I heard a crack the day before while riding. The bike didn’t stop and didn’t really notice anything different – so I continued on.
The previous night I had stayed with a Tibetan family in a very very small village. This morning she filled my bottles with tea and sent me off with a plastic bag of tsampa!
A few hours of riding there was another loud “crack” and I immediately felt my new Brooks saddle change under my booty.
I had just thrown out my old Selle Italia saddle and replaced it with a beautiful double rail Brooks B72 in Xining. This gorgeous beauty only had about 1000km on.
Dismounting and without skipping a beat I look directly at the double rails of the saddle. Both broken…snapped right behind the saddle clamp. Shit.
Really? I’m literally in the middle of nowhere. YES. LITERALLY!
There is no point in shouting or crying and actually maintain a very cool and collected demeanor. Gently setting Nelly on her side, I step a meter back and think about this situation.
This is exactly the point where I set the bike down and what I also had to decide on – which road?
First things first. I take out the multi-tool and skootch the saddle forward so the jagged breaks are in the seat clamp. This will hopefully get me somewhere for a shitty weld. I’ll have to take my weight off the saddle while riding, especially over this terrain. It will prove to also be the noisiest saddle ever.
I plop down in the fork of the road, feeling a little proud of myself for resolving this problem so quickly and not a peep of frustration coming from me.
Looking ahead, which road should I take. Again, the only map I have is a horrible tourist map of China with only main roads shown. It doesn’t even have Chinese written on it.
After gulping down some tea…wait…does this tea make me even thirstier? What is with this Tibetan tea?…and eating some tsampa I stand up and examine the road to the right.
It heads into the hills. There is a good chance it actually heads more Northeast, where at this point I want Northwest. I walk about a quarter of a kilometer down the road, closely…CLOSELY…examining the path. How fresh do the tracks look? Are there jeep tracks or just motorcycle tracks? How is the gravel thrown about?
After looking down near 16,000km of tarmac, gravel roads, cow paths, fields, I feel extremely competent of road judging skills.
I walk off the road to cross to the road to the left. Ahead, I can see that the road is pretty damaged from ice melt run off. This part of the road becomes about 3 meters wide from automobiles and motorcycles veering off the road and even another road has been made to the left. Further beyond, the road seems to wrap to the West around some large stones.
This road shows slightly more signs of travel BUT I notice multipele sets, and obvious, jeep and truck tracks. Yes, this is the choice.
(I want to state that the Brooks saddle was repaired by Brooks for free. If you use a Brooks B72 you MUST use an old style seat post or a “seat sandwich”.)