When I reached yesterday, before checking into the hotel, I had inspected the bike and heaved a sigh of relief. Today I set out, and in the first 10 minutes I felt the familiar but unwanted wobble on the left side. In denial mode I said to myself, “it’s the uneven road”. I knew I had to accept the hard fact sooner or later that it was the spokes. Each time I got the spokes done I thought- this mechanic was better than the first so all’s going to be well now.
Getting a mechanic was extremely difficult today. I started with five broken spokes and by the time I drove around and found a mechanic eight were gone. People here just refuse to understand or make an effort to understand sign language which can be extremely frustrating. That is not because they are unfriendly; they go out of their way to help when they understand. I think it is because for them, the need for such kind of communication has never arisen- most of these parts do not witness foreign tourists (lots of local tourists). We in India perhaps, we are used tourists and to so many languages including ones we don’t comprehend that making sense of gestures comes more easily to us. I found the mechanic finally because a guy I asked tried to explain where to find one and finally decided to take his moped and come along. He had to take me to 3 others before we found one who would do it.
Simon translated for me over the phone that the reason they are popping so easily could be because the Chinese made spokes are not the same quality as the original… so we decided to put thicker spokes. For which we had to actually drill the holes and enlarge them. Getting the spokes was another ordeal. Shiyan is supposed to be ‘Motor City’. It is built on the automobile industry. One would expect scores of automobile shops in a locality where you can find whatever you want. But that wasn’t so we drove around the whole city on the mechanic’s bike and came up with only 13 spokes (a wheel has 36). So currently only those many have been changed. I hope tomorrow morning I do not have to go through the same ritual again.
Finally left Shiyan at 14:40 hrs. reached Jingmen at 21:00 hrs.
The end of my journey draws closer now and I am just counting days. I could not waste another day… I had decided that I will drive even if it gets dark. So I invested in a pair of clear untinted riding glasses…. Which were much needed as my helmet visor was tinted as well as damaged.