Friday, January 23, 2015

Guadalajara and Giving a New Tire a Try: The Pirelli MT60

We’d heard that Guadalajara was a city not to be missed, so we headed in that direction from Aguascalientes.

The free roads are slower, more picturesque and take you through a lot of small towns along the way. All of these things are good, but for the part that each town has anywhere from 2-20 topes - large speed bumps or strings of metal or plastic mounds. They’re rather annoying, to say the least.

We enjoyed our first night wild-camping just outside of a small town up on a hill overlooking the town lights, just below the gate to a cattle pasture. The next morning a guy on a 150cc Honda came riding up to turn on the water for the cows. We were just packing up and were slightly worried that he’d be annoyed by our presence, but instead, he told us that we could move our campsite behind the gate (which he was offering to leave open for us) up on top of the hill because it was prettier there. Welcome to Mexico.

Guadalajara Centro was indeed very pretty and there were tons of people enjoying the historic buildings with us. The highlight for me was the José Clemente Orozco  murals in the Palacio de Gobierno: Lucha Social - Social Struggle and The People and its Leaders, which is in the State Congress Chamber and is meant to depict Hidalgo signing the decree to abolish slavery in Mexico. 

Jose Clemente Orozco's "Lucha Social"

Orozco's "The People and Its Leaders"

While Guadalajara was nice, it wasn’t our city so we left and headed in the direction of Guanajuato.

Again, we were taking the free roads which brought us through every small town. My rear tire needed to be swapped out, and apparently 17 inch tires are not that common in Mexico. (After an hour of calling around while we were in Aguascalientes, we had resigned ourselves to waiting until Mexico City to change the tire.) While riding through Arandas we spotted El Gato Motorcycle shop and it looked promising. Sure enough, there was ONE 17 inch Pirelli MT60 sitting right there, practically waiting for me. Pirelli is usually not in our budget, but Manuel, the shop owner was willing to give us a great deal and was extremely kind and generous. He had one of his employees change the tire in the shop next door (for free) and even gave me an oil treatment once he heard that my bike was burning oil. While we were waiting, he showed us awesome photos of his time as an off-road racer. Obviously, he’s just generally passionate about motorcycling and it was evident in how his shop was stocked and set up.

Lucky for us we chose to ride the small free roads. Because of this, we got a Perelli tire for nearly 30% off, met a great fellow rider, and both bikes have new or nearly new tires all around

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