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People were wondering where Ian had gotten to. He was around last fall, and then did a bunch of permanents, was at the spring social, and then suddenly he was gone. Turns out he had gone on a walk-about. Here's the unauthorized posting of a message which Cheryl Lynch forwarded to the forum.

Wicked Permanent
by Ian Attewell

I'm happy to hear there is interest in my progress and am more than happy to share my progress to the Rando list. I've added a couple more thousand or so kilometres since our last exchange (now 7500km). I continued through Mexico keeping to the Pacific coast. It was incredibly hot through August and if I am sure my hill climbing abilities have improved. In Mexico I seemed always to be climbing hills. There was one particular hill out of Puerto Vallarta to a town called El Tuito that was 30kms long in up to 40 degree heat. Not sure what the elevation was, but it was high. After a few more weeks, I turned in the direction of San Cristobal, Chiapas (still Mexico) - a 50km continuous climb to well over 2000 metres. I´d already ridden 40kms before I started that climb. I had trouble
getting my speed above 7km/h and found myself at night near the top of the mountain. I slept in my tent in a family´s back yard. I´ve attached a link to a picture taken during the climb. Hopefully, it

From San Cristobal, I rode to Palenque to see the Maya ruins. Then made may way to Guatemala. I left Mexico at a small town - had to find the immigration officer to stamp me out of the country (he was busy watching TV) before loading my bike in a canoe type vessel to cross the river that marks the border. Then crossed into Guatemala and hit the worst road I´ve ever ridden on. Up to that border crossing, I had covered 7000km with a total of six flats. In the 70km from the Guatemalan border town until I almost hit asphalt, I had seven pinch flats, exhausting my supply of spares. At the seventh flat, I was only 5km from where the asphalt started. I hitched a ride with the Guatemalan police to the next town (Las Cruces, about 20km) and set about trying to repair at least one tube. The pinch flats had put big holes in the tubes and patches wouldn´t hold. 700 tires and tubes are
rare in this part of the world and I couldn´t buy a new tube in the small town, just dubious quality patches. I finally got one tube to hold air and was able to continue to Flores in the north east of
Guatemala. Then headed to a town called Coban (backtracking a little) with the idea of staying put for a month and learning Spanish. I´ve been here a week or so and on Monday move into an apartment for three weeks - what luxury! (One week of Spanish lessons completed, three
more to go). The climb into Coban made Mexico´s hills seem like they weren´t really trying. My front panniers both required repair so all the weight was on the back of the bike (maybe 50lb) and at certain points I came off the bike because I couldn´t keep the front wheel on the ground. Fortunately (?) I was only managing a speed of about 4km/h. The 75km day took me a total of 7.5 hours and my right knee was hurting (still a little twingy even now).

The climate is cooler here as I´m at around 1300 metres above sea level and the town is friendly. From here, I intend to head to El Salvador and keep heading south. A friend in Vancouver is organizing the shipment of a couple of new tires (Scwalbe Marathon XR ´s, 35mm) and I have high hopes for their performance on less than ideal road surfaces.

The bike is doing amazingly well for all the abuse it has taken and the almost complete lack of maintenance it has received. Next time though, I might seriously consider a 26¨wheel tourer. With the weight of all my gear, I don´t think the 700 wheels offer any particular speed advantage and are almost certainly slower on rough roads. Still, they mean that I have to be careful.

I still think Vancouver to Cabo San Lucas or vice versa would be wicked permanent.

Thanks again for checking on my progress. Hope all is well in the BC Rando world.


Cabo San Lucas


October 3, 2009