Breaking Rad...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Osadabwa, May 13, 2019.

  1. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    593
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    Couldn’t sit still. Had to go ride. Over the weekend, I got replacement body armour for my slowly disintegrating, but trusty, Alpine Stars armadillo thing. This one is a shiny, white Leatt and I wanted to see how it felt… I already knew it made me look like a Stormtrooper. I left early and struggled to get into the rhythm. On the way out of Nairobi it was sketchy as hell with wet red clay on the tar roads where dump trucks had spilled it. Like riding on ice, particularly with a quite bald rear tire and a falling-apart front. It put me in a cautious mood as I started into the valley along the new railroad.

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    Above: Everything’s better on the dirt. I spent some time adjusting clickers and enjoying a cooler, greener, less-dusty valley.

    There are so many new roads now that service the railroad. I followed the main one awhile and ended up in a huge, barren area where they’d mined soil and stones for backfill. A little track led out of it, and, though I could see it was rocky and steep, I was warmed up and keen to give it a go. My enduro skills let me down, and I stalled in a large stone section from which a bit of off-bike manoeuvring to extricate myself was required, but I managed and was feeling good. I often end up doing more technical stuff alone. I try to make sure it’s nothing that I can’t handle one way or the other.

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    Above: A new road down into the valley servicing the new high-tension lines and the railroad

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    Above: My rocky ascent from the quarry… another day I’d have cleared this spot, but today I needed to do some pushing and pulling to get out once I’d dug myself in. A nearly bald rear tire didn’t help matters, but it’s my lack of skill that cinched it.

    Having successfully broken a sweat, I kept up the exploration and dropped off the big dirt onto a rocky path leading to a quarry in the distance below. I don’t know what the stuff is useful for, but it was gleaming white in the morning sun and quite a funky spot to explore.

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    Above: Back off the main roads in search of littler tracks

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    Above: Red bike down in the white mine

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    Above: I imagine all of that stuff was spewed out of Mt. Suswa or Longonot a few hundred thousand years ago in a hot, toxic ashcloud

    Having reconnected to one of the usual tracks, I sped into Ewaso Kedong for a Coke and the worst mandazi I’ve had in a good long while. It would have made a better roofing shingle, frisbee or floor tile than a food item, but I was hungry so it went down anyway. From there over to Najile on what has become a truly abysmal road full of ruts and stones, and even more annoyingly: bodabodas. There’s so much more activity down there than only a few years back.

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    Above: Having turned toward home, I paused under a lovely shade tree to tinker with the clickers again and explored off-piste where I had a great view of the rift. Nice pics I took too, but they died with my phone a little later on…

    I’m always looking for little tracks that crisscross the valley, hoping to open up new riding possibilities in a place I sometimes think I’ve explored to death. To my surprise, today I found some, and even though they didn’t connect anywhere really, it was fun to see a new place and it somehow highlighted just how rugged and beautiful this place is (despite the charcoal burners). Again, better pics went to digital heaven along with my Samsung.

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    Above: Looking down on a school in the distance… I think the teachers just gave up and let the kids go on recess when they saw me… the kids were kind of distracted by me and the bike. The many bluffs of the valley become more obvious from up above. It’s a rough place to eek out a living.

    I zipped back home on the usual track beneath the Ngong Hills, but I don’t think you can really call anything “usual” anymore. This time, there were washouts from previous rains that made me pucker and a few new culverts that startled the hell out of me because they looked like huge holes (black soil being used, not wisely, to cover them up). The amount of effort being put into trying to keep this road alive is silly. They won’t succeed. The forest that used to climb the shoulder of the Ngongs is going going gone… now when the big rains come, water rockets down the slope like a freight train.

    Then, just like that, I crashed. Hard. I was within a few kilometres of the tar on a bit of track I know like the back of my hand. Just coming down the hill to where the pipeline crosses, I hit something and was on the ground crashing over embedded stones in an instant, the bike making an awful racket as it left metal and plastic bits everywhere. Turns out my new protector is the bee’s knees… didn’t feel a thing where the pads were… badly sprained my wrist, but that’s cause I still haven’t learned to fall right.

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    Above: Beats the hell out of me why, but here’s where I went down. I actually think it was a front wheel wash out… I have a shagged tire and a tired mousse up there and I think I just came in to the rocky part off-centre and maybe a little bit relaxed and lost the front. I’ll be ditching that setup post-haste.

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    Above: Unfortunately for me, I cracked my radiator… again… and it was leaking pretty heavily. I tried in vain to fix it with JB Weld, but just ended up making a horrible mess. Lots of people came by to offer help. One lady offered to let me leave the bike at her place while I organized a pickup etc. Considering how we ride through this place sometimes, engines screaming, dust flying, spooking the animals and kids… I was humbled by how empathetic they were to me and my plight. In the end, I just started the bike and took off for home, sprained wrist screaming over the last km of recently deposited stones to the tar. I stopped every so often to top up the radiator at petrol stations and made it home with no problem.

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    Above: Well, almost no problem… I killed my phone. Body armour worked though. Thumbs up for Leatt!

    My new phone has been delivered to my house already (3 hours after getting home… sometimes Nairobi’s service industry blows me away). Now to place an order for replacement radiators… Oh the joys of off-road motorbiking!

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    #1
    GottaSeeItAll, GAS GUY, EMFL and 8 others like this.
  2. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Damn @Osadabwa, no good to be testing your new body armor like that. Always good to have solid protection, but never good to have to use it. Glad you were ok, though it sucks you lost the photos taken with your phone.

    How tough is it to get a radiator for the XR? Assume there are plenty of options for aftermarket bits?

    Quoted the pics below as they're pretty damn cool, so this is where mined? Looks more like a natural formation given the walls in the pic - doesn't look like that was made by a machine (but what the h*ll do I know...lol).

    Thanks for taking the time to post, always enjoy seeing your pics and reading about your journey. Hope you're able to source a new rad shortly and get back out there. I feel you on the sitting still bit; have been back from Death Valley for several weeks now and have the itch to get back out and away from civilization.

    #2
  3. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    593
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    I have been told that the white deposits are called diatomite and it was formed by the deposit of bazillions of single-celled aquatic algae back in the day, not volcanic activity. It is a natural formation, but also a mine. The stuff isn't mined formally, but there were several places where hand-cut tunnels went in that I just didn't photograph. The area is also a collection spot for another type of rock, again informal, but they don't get much more than a few dumptruck loads out at a time.

    I pulled the radiator and was in the midst of trying to do a bodge job on it with Panic when clearer heads prevailed and we sent it downtown to the radiator repair guys. They're going to block off 4 channels and I'll be good to go, temporarily. I have a used radiator pair coming from the US along with a protector from Unabiker, so I hope that is the end of the story for me.

    Now that the swelling has gone down, I can see by a whacking bruise that most of my weight landed on my fore-arm, just above the wrist. The Leatt has a thick pad there that took the brunt of the fall. Since I went down right on top of a lot of embedded stones, I'm happy I was wearing it.
    #3
  4. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    593
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    This afternoon, the radiator came back from the shop. Initially I was told they would block off four channels, but they ended up soldering it up instead. The guy said he didn't want to reduce my flow to 60% which I appreciated. He also threw in a couple emergency rations of cooling system Stop Leak which I may take along in future (pending a bit of research... not sure how it works yet).

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    Above: On the left is my road-side repair attempt plus a bit of faffing Panic and I did at his place before wisely sending it off. The middle is the rad out of the bike, so shiny after it's acid bath or whatever they do. No traces of that crappy JB Weld left and soldered and straightened (a bit). I don't mind at all that it's a gloppy job... I'd rather have 100% certainty against leaks than something purdy. On the far Right, the radiator is installed, this time with a brace for the big IMS tank I'll install soon. The brace is a copy of something the Acerbis guys include with their tanks (IMS does not... crap design all around), so I'm having it fabricated. I'm off by an inch with this latest iteration on one side.

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    Above: As I was refilling the radiators, this guy rocked up and challenged me to a race. I backed off, making excuses about my sore wrist... I know an ass-kicking when I see one.
    #4
    liv2day, Suncoaster and Amphib like this.
  5. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Ok, I know this is a bike forum and all that, but the shot of that chameleon is cool as hell! Never seen one that color before, what the heck was he/she doing wandering around your yard/shop/garage/etc? And he/she might need a bit of help with the whole being camouflaged purpose...not exactly blending in in that pic :lol3 :lol3

    Glad you were able to get the rad sorted and back on, looks like those guys did a good job with the fix. Hope it doesn't take too long to get the rads from the states.

    Looking forward to your next rip @Osadabwa :ricky :ricky
    #5
  6. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    593
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    The chameleon benefited from a liberal dose of Photoshop in post-production to make him Honda Red. His stock Kawasaki Green color didn't match my stable at all. This is the second time I've found one in my driveway. Nearly stepped on this guy in MX boots, the last one was actually climbing up on my XT500's bars. Maybe chameleons are all bikers deep down... found this guy on a bush I was peeing on during a ride and he immediately pulled a wheelie in appreciation...

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    #6
  7. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Bwahahahahaha...that's awesome man. Great job on the p-shop work for the Honda red, that's frickin' funny. And really cool to have those guys so close, have always liked the chameleon :thumb
    #7
  8. Gildus

    Gildus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    785
    Location:
    Oregon Territory
    Nice report...

    After messing up my stockers I went this route. Solid protection but more of a PITA to get on and off. Like the security on long, remote rides.

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    #8
  9. Osadabwa

    Osadabwa Don't be Surprised

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    593
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    @Gildus - Guess what's on its way from the US along with a fresh radiator? Unabiker guards. To be honest, I'm not sure I'll install them since I have the IMS 7 Gallon tank with braces that probably protect as well as anything, but we'll see. I know those Unabiker things are a ballache to install, but they are sturdy.

    I'm looking at the photo above and thinking: how in the hell can he keep that bike so clean! The magnesium cover is scratch-free... everything is spotless!

    Anyway, if you want to see the latest 10 day ride 3 XRRs just completed, the link is HERE.

    Cheers
    #9