Former Peak Cycles and Bikeparts.com employee, Ben T, is now working in the greater Yanfolila area in Mali (punch it into google maps if you’re curious). Here is a recent email he sent back to the US about a crack in his Surley Singlespeed.
Family and Friends,
As most of you know, I am an avid cyclists. I brought my mountain bike with me to Mali in a giant box. I got it assembled and have since been for some fantastic rides. Africa is a land of endless footpaths and poorly maintained roads. Perfect for mountain biking – no trail building required!
Yesterday I left my office, and went quickly to my room to change and prep my bike. I was lubricating the chain when I saw it, a crack in my frame. OH NO!!! This bike has been through hell and back. I bought it used about five years ago. Since then, it has been all over Colorado, Utah and even spent a summer in Ghana. My dear bike has been thoroughly abused and it was only a matter of time before it finally broke. If I was in Colorado, this crack would quickly warrant replacing the frame entirely. Here, I don’t have that option. However, there are other resources at my disposal.
Thankfully, my bike frame is made of steel. Thankfully also, we have a steel welder on the exploration site who makes all of our camp’s furniture, fixes car parts, etc etc etc. I disassembled as much of the
bike as I could and brought it down to Laperre’. In about 10 minutes he had the frame welded back together. The paint is a little worse for wear and the weld isn’t the cleanest weld I’ve ever seen, but I expect this will keep me going for a while.