Enter the Mototaxi Junket (1 of 11)

Written by: Jeff McMahan

Hurricane Irene spared me her misery. While shutting down the Tri-State airports for 36 hours, I encountered no glitches departing from Newark on Tuesday.

Met Travis in Houston and continued on to Lima. As luck would have it, we met Matthew from the team Pisco Sour Project on the flight down, and his partner Peter showed up while we were still at the airport.

The four of us spent the night in a hostel, Pax Puray, and flew up to Piura the following afternoon. Armed with a rental cell phone and USB Modem, I am feeling quite a bit ahead of the game than the Rickshaw Run, where I would lose contact with the outside world for days at a time.

Met most of the other teams last night at the Cadillac Bar, which literally has half a Cadillac sticking out of the side of the building.

Not a great idea to climb it after drinking as I found out. A fellow junketeer climbed up the side of the building to pose, and when he couldn’t get down, I tried to assist by walking under him and telling him to use my shoulders as leverage.

Once under him he promptly lost his grip and fell on top of me. At least I broke his fall, but heard a few popping sounds in my neck as a result and it is very sore and stiff at the moment.

Darwin award entry??? Almost.

Today we were introduced to the mighty Mototaxi! Got to drive on the street and off-road a bit. I can say without a doubt these steeds pose more of a threat than the auto rickshaw.

The drive-train goes to the rear left wheel, which creates a drift to the right that you must accommodate for continually. Because the power and weight are all in the back, turning the MT is an issue at any speed over walking.

No front windshield, totally exposed to the elements, shoddy braking system, these truly were not meant for what we are about to do, driving a distance equal to that of New York to Denver!

We went to a MT shop with team Salty Duck, picking up the essentials, including 2 chains, throttle cables, spark plugs, chain lubricant, oil, and other odds and ends. Very important, we purchased two MAG rims to replace the rear spoke rims on the MT.

All the bouncing we plan to encounter spells certain death for the spoke rims. The spokes over time will puncture the inner tube of the tire as one rides along.

So after a quick calculation on the current exchange rate, purchasing two new rims, tires, and inner tubes for roughly 100 bucks is worth the peace of mind.

Tomorrow we finish our shopping spree as we look for a hand pump, some tools, and a gas can.

We will also be looking to “pimp” out our new ride with a stereo system, and install the PA system that is a veteran of both Rickshaw Runs. A press conference awaits in a few hours, off to bed.

Mototaxi Junket is off to a grand start indeed!

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