I am lucky to have a woman as patient and forgiving as Shannon. For a while she has been telling me over the radio as we ride that Zippy was feeling “heavy” in corners and she was losing her mojo. I shrugged it off as Shannon being a tired rider. At the end of the day I would occasionally ride Zippy unloaded for a minute or so and everything seemed fine. Ouch, she was right. On the second day of some very curvy mountain twisties while climbing out of a steep valley Shannon was obviously struggling. At a roadside stop for photos and ice cream she was commenting on how hard Zippy was to ride and that she wasn’t having any fun at all on a great motorcycle road (new black top). No time like the present, so I took her for a spin. In less than forty feet I determined that Zippy was almost un-ride able and the poor girl was completely fucked. The steering head bearings had such a substantial notch that Zippy was only happy going in a straight line and steering on these roads was very difficult.
On total trip scale the tiny anomaly of a bad bearing shouldn’t create much fuss one would think. For us, this seemingly minor disturbance in the Force, changed our vector, gave us new friends and became a trip highlight instead of an event to dread. The request for a mechanic on the Horizons Unlimited Facebook page flooded us with contacts and recommendations. One reply to our inquiry in essence simply stated: I live in Bogota, I work in the motorcycle industry, and I will help you if you want. Going on a gut feeling and verification from an acquaintance that the guy was legit we made contact and set a plan in motion. This plan sparked our love of Bogota and brought Jairo and his lovely wife Maria Clara into our lives. As a side note, the bike was expertly repaired in less than three hours by the same crew who services the Bogota police Suzuki DR650s.
While waiting for the plan to play out we explored central Bogota from our hostel in the La Candelaria neighborhood. Bogota is a complex city with all the grittiness that New York had in the 1970s. World-class museums blocks away from the transvestite prostitute street, urban hipsters elbow to elbow with drug addicts and college students sipping café con leche. At no time during our week in Bogota did we feel anymore at risk then we would have downtown in our hometown of Seattle. We had a great week.
The graffiti was everywhere and often of exemplary quality and scale. Enjoy our slideshow of the street art we found in Bogota, Cartagena, and Medellin.
A final highlight of Bogota was found on our way out of town. Here we toured a cathedral deep underground carved entirely of salt located in the town of Zipaquira.