Limping Out of The High Atlas

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On our last day of cycling in the High Atlas, our bicycles decided to seek revenge for all of the punishment we’ve put them through…

It was almost as if the universe was a rogue mechanic. Within feet after hitting pavement, Gin’s rear seatpost bolt exploded, sending her saddle to the ground along with a jingle of metal parts bouncing down the roadway. Earlier that day I noticed a creak in my bottom bracket. It had gotten worse throughout the day, to the point of a ceaseless grinding that would surely bring me to a halt at any second. Thus, we had to make an early exit from the mountains after several days of stunning scenery and a few stretches of great (albeit very strenuous) riding. That particular exit was a serpent of tarred switchbacks bringing us down over 5,000 feet to a random town where we would either need to find a bike shop or catch a bus to our next destination. Here are some photos from the last couple of days in the Atlas:

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

From the last post, we left off during a long dirt route in the last post…
Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

Looks like a nice drop, but it’s time to find a camp site.

Velocity wheels for bike touring - p35 and Cliffhanger

Our dueling Velocity rims. Gin’s Cliffhangers now have a solid 12,000 kilometers on them and they are still as true as can be.

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

A glorious camp site on a hill overlooking the Atlas.

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

We has a hell of a light show that evening.

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Chicken Cous Cous, Morocco

The ride the next morning brought us into a small village where we immediately found a place serving chicken couscous. Delicious.

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

We rode through several completely desolate villages.

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

Not many people to be seen, but the buildings were interesting.

Bike Touring The High Atlas, Morocco

Bike Touring The High Atlas, Morocco

A working dog watching me from a ridge.

Bike Touring The High Atlas, Morocco

The kids got extremely aggressive in these parts.

Bike Touring The High Atlas, Morocco

The crisp and clear air added to the bizarrely surreal views.

Bike Touring The High Atlas, Morocco

An interesting ridge on in the landscape.

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Morocco’s version of street art.

Bike Touring The High Atlas, Morocco

Once again we hit pavement for a long traverse before we split off on a dirt climb.

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas
Our home for a couple of hours.

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

We found some fossilized seashells on the ridge at the top of a long climb… irony.

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

I followed this strange insect around for some shots. Similar to a hummingbird.

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

A ribbon of goat track to explore.

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas
Here is a good campsite…

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas

Gin whipping up some veggie and rice stew.

Bike Touring Morocco Dirt Roads - The High Atlas - Big Agnes UL3 tent

Another light show.

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

The High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Some nice climbing the following morning, before disaster struck.

Bike Touring - SKF Bottom Bracket

Only twelve thousand some-odd kilometers on the SKF; I am a little disappointed. I expected to get 5 times this although the sand of the Sahara may take partial blame.

For more information on this route, including GPS and logistics, click here. Also, check out our growing list of bikepacking and dirt road touring routes.

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  • Armand

    How did you guys ends up getting out of there with such bad mechanical troubles?

  • http://www.pedalingnowhere.com/ Logan

    Well, I was able to bolt her seat on with a spare bolt I had, but it was shorter, so the seat stuck straight up… she had to stand a pedal quite a bit. As far as my BB, it sounded horrible, but luckily didn’t freeze. From the town we made it to, we caught a ride to Casablanca and I eventually found a Shimano BB to replace it.

  • http://www.pedalingnowhere.com/ Logan

    Whhoops, see above…

  • David Dobbins

    Very similar to a hummingbird, indeed. It’s a hummingbird moth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroglossum_stellatarum

  • http://www.pedalingnowhere.com/ Logan

    Nice, thanks for the clarification!

  • http://www.bodenseepeter.de/ Peter Eich

    Thanks for your motivation – just two weeks until I will be there ;)

  • http://www.pedalingnowhere.com/ Logan

    Excellent… enjoy! I am jealous…

  • Guest

    Hope you grabbed those perfect brachiopod fossils!

  • Paul vanPeenen

    Great to read about your adventures in Morocco. We were there in January, 2012, and still rates as one of our best trips. Wish I had had an ECR for that trip. I’ve just bought one and can’t wait to put it to the test. I love your site. It was helpful in making the decision to get the ECR. -Paul http://www.2lovecycling.com

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