Dizzy and I head off and I feel great again, I just love riding this and am once again happy and content but beginning to feel like I am in Groundhog Day and cannot get of Russia as the Km crawl slowly by.
I do about 650 or so km and start to get really tired and see a sign for Ulan Ude. We stopped there before on the way to the BAM road so I decide I’ll do the same and try persuading the hotel we were in to take me in. 3 km along the turnoff to Ulan Ude and I hear the most unbelievable bad noise. This grinding scrapping screech. YIKES I immediately stop get off my bike and have a look at it . I cannot see anything falling off so think ok let’s try and slowly and try assess where this noise it. I immediately hear it again and know it’s the back axel and now the wheel is starting to feel strange too. I have a look and can see bits of steel poking out and the rubber seal totally disintegrated. DAMN well I think at least I am close to town so can try grab a lift and find a mechanic.
Just then a Russian couple pull up on a bike, Joan (John) and Ihlena (who speaks some English) and are on their way back after travelling across Russia to Vladivostok for a bike festival. Just then a local biker pulls up and Joan asks him to show us the way to the mechanic. This guy does so but says the mechanic and most of the bikers are away for the weekend at another festival. Joan is a mechanic and offers to see what we can do once we get to where the mechanic workshop is. Surreal.. It’s an old abandoned building that the local bike club have taken over and turned into a workshop but sadly that is locked. Anyway we camp outside and Joan takes the wheel apart. It is so depressing there we sat with pliers pulling bits of steel out of the axel tube from the shredded whatever where the ball bearings sit and there is one ball bearing left. Joan takes the tube to some worksite on the road and gets them to rebore the middle. The next day he goes into town and finds a new part with bearings and voila my wheel is back in shape. DAMN how lucky am I. He also gets some stuff to put in the radiator to plug the hole. They are an awesome couple and we had a great evening so decide to travel together for 2 days as we are going in the right direction. We pack up and head off in great spirits.