Bike Maintenance In Latin America

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People sometimes ask us what kind of bike we recommend, and how we manage bike maintenance. Here are some thoughts.

Ride a bike that's maintainable. In Latin America, that means a 26" mountain-bike style bike with standard components (V-Brakes or cantilever brakes, not disk brakes). You can buy 26" tires and tubes in even a small town, and you can find a mechanic who will have at least some tools for working on your bike. In a medium-sized town, you can get a rim and maybe spokes. If you have a 700cm wheel, you may have to send away to the nearest capital city and wait for a few days to get some of these things. Some people with difficult-to-obtain parts have spent lots of money on international shipping (and then on customs duties) and have waited ages to get going again when they've had a failure.

Ride a bike that's strong. It's better to be heavy than fragile. Get 36-spoke wheels (we're committed to this after a long failure of a 32-spoke back wheel in Canada. We haven't had a broken spoke since we switched to 36 spoke wheels). Get straight-gauge, strong spokes.

Carry a few spare parts. You can't carry everything. We always have tubes and patch kits, some spokes and the tools to replace them. Many people carry a spare tire. We don't, at least until now.

Keep the bike clean. We think that a bike that's clean doesn't wear as fast, especially the drive train. About every month, more in dusty dirt roads, less on clean pavement, we take our bikes and clean them and completely clean the chain and drivetrain.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

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