I looked up whereabouts to stay in Pokhara before I left Butwal and it seemed that all of the good places were around the Lakeside. This looked like a pleasant area to stay in so I headed that way.
Mountain Riding Without Brakes
Approximately 1,500km before I arrived in Pokhara I had a brake problem. I had gone to the mechanic because I had a an annoying rattle on my bike. It later turned out that it was actually the mudguard rubbing against my tyre but before we found that out the mechanic had the front wheel off and was checking the brake pads. In fairness they were very low and needed changing so he changed them.
When testing out the brakes after that the spring which sits inside the brake housing broke, too. This meant that there was no pressure when applying the brake lever so I had no brakes. It was fixed with a new spring and plastic part with a seal.
About 5kms away from Pokhara the same failure happened again, on my way down a mountain road. Not the best time for it to fail but I was able to stop without any issues. I road the rest of the way with just the back brake, slowly.
After a failed attempt at getting my bike looked at by the mechanic when I arrived because he was closed, I attempted to take the bike to him the next morning but unfortunately the bike would not start. This had not happened before. The mechanic, Raju, came down to help me and managed to get it started but said that there looked to be some lack of compression which accounted for why it would not start.
At the workshop we opened up the cylinder and looked at the piston and cylinder. There was too much play between the piston and cylinder so I needed to get a new one, along with a load of other work that needed doing like the brakes, front forks which were leaking oil, mudguard welding because it had cracked, battery recharging, head clean and polish because the insides were really black where oil had been leaking through the valve oil seals. The total cost for all parts, cleaning and labour was going to be 30,000 Nepalese rupee which was around £160 at the time of writing.
Reminiscent of Goa
Pokhara down by the lakeside is very much a tourist hot spot. It’s full of people who are going trekking into the Annapurna region, paragliding from a nearby mountain called Saranghkot and some yoga enthusiasts. This mix of people means that every night of the week there are those who want to go out for eating and drinking. When you don’t have anything in particular to get up for in the morning it is very easy to go out each evening doing what comes easy – eating and drinking!
It reminds me of when I was in Goa as each night I would be going out drinking. However, Pokhara is a little more expensive because when I go to drink I am drinking from the bars and not back at the hotel. A cocktail like a long island ice tea costs around £3.50 and a beer around £2 per bottle.