Day 576 16th February 2018
34 miles (Rio to Barra da Tijuca) Average speed 12.2 mph Top speed 98mph (I don’t think so!)
A great day day on the road.
I was awake at 7 and had coffee and ham and cheese pastry at a cafe. I packed, showered and left at 10.15. I was so relieved to leave the hot smelly hostel, even though it cost me £15 to leave a day early, it was well worth it. I really was not enjoying my stay there.
The end of the road was flooded so I took a detour to the beach and had a good ride through the beaches of Rio on the cycle paths, trying not to get distracted by the bikini clad beauties. After an hour I stopped for a drink at the end of Ipanema beach before saying farewell to Rio and climbing up the first hill of the day. It was not too bad but a bit narrow at times with on-coming bikes, some at speed. The path followed the cliff top until it ran out as it was closed due to flooding. So I had to lift my bike over the barrier, another cyclist offered to help but I’d already managed.
So then it was a small climb and a good downhill onto the next beach with the occasional bus coming a bit too close. After a brief stop on the beach to watch some surfers and photographers taking their photos I carried on along the beach path, I reached the tunnel only to see that the cycle path was closed and I had to cross six lanes of heavy traffic to climb the hill to go over it. It was hot work climbing again but once over the top it was a good run down even though the road was not very good.
I spotted a specialised bike shop and went in for a look around but there were no prices on anything which is a good sign that it’s expensive! The guy at the front was looking at my bike and offered me water as he could see I was sweating from my climb. I realised that I’d not had a bike service since Leipzig and looked for a hostel so that my trusty steed could receive some attention.
The first hostel was behind a closed gate, so I went to the next across the bridge and found a good hostel with a very helpful receptionist, even though she didn’t speak a word of English. Google translate came to our aid and I booked in to a massive dormitory with about 30 beds, but it was clean and had air-con, so I was a happy man. Then I went to the second bike shop I’d seen just around the corner and the guys at Cycleponto really worked wonders.
After 40 minutes I had a new rear cassette and chain, but after a test ride it was obvious I needed a new front large and medium cog at least. They only had a large in stock, but after phoning around and offering to take one off a new bike, they offered me a whole new set with bottom bracket, but it was not going to be cheap! Even so, the fact he spoke perfect English and gave me advice on my road ahead and let me watch the repairs take place made for an entertaining hour! I watched on as four guys tried to release the bottom bracket with wrenches and extenders, it was fun as the guys enjoyed taking the piss out of each other. Considering the shop doesn’t charge for labour they really seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The bracket emptied its rusty contents onto the floor and they tried to free the rusted bracket in several different positions, during which my new pal lost lots of knuckle skin and swore and shouted much abuse at my poor bike. Eventually after lots of alcohol spray and his full weight he freed it and the new one was fitted in quick time. Another guy took over the gear change adjustments and soon I was out for another road test. This time I was happy with my whole new transmission and all for the princely sum of £250.
Back at the hostel I had my late lunch at 6pm and did my washing. I ventured out to watch the sunset on the beach with a beer and then went for a chicken dinner to round off a good day.
Hostel Barra surf beach. 70 reais.
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