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silver city

We are looking forward to getting to Silver City to rest up a little, restock our food supplies, repair our bikes and kit and generally take a break. The guys have tried to set up accommodation through Warm Showers but, on the afternoon of our arrival, nobody has responded. Cass rides ahead to make some phone calls while Jeff and I hang out in the sun by the side of the road drying out our gear and attending to some minor maintenance issues.

Housekeeping by the side of the road.

Housekeeping by the side of the road.

Jeff assisting me tweak my gears.

Jeff assisting me tweak my gears.

Eventually we set off to cover the 25 kilometres to Silver City with only a couple of hours light to spare. The ride is beautiful but somewhat hillier than expected and darkness falls, yet again, while we are still on the road. A full moon rises as we speed down the highway, blinded by the high beam headlights of oncoming cars. As soon as the sun goes down the temperature plummets and an icy wind is blowing.

When we arrive in Silver City, we have to track down Cass. The library where we had planned to meet is closed but Jeff and I find an internet connection at a local Christian drop-in centre where we discover that Cass has found a bike-friendly household that is willing to accommodate us.

Our home in Silver City for five nights. This household was very tolerant of us colonising the lounge room.

Our home in Silver City for five nights. This household was very tolerant of us colonising the lounge room.

The house is easily identified by the bikes adorning it

The house is easily identified by the old bikes adorning it's fence.

The house is home to an eclectic range of people, some chickens, a duck, a cat, a dog, and some off-site goats.

The house is home to an eclectic range of people, some chickens, a duck, a cat, a dog, and some off-site goats.

A number of household members share a passion for physical theatre and giant puppets. The top floor of the house is given over to a puppet making workshop

A number of household members share a passion for physical theatre and giant puppets. The top floor of the house is given over to a puppet making workshop.

Giant puppets.

More giant puppets...

... and giant wings.

... and giant wings.

The following day I visit the local bike shop to find out where I can get my pannier rack straightened and welded. I am directed to Bike Works, a community bike workshop where Dave is said to be the man I need to talk to. Bike Works doesn’t open until late afternoon so I spend the rest of the day exploring Silver City, checking out local cafés and bakeries and utilising the university wi-fi connection.

Silver City was home to Billy the Kid.

Silver City has been around for some time. It has been home to such legendary figures as Billy the Kid.

A mural on the main street. Silver City has a nice relaxed vibe.

A detail of a mural on the main street. Silver City has a nice relaxed vibe.

At 5PM I head for Bike Works and discover a fantastic community resource. Dave, it transpires, doesn’t work there on Thursdays but Josh is happy to help me in his stead. We leave fixing the rack until tomorrow as Dave, apparently, is the expert welder and I address myself, instead, to finding a wider set of handles bars from the boxes of spares parts available and replacing the brake housing and noodle that were also damaged in my spill. The wider handle bars should give me greater control of my bike on rough surfaces.

I return to Bike Works on Friday to work on my damaged rack. Turbus steel pannier racks are some of the best available. I easily straighten the bent part out in a vice and close inspection reveals what I had thought was a hairline crack in the metal is actually just the protective coating flaking where the metal was bent. A quick spray of paint and the whole thing is as good as new.

Bike Works: a community bike workshop. People can earn themselves a bike by volunteering labour for the number of hours equal to their age.

Bike Works: a community bike workshop. People can earn themselves a bike by volunteering labour for the number of hours equal to their age. Those older than 18 volunteer a fixed number of hours.

The workshop is beautifully decorated and very well organised.

The workshop is beautifully decorated and very well organised.

Yellow bikes are old bikes that are fixed up at Bike Works, which people can borrow free of charge.

Yellow bikes are old bikes that are fixed up at Bike Works, which people can borrow free of charge.

These two boys are earning themselves a bike by helping fix children

These two boys are earning themselves a bike by helping fix children's bikes for a Christmas programme.

Dave shows some youngsters how to replace a chain.

Dave shows the youngsters how to replace a chain.

An older boy, from the local Navajo reservation, is working on his own bike that he has earned here at Bike Works.

An older boy, from the local Navajo reservation, is working on his own bike that he has earned here at Bike Works.

Taking the bike for a test ride around the workshop.

Taking the bike for a test ride around the workshop.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Danielle | June 2, 2014 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Hi!

    I came upon your blog because of my interest in giant puppets! I would love to meet this family when I travel out to New Mexico, are they still active in their performances? I’m a performer/puppeteer as well :)

    Do you have the ability to pass along my email to them?
    I would so appreciate!

    Lovely blog!

    Blessings,

    Danielle

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