continue to Ride the Dream or not. I already had my return ticket to Colombia,
my bike was parked in Barranquilla on the Caribbean Coast. With winter around
corner, my mind was set for some warm sun and surf, so there I was boarding on
my flight back to Colombia.
The journey back was long. Over 30 hours of sitting in airports and planes. But the
closer I got to Colombia, the more my heart was looking forward to sit back in the
saddle of my bike and ride it back to Canada. The idea of leaving my bike behind
after all these miles or to sell it was heart braking.
My return was booked to arrive in Bogota on the night of my birthday. Every year for
my birthday, I always try to be somewhere to remember it, either if it's climbing, skiing
or sitting on a plane. It' s always been a day not to forget... and this one, I will always
remember it very well...
Bianca and I landed in Bogota completely exhausted and with a bit of culture shock. Sitting in a taxi on our way to a hostel in the center brought back memories of 5 months ago before we left Colombia to fly back to canada. For some reason, it felt like yesterday.
We spent several days under wet, grey and cold Bogota waiting to catch our flight back to the
Barranquilla where Bianca's mother lives and where my bike was stored.
Our initial plan was to get back to Suesca to rock climb several days, but due to heavy rain, the only climbing we did was Indoor, (Gran Pared) a great climbing gym with plenty of steep routes to satisfy our climbing craving and get pump.
On the morning of Dec 3rd, we got back into another adventure taxi ride towards the airport
to catch our flight to Barranquilla. We were getting nervous about missing our flight as the
taxi drive took us on a labyrinth ride around the congested city construction. His car also
felt like it was ready to break down at any minute. Finally made it with less then an hour to get to our flight. We were happy to finally sit on our plane looking out the window and leaving the city behind and land in warmer climate on the Caribbean Coast. I was also looking forward to reunite with my bike...
Back to Bogota.
We spent most of our days walking around La Candelaria area of the city checking out street art.
Hostel Musicology - cheap and friendly staff.
Climbing indoor at Gran Pared in Bogota
Bianca on climbing the steep roofs.
Super steep routes
Waiting to board our final last plane to Barranquilla.
You can see the flooded river... Colombia has been hit with heavy rain.
The moment we landed in Barranquilla, we immediately felt the intense heat and humidity of the coast but it felt good. At least the sun was shining and we were glad to be out of the cold city of Bogota.
It was nice to see my bike again. But when I tried to start it, it didn't fire up right away. Thinking maybe due to a dead battery I gave it a push start and it went. The next day I took it to a shop to get an oil change so it would be ready for the road ahead.
Bianca and I rode it to a Geto - dirty and dodgy part of the city where most bike shops are located.
I found a place to change the oil, but I needed to find an oil filter, the mechanic told me to go see another shop near where I could find one. They didn't have any, then we walked to several different shops and none had one for my bike. We came back to the bike meanwhile the mechanic had already taking out the oil without waiting to see if I could find the filter I needed.
He then told me he would find one, so nearly one hours went by and still no oil filter. I was starting to loose patience with this mechanic who just seemed to walk around chatting with everyone more then searching for my filter.
After he came back twice with the wrong filters, I put back the old one in my bike, filled it with new oil and just wanted to get out of there. But not so quick... My bike now didn't start! Thinking again maybe the battery was too weak, the mechanic told me he knew a place to check it out... so we went, pushing my bike to another shop.
This mechanic now claiming to be a good one who has worked on all the police Suzuki bikes, told me the issue was caused from a bad pick up coil. The exact same problem that had been occurring since Merida in Venezuela after that mechanic had stripped my bike apart changing all the wires and pick up coil was replaced by a generic one, then again.. the problem was back in Medellin, another mechanic changed it and said it was like new... but turned out to be a nightmare ride back to Bogota thinking we wouldn't make it back. ( see archives - a day I'll never forget)
I changed it again in Suesca, the bike worked fine for a 1000 kms to the coast... and here it was again, electrical issues started all over.
In Colombia, it's nearly impossible to find the original parts, so every mechanic seem to have a way of fixing things with generic parts that only causes more problems down the road. And now, the problem was back.
We sat in the bike shop for 6 hours, Bianca read half of her book while I tried not to loose patience with this mechanic telling me it will be like new again, that he would be changing several things with original parts.
Original parts made in India??? I don't think so! My bike was still not running properly.
The mechanic told me he had another solution, that he could fix it but not until the next morning since all shops here now closed. We were now starving and tired and disparately wanting to get out of this shop, so we got a taxi home.
The next morning, we called "Ramon" the mechanic, he told me for 350 000 pesos (200$) he would have the bike running like new with his new solution. Leaving me with no choice but to agreed to get it done and over with.
When we arrived in the afternoon to get my bike, it was still apart, he wanted to show me what he had done. He somehow bypass some electrical so my bike wouldn't run from it's original CDI unit - a very important electrical box where all the electrical is generated to. Now making my bike even worse.
He promised it would run perfect and that he had done this to other Suzuki bikes in the past. The bike started fine, seem to work fine, but totally screwed up all my electrical.
I was ready to rip his head off, I asked to show me the bill so I could get my bike out and away from his shop.
Numbers starting adding up, when he told me this and that cost so much. I knew he was just trying to make a little extra cash from a Gringo. His bill was nearly 650 000 pesos! ( over 400$!!!) Bianca and her mom were both with me to help with the spanish and negotiate. He was still trying to make me believe that he had replaced some parts with the original, but knowing all this was bullshit, I was sick of these mechanic rip offs. I slapped 200 000 pesos in his hands (100$) Grabbed my helmet and
drove away. He didn't even have a chance to realized what had happened. Thinking he was going to win with a Gringo and pay him big bucks for a shit job.
Now I have less then 150 km to ride until Cartagena, hoping my bike will get me there, were I will be sailing to Panama.
Meanwhile keep my fingers crossed that my bike will run and take me there...
Mechanics trying to diagnose the problem once again.