). I became a bit of a geek in the science of “jetting”, (but I am still pretty clueless about this process and the poor Clunk suffered above 3000m).
On a 2-day jaunt, I limped home on half a cylinder. The Clunk had been using a lot of oil and suspected worn piston rings was the diagnosis, which sounds trivial, but it entailed a “top-end rebuild”.
I secured the services of a man who we’ll call ”Jimmy” (as that was his name) who was later to lighten my wallet and do a runner with my hard-earned, but I’m a forgiving type and he did get me back on the road again, eventually. (It only took 6 weeks in total!) Around this time I was also ripped-off by another local (Yamaha) bike shop in San Luis (which I won’t name), who were charging me for parts they weren’t fitting.
Then I found LIMA HONDA PARTS, who are the best in the city!
The poor Clunk had been neglected in its life so a bit of TLC (and spare parts) from Leonardo and his awesome team at spruced it up nicely and I headed for the dizzying heights of Ticlio (at 4818m, 9 metres higher than Mont Blanc).
It turned out to be more of an adventure than I reckoned for, no map, no idea and not enough gear for the conditions. Near hypothermic I took shelter in a run-down café and downed some kerosene flavoured chicken’s claw soup, before I free-wheeled back to Lima.
There were two other big trips I had planned (and drawn maps for), I tried one of these twice but was beaten back by landslides (wrong season for the hills).
The other one will have to remain a pipe dream…
It could have been a LOT worse!
Apart from almost breaking my foot on a stack of plastic chairs on the “Panamericana Highway” (before I got my big Clunk boots I had to wear trainers and my ankle still hurts now) and being “clipped” by a truck on the “Evitamiento toll road” (a very near-miss), I soon got used to the daily scrapping/close-quarters combat around the city. It is a very different style of riding here!
However, riding a Clunk off-road for me is one of the biggest buzzes that exists. A simple pleasure with HUGE grin-factor potential and endless scope for mischief and adventure :-)
(There was also the added bonus/confusion of passing my bike test too!)
All of the above was merely a warm-up for the week that I have just had.
It has been a fraught month. A lot of unexpected bills, the fact that we got paid early in September and late in October left us broke. On top of this we hadn’t budgeted for school ”enrolment fees” for the Nipper. The Clunk had to go…
Up for grabs.
Now I have sold bikes (and cars) in the past and it can be a tedious business. In Blighty I’d normally go on AutoTrader, MCN and possibly Fleabay (to buy or sell). Most folk are upfront, you do get some tyre-kickers, but if you advertise a bike with a good enough description, would-be-punters know what they are getting.
Here the second-hand market is still developing and finding its feet:
- Sellers think they can sell old stuff for new prices.
- Buyers think they are bargaining on a price for a taxi/bunch of bananas and think they can knock you down to peanuts!
I put two identical ads on “OLX” and “Mercado Libre” at a price to sell. Immediately I was inundated with calls. My Spanish is still terrible and I avoid phone calls like the plague, so it was a frustrating time for all parties! Appointments were made, no-showers (as in not showing, not unwashed) didn’t show and a flurry of emails ensued, including this exchange (translated):
- “Will you take a 32″ telly, a PS3 and a Samsung J1 ?”
– (Sorry, but no).
– “With s/300 (£75) cash?”
– (Sorry, but I am selling it for the cash)
– “I’ll up it to s/700 (£175)”
– (Sorry, but as I said, I am looking for a cash buyer”
– “How about a LG 49″ LH5700 telly, Ps3 with 2 consoles and 7 games PLUS S/700?”
I don’t know whether the lad worked in a leccy store, or if he was stealing to order?
Another punter kept asking me “So you don’t have a Yamaha?”
I may have to change my number after all this…
I had 2 dozen calls from Lima chancers, plus one bloke who rang up from the Amazon jungle and another chap from a place called Apurimac (800 miles down south, up in the mountains). It all got a bit confusing at this point as I was having conversations with him and his brother in Lima (who didn’t seem to be communicating themselves).
On Thursday the Lima brother and another brother came to look at the Clunk.
Although neither of them appeared to ride bikes (or seem to know much about them), they seemed impressed and liked the bike, but immediately tried knocking me down. I had a queue of punters with appointments for the weekend and wasn’t going to give the bike away!
I offered to throw in a load of goodies (things that aren’t much use to me without a Clunk; a hefty padlock, kneepads, new oil, chain spray and spare tyre), but they were pushing for the helmet too. The oil was Bel-Ray brand, which spellcheck changed to Blu-ray, and I couldn’t amend the advert, so punters would ask which model Blu-ray player it was!
(I was bent over myself when I bought the helmet as I had to buy one for when I picked up the bike). I dug my heels in, said no about the helmet and they agreed to come back the next day with the cash!
I leave for work at 1:30pm and told them to get here as early as possible. It is not as straightforward as signing a “V5″ and popping it in the post (if only…)
Meanwhile my man-in-Apurimac was calling me incessantly, about I don’t know what?
(Of course bikes have to be checked for unpaid fines, whether it has insurance or HP. The Clunk was clean!)
The (general) route for a sale here is:
1) Agree a price.
2) Put cash in bank account (to avoid money laundering apparently, I don’t know many English Teachers who do this!)
3) Take bank voucher to “Notaria” and wait and wait and wait…
This is how it all panned out:
- 10am: Phone call “On our way”
- 10:45am: Phone call “Where is the bank?”
- 11am: Phone call “At the bank” (Banco del Nacion, a place with bigger queues than most free bars!)
- 11:30am: Two Lima brothers arrived and immediately started trying to re-negotiate price!
I was tempted to tell them to sling their hook, but kept calm.
Then followed a pantomime about the bike cover, a rather tidy hand-made camouflage number. My man-in-Apurimac was on the blower to Lima brother and said it was included in the advert (it wasn’t). Then they said they’d load the bike in their van and meet me at the bank!
And of course my date of birth is not 29/10/16, so I said no. We would leave it here and come back for it. No was the reply, a stalemate was reached.
11:50am: I said I’d ride it to the bank (which was one block from the Notaria).
One last foray onto the mad roads.
When we arrived they started getting funny about going to the bank first.
Levels of mistrust are EXTREMELY high here. However, if we did the transfer of names first then the bike wouldn’t be mine and they could take it without paying! Another stalemate and time was ticking.
12pm: After a brief “scene” in the Notaria it was agreed to go to the bank, where there was a huge queue (of course). Money in my account at 12:15pm and back to the Notaria.
12:30pm: Start a drawn-out process of filling-in, signing and fingerprinting a big stack of papers.
The stroppy clerk who was “dealing” with us was obviously having a bad day and when she gave me a blank piece of paper to sign, I was too garrulous for her liking when I rudely asked “where” I should sign it. It was like I was suddenly dealing with Begbie from Trainspotting!
I then tried to make light of this by saying that I’d never fingerprinted a document before I came to Peru and that in England it was only criminals who did this, if looks could have killed…
I knew their lunch break was at 1:30pm and miraculously everything was done by 1:30pm, I handed the keys over and wondered how they would get it home in a flat-bed truck, with no straps! Not my problem. Would it ever get to Apurimac in one piece? Would the new owner (his brother, who would have to re-do all the paperwork we had just done, again) know how to ride it. It is his first bike.
Basic preventative maintenance doesn’t happen here, so bikes are just run into the ground, there are some sad sights around, which with a drop of oil here and there could be saved.
I fear the Clunk may not get quite as much TLC in its new life.
I ran home for a shower and went to work with no lunch. (I had an emergency pot-noodle-a-like in my locker and when I finally had it at 5:30pm, I discovered a sizeable bug of some kind half way through it, nice!)
The phone still hasn’t stopped ringing and I still gaze across to the space where the Clunk was, every time I walk out of the flats, but it’s over now, and it was bloody good fun while it lasted!
To finish off this tale of woe (tinged with many happy memories nonetheless).
Just to show that you don’t need a bottomless budget and a support crew, the King of Adventure Clunking, Austin Vince, shows you how it’s done
You do however need a bike :-/
Have an awesome week
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper x
p.s. One last pic, which has spawned the next adventure, potentially in 3 weeks time, just not on two wheels. Watch this space…