Mud stops play; Peru

The first 20kms in Peru were bliss. Hardpack dirt. An easy going climb. Friendly folks. 

Then came the rain. And then came the mud…

Hardpack dirt morphs into tacky slush in the space of less than a kilometre.

Tyres baloon in size, and weight. I drag, slip and heft the bike forward.

Chain suck sucks. Put me down for a belt drive…

Note how mud oozes out from within the chainrings, like a cookie cutter.

An MO emerges. Grab stick. Poke at mud. Ride a bit. Swear. And repeat.

And it goes on. And on… And up… And up…

27 thoughts on “Mud stops play; Peru

    1. While Out Riding Post author

      That happened a while back… (-;

      Particularly with a 29er, where there’s less space between the front mech and the tyre. And with the mech I have fitted – a do-it-all Deore that takes up loads of room, compared to more svelte older XT models. One is winging its way to Peru at the moment.

  1. Zed

    Would a Rohloff have kept going in that? Back when I tried cycling on wet laterite my wheels wouldn’t go through the brakes.

    1. While Out Riding Post author

      It was really just getting stuck where the derailleur mech is bolted. It may well have happened with a Rohloff, but they’d be more room for the mud to ooze through, and less clutter to stop it.

      A Rohloff-rigid fork-disc brakes would probably be best, but I’m sure you{d be getting your hands dirty with that setup too. Just early, I’d briefly seen a few tourers from belgium heading in the opposite direction, who’d bailed and slung their bikes in a truck. They were running Vs and close fitting mudguards – things were even worse for them I imagine.

  2. gypsybytrade

    It’s a hard reality that bikes can’t do everything, and are not the best equipment in every situation. That’s a good way to shorten the life of a chain, and it always seems to happen to a new chain rather than a worn one. Hope the new XT hub seals are up to the task; at least that’s one less thing to worry about.

  3. Stijn

    That’s some bad goop. I’m curious to see how a belt drive would have performed in these conditions. The thing is that if a belt comes off it’s much harder to get back on then a chain. A Rohloff with a chain might still make the most bom proof setup.

    1. While Out Riding Post author

      I’ve had no experience with a belt drive, so you may well be right. Still, I guess the ease of maintenance would be nice. Seems like I’m scrubbing my chain every day.

  4. Pingback: Chains and things | gypsy by trade

    1. While Out Riding Post author

      That 20km stretch in Ecuador wasn´t quite so bad, as it was a descent. I managed to slip and slide my way down. This stuff was more sticky, unfortunately…

      Hope you guys are well. Thanks for the route profiles, very handy!

      Sun is out now (-:

  5. Gary


    Yes on the Rohloff but no on the belt. We visted with Ollie form NZ who set the record on the TD. He’s running a Rohloff and the new version Gates belt. He had already broken one belt by MT.

    I had the cassette side lock nut back off on my XT hub like you did on your Deore hub. Make sure it’s tight when you have an opportunity.

    We’re in Banff. Our ride to Vancouver is on the 12th.

      1. Gary

        I didn’t keep count but I’d guess I saw 8-12 people racing with Rohloff hubs. Salsa chose to put one on the tandem they built for Kurt and Caroline too. Kurt really liked it on the tandem, it was the first time he’d ridden one I think. He did say he wouldn’t choose one for a single though. Scott and I were talking and he and I agree we’ll see a whole lot more of them in TD in the future.

        1. While Out Riding Post author

          Hey Gary! Ultimately, I think a Rohloff excels when conditions are at their worst, and for rugged, long distance touring where keeping your bike running smoothly can be an issue. I’d certainly like to have mine right now.

          I can see why they’re not a must for the racing the divide, where for the most part, things are pretty good – unless you hit New Mexican mud! For tandems they’re great, as it’s harder to know what gear you’re in with derailleurs, and you don’t have the issue of shifting between chainrings, which can be a bit more awkward. I like being able to shift at a standstill too on a tandem.

          Still, they’re so ‘fit and forget’ that I wonder how much I time you’d save being able to almost neglect any need for bike maintenance, compared to their extra weight and the tiny increase in resistance. Remember the mud/stick prodding on the Cocopelli?!

  6. Dirk C

    That’s clay – good for pottery and bricks. Not biking. Your blog and photography are inspiring. All the way from South Africa.

  7. Steve Jones

    Come on Cass! You love this stuff really. Don’t fight the mud.
    Be ONE with the mud. BE the mud.
    That’s the spirit.!!
    Great pictures.

  8. Pingback: Loja to San Ignacio, Peru; a muddy Ecuadorian exit. « while out riding

  9. Pingback: In and out; gear swap in Peru « while out riding

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.