Ride: Letpadan to Gyobingauk
Terrain: Dead flat and lovely, completely shrouded by trees that line the road almost the whole way. Traffic is very light and good-natured. Watch out for ox carts - they do what they want.
Eat: You can finish this ride inside a few hours if you get a good breakfast, get the head down and do some work. Otherwise, there are the usual smattering of small towns along the way that will sell you snacks and bottled water.
Sleep: There is only one place for foreigners to stay in Gyobingauk and that's the Paradise Guest House. You'll find out why this is the biggest misnomer you've ever seen in the next post.
To read more about the town of Gyobingauk, click here.
Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, after that short interruption to your regular service.
WE'RE BACK ON THE ROAD!
Due to the shorter distance today, we didn't set off until 10 AM after the inevitable post-rebuild tinkering session. Today's unexpected delay was due to the front disc brake misbehaving to the point where each turn of the wheel produced an irritating rubbing sound that unfortunately not just dogs could hear. Us tinkering with it obviously led to the entire brake itself falling out. Neither one of us had maintained disc brakes before, so we were back to trial and error to figure out how exactly this could be fixed. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the day got hotter and our tempers got shorter. Why can't these things just work?
Anyhow, now we know a lot more about disc brakes, so it wasn't all bad. The rubbing is still there and surely slowing us down somewhat, but at least we have a front brake. Most likely the disc's a bit bent.
Today's ride was fantastic, and the perfect way to ease back into the saddle after three days off. Flat as a pancake and shaded by trees the whole way, it was an absolute pleasure.
There was really only one annoyance today whilst riding - that's right, our old pal the timing chain. It fell off four times and was becoming so infuriating that we decided to bite the bullet and tinker with the elliptical bottom bracket. This was terra incognita for both of us, and something we'd avoided thus far for fear of making a total balls of it and rendering the bike unusable.
Turns out it's dead easy and we needn't have worried. If you're a fellow tandem tourer (and why wouldn't you be - it's the best way to travel), check out this nifty guide on how to maintain this on your own bike.
For those of you who are unsure whether to fit an elliptical bottom bracket or a regular chain tensioner, read more opinions here.
Following up on yesterday's adventures in profiteering, we experienced some of the same today. This time, it was more amusing than anything, as the roadhouse we stopped in for a snack tried to charge us double the cost for food (we won this round), and another asked 1,400 kyat for two cans of soda but only gave us 500 kyat back in change for our 2,000 kyat bill with a knowing nod.
We could only laugh. It's hard to begrudge them availing of the opportunity – people like us don't turn up every day in these parts.
Before too long, we were in Gyobingauk and found the only guest house in town that was available to us. Boy, did they know we had no other option.