Luis and Anabel were amazing hosts in Cabañas, they were nice enough to arrange the next accommodation in Palma Rubia with dinner ready. Anabel was an Agricultural Engineer whom like many more people in the island -and around the world-, left her profession because managing her own Casa Particular was more profitable.
Maps. If you are not going to have internet connection, make sure you do an off-line download on Google Maps, at this point you can download regions of 15-20MB at a time. Download all regions needed to cover the whole island while you have a decent connection. Have a back up plan and download the maps.me app. This last one is very solid but won’t have all the google maps content -as of this moment-. Then you can do any search or look up directions as if you were online.
Up to Cabañas the roads were very decent. Our speed was not limited by our self propel power but by the holes and patches on the road. We did not have any flat tire but Spaghetti (what we call our tandem bike) vibrated like crazy, we learnt later that we were not perfectly synchronized with our pedaling -this bike has independent coasting so either of us can pedal or not-. Now it was even more rare finding cars, the road was still paved but the most frequent vehicles were carts pulled by animals.
The day before we packed our bike for this trip we realized one of the derail cable connectors was broken. A regular single bike does not have connectors, the cable goes from the shifter at the handlebar to the derail, but this tandem bike disassembles for easier transportation, so the cables for derails and rear break are split more or less at the middle of the bike. We stopped at House of Tandem in Houston, where we purchased the bike before taking our flight and Marcia and Ric were generous enough to gave us extra cables and connectors, hoping that we never had to do this operation ourselves.
Right in the middle of nowhere we accidentally over shifted the high gear jamming the chain between the cassette and wheel spokes. We removed the wheel undid the chain links and finally were able to pull it out. Our victory lasted until we realized two cables hanging under the keel. Yep, the fracture at the connector (picture above) propagated completely. We changed the connector instead of undoing the handlebar tape to install a complete new cable and hoped for the best. We hung Spaghetti with a bungee to a tree, replaced connectors, and adjusted gears. It wasn’t the perfect job at first but over the next days it worked pretty well.
We made it to Palma Rubia after so many bumps and hills and were rewarded with an abundant dinner at Villa Luis Montesinos.