4 flats and a clutch cable in 5 days. Chasing a canyon, Mexico

I left the coast at Percos and headed inland to the National Park (Barranca de Cobre) its route 25 and is a nice thick yellow line on my not-so-good map of Mexico.

The road turned to dirt in about half an hour, as a skirted across the top of it I had forgotten to lock a pannier on. It was inevitable… Just as I overtook a bus the pannier broke loose and bounced its way along beside me.

No sooner had I put it on and the bike, it toppled as i went to take a photo, tank-bag contents went everywhere!!!

It was here i realised that i had left the video camera back at the gas station that i took the shower at in the morning. I rapidly turned and did it Dakar style the 50km back…

Luckily the fuel attendant was looking after it for me. I thanked my lucky stars and started out along route 25 again.

I only got about 30 minutes past the point i had previously reached and the front tyre went really quickly, I pulled into a little piece of shade in the scorching heat to investigate.

I knew I didn’t have a pump any more, and all i could remember was Claudia in Mexico City telling me I should get one… I thought I knew best..

Yep… This one is beyond the patch fix. Fortunately I had a spare so I put the new one in like a professional and put the tire back on…. Now all I need is a pump!!

Three and a half hours later, after asking everyone that happened to pass and running out of water in the first 20 minutes a man came in a car loaded to the brim with people. He had a little electrical pump, just like the one i used to have.

I thought i was going to die out there in the Mexican desert, and how many times did i kick myself for not replacing my pump?? To many to count!!

The good thing is there were photos of this guy everywhere on this trail. His reassuring smile told me that there are no worries with him around.

And he shared my love for the Mexican moustache.

The afternoon was famous in my books, a huge climb up a goat trail into the mountains. Views were spectacular and the temperature dropped as the altitude rose. Approaching dusk i was in pine forest at the top of the world.

Tread on the tyre…well yea, im an idiot for not replacing it a while ago.
Lots of slipping and sliding.. certainly not ideal


It was almost dark when i pulled into a ranchito (small village of 7 families) after a day of many military encounters, a coked up guide on a quad bike, no food, little water and the flat tyre. I bought five litres of fuel, two cans of tuna and some pasta and asked if i could set up camp nearby.

The seniora of the house wouldn’t have this and insisted I have a plate of her food and that i stay in the school that didn’t have classes until 9am the following day.

I was really touched, especially when she refused payment for the meal.

This was the school house i slept in.

I was often made to sit under the blackboard as a disruptive child, but i never envisaged sleeping there.

I decided to leave a quick geography lesson on the blackboard in the morning and gave three stickers of the Australian flag to the teacher who lived with the family who had helped me. Everyone knew id stayed there and they were curious of this distant land. Excuse the Spanish…

I got quite emotional when my adopted Mexican mother refused payment for a large breakfast in the morning. It felt really good to be looked after again.

Out of the mountains I went, and then it was the rear tire to have a turn… going flat over a period of 10km i stopped and patched it roadside with the help of a logging truck driver who had also stopped to cool his brakes after the decent. He had air!!

The job wasn’t good enough because 60km later i was back in a mechanics fixing it again. Id missed a staple that was still lodged in the tire and had punctured it again. Three punctures in two days.. Setting an almost unbeatable personal record…

I was getting closer to the canyon though, i could feel it. The scenery was amazing, if i stopped for to take a picture every time i had a wow moment id never get there so i kept riding.

These rock walls went for miles across the countryside.

I asked the fuel attendant if i would reach Batopilas by dark, he said ‘no’ and that i should set up camp. Good thing i didn’t because at sunset i entered the canyon, 50km short of the end of the road (Batopilas). It was a sight to behold…

I could see the road in the bottom i was to follow but it was nearly dark so after pushing through a heard of goats 10 minutes into the decent i found a spot that was graded flat.. Perfect!

The morning was an absolute treat…

I got to Batolilas the following morning, a settlement at the end of the road, quite backward but substantial compared to many villages i had passed earlier. There was accommodation and restaurants so i had breakfast and then turned around to climb back out. It was everything i had hoped for!!

I had almost reached my camp-site from the night prior and the clutch cable went.

WHAT???? What have i done wrong? i thought as i got my bike to the side of the road by pulling the clutch cable with pliers. I nearly lost everything off the cliff as the back tire went over as i was concentrating on pulling the cable. With a huge push and heave i retrieved her from near death and scanned the area for shade. None, and it was frikkin hot!

I was quite pleased with myself as i had a spare clutch cable in my bag so i set about repairs, while the heat would have killed a large fish, the view was second to no other workshop ive seen.

The day ended when i got to Creel, another 100km. The front tire flattened as i had something to eat so i checked into this motel where i had my cloths washed, flat repaired a long shower and a mattress.

Approximately 900km to the USA, i plan to cross at Nogales and try and find tires, sprockets and chain in Tucson…. The land of opportunity!!

I have a mixed feeling of excitement and nervousness to be back in the English speaking world.

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