Katherine, 7 February 2007


Katherine is too hot for walking. So I buy a second hand one, at Trash & Treasures. This bike is closer to trash than it is to treasure.
  1. The front tyre is flat.
  2. Both the front as the back wheel are so wobbly that they hit the breaks.
  3. The saddle wobbles too.
  4. One of the speed cables is missing, so only the lower 5 out of 15 gears are available.
Well. Walking is even worse, so... I am now the proud owner of a bike full with handicaps.
  1. The front tyre gets some air and is not running flat for the moment.
  2. It is a bit of a quest to find a spoke key, but I manage to straighten the wheels. By loosening up the brakes a bit the remaining wobbles run free.
  3. Cycling on a wobbly saddle is a fine art of keeping your balance, but it is doable.
  4. And the biggest available gear allows an acceptable speed.
Add a helmet and lock and go, go, go!

One week later

Things run fine for a week. Then the front tyre looses its cool. It will run out of air in about 3 kilometres, which is about the distance between gas stations in town. Pump the tyre and cycle fast!

This fine procedure stretches for another day or two. I lack a patch, blue and tools to fix it myself. The bike shop tells me a new front tube is a good alternative. Well, it certainly is from his business point of view. The bike shop owner is a former RAF man, the Australian Royal Air Force. These blokes don't like maintenance jobs done half. Aircraft must be 100%. I value that approach, yet it is overdone for a second hand bike. This bike won't fly thousands of hours.

What the hack, it is ok, better outsource the troubles to a professional than fiddle around myself. The saddle is now fixed too.

So, cycling is a lot easier with a full front tyre. Now I can go and find a bit more rough terrain. On my way to the lower level nature reserve I hear something cracking. Oops, I've overpowered my bike. The back axes is broken. The bike moves, but not smooth and with a lot of noise.

You got a musical bike mate sound like an encouragement when I cycle to town the next day. Yeah, it is second hand and it tells I reply. The 3km to town is too long a way with a broken axes. So halfway I step down and start walking.

To the bike shop, I am now a regular customer. His quotation for a repair is a bit too high again, but there is no alternative. A few hours later he happily replaced the whole back wheel. Again, this drive for quality is nice, if only I stayed longer in Katherine than another week.

My original plan was to sell the bike at departure. Adding up all the costs almost make me cry, if only I could stop laughing. Now, I do know the difference between a problem and an expense. Yet adding the costs of the new back wheel this expense is turning more into a long term investment. How will I ever reach a return on this investment?

Treasure bike for lease, at a bargain

Anybody wish to rent a bike for the next 10 months in Katherine? It is second hand, but a real treasure: And all of this for only $3.80 per day! Contact me before 12th February, while I am still here!

Till next nut,