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24 hours of firsts, and 3 silly endings

Posted by on 26/01/2014

Thursday to Friday lunchtimes saw me experience the following: first flat tyre, first thunderstorm, first time a truck has driven me off the road, first time I got lost, first time cycling in torrential rain!

The flat happened after I climbed a hill and was zooming down the other side but ran over some debris on the BR-101 hard shoulder and POP! The rear tyre deflated fast but I rolled to the bottom of the slope before stopping, removed all the pannier bags and got to work.

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It was early afternoon so bang in the hottest part of the day and soon there was sweat pouring off me so once I’d removed the tyre and unpacked my tools and spare inner tube I moved into the undergrowth to be in some shade. When I removed the burst inner tube I checked the tyre and found this…

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…a strip of metal that’d pierced right through! I stuck some gaffa tape inside the tyre to try and strengthen where the small hole was, then inserted the new inner tube and finished the job. At this point a local stopped to check I was OK, and I was so off he went, and shortly after that so did I, hoping that my tyre would be ok for a long time to come.

An hour or so later I was here:

Green landscape from Andy Smith on Vimeo.

And then:

I finished my food just as the storm passed and I set off again on the now wet roads and cooler temperature, both a nice change! I was following the storm cloud, hoping I wouldn’t catch it up:

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The truck thing was annoying but not particularly dangerous since it happened at lowish speed – basically there were roadworks so the road narrowed with no hard shoulder for a few hundred metres and the truck driver just couldn’t wait to get past me, and then to really make his point as he passed he moved right and gave me no option but to swerve off the road into the sand. Loser. But 99% of drivers have been spot on so far so overall no complaints from me. BTW here’s the reason for the roadworks, they’re building a new bridge (on the right):

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My destination was a beach town called Imbituba and I’d emailed ahead to book a bed at the Surf Hostel Padang. However, I found that my Garmin didn’t have it listed and I’d not checked that map, so I was lost and had to stop and ask locals for directions, which didn’t go well. I ended up in a village on the next bay where I was shown to a small house on a backstreet where an old surfer dude lived! He was cool and despite our language barrier offered for me to stay and camp in his garden! Very kind offer and he seemed friendly but I decided it was a bit too random and said obrigado but continued on my mission to find the hostel. Over a long hill to the next bay and eventually I found it, just as the sun was setting, phew.

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The following morning I got a friendly send off from the English speaking (woohoo) hostel staff and some guests who are Inter fans and had seen me in the news from my stadium visit. So after photos together (getting used to this now), I cycled onwards as it started to rain. In moments this had become a biblical downpour – and it didn’t stop for hours! On the hill out of town Luis (my bike, in case you didn’t already know) wanted to stop since he thought he saw a bison across the road, and since the Bison family (Neil & Zanna) named him Luis it only seemed right to stop. Of course it was just a cow, but in his defence the rain was VERY heavy and visibility poor – check out the brown stream running down the road:

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I enjoyed cycling in the rain…

It’s raining, it’s pouring from Andy Smith on Vimeo.

(FYI the wobbly bit at the end was me trying to press stop on the recording but my phone’s touchscreen wouldn’t work since it was so wet from the rain)

As for the silly endings, I’ve mentioned Friday’s getting lost/surfer dude antics, well on Thurs I arrived at the only hotel in town to find reception deserted but with room keys strewn across the desk, so after waiting long enough I decided to check myself in and chose a nice double room with air con to have a much needed shower! I did find the owner later and paid up – damnded conscience! And on Saturday I came to the famous holiday island of Floripa (where the next FIFA conference will be in Feb, lucky them) which is connected to the mainland by a huge bridge. I cycled across it sticking to the edge of the 4 lane motorway with no hard shoulder and got honked at a lot by angry motorists! Turns out it’s illegal to cycle over the bridge and there’s actually a cycle path beneath the road! No-one told me beforehand and there were no signposts, so hey ho, I made it ok.

After looping back and crossing said motorway to find the island end of the cycle path I met Rodrigo, a friend of Marcelo’s, who’d kindly offered to host me here, but managed to get another rear flat on the way, d’oh! Changed the inner tube and off we went, stopping at Bike Dream to buy new spare inner tubes, where I was served by Ruben (forgot his last name, took his card but lost it!) who races road bikes professionally. Cycled on to Rodrigo’s superb apartment, put my laundry in, then he drove me on a tour of north Floripa, what a stunning place, and finally he cooked us a fantastic meal of veggie pasta followed by oysters with melted cheese, soooo good! Another wonderful host, and also a legend in my eyes as he’s completed two ironman triathlons!!! Thanks Rodrigo.


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