Monday, September 30, 2013

In Which I Envy the Fender and More

I’m following with some interest the blog written by two young bikers who are pedaling from Paraguay through Argentina to the tip of South America.

I hope they write a book about the trip and call it “The Bicycle Diaries.”

Anyway, Paraguayan TV included them in a report, which I find interesting on several levels:
  • I have trouble following the Spanish, even when a gringo is speaking slowly. My Spanish skills are clearly very rusty, like a chain left in the rain with no lube. I may have to take an MMU Spanish class soon. I’ll come back later with a dictionary and see what I can make of this.
  •  I envy the home-made fender. Francis had a back fender, which I had to remove due to installing a back rack. Fenders on bikes, for some reason, are a bit rare in the U.S.A., mostly, I think, because for Gringos, bikes are toys. Where they are transport, such as in the U.K., they have fenders. In Paraguay, I suppose fenders are necessary just to keep from being caked with red road dust. Anyway, I like how the pretty fender (there, I was able to translate something) features in the TV report.
  • I don’t envy the bikers riding on Paraguayan roads. Check out the nature of a Paraguayan “highway” in the TV report. Granted, there are many paved roads—on my own trip to Paraguay this summer, practically everywhere I went was on cobbles or blacktop—but this kind of road is not unusual and many towns cannot be reached by anything other than dirt paths that are impassible in rain.
Carry on, brave bikers. I wish I could ride to the tip with you—it seems like the adventure of a lifetime. And I definitely felt a kinship with biker number two, who spoke “un poco” Spanish.

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