Twenty kilometers north of Salta, Argentina my bicycle fork sheared off at the top of the headset. Thousands and thousands of miles of having the handlebars adjusted too high (so I learned later) weakened the metal, and it finally broke. By some stroke of luck, it sheared off while I was stopped, instead of when I was biking.
Shocked that my handlebars no longer connected to the bike, I hitched a ride to Salta, Argentina, where I was dropped off a bike store. The owner of the store immediately told me that the townâ€™s frame builder could weld the broken fork back together, and that I would only have to wait until Monday until the frame builder could do it.
Two days later, Alberto Alconce (below left) cut the arms of my fork off and welded a new stem that would go through the frame and connect to the handlebar stem. The pictures below show more or less show what happened. In the middle is a photo of me holding the old fork stem next to the bike, and where it broke. Alberto cut the arms off the old fork and welded the arms to a new stem â€“ you can see the new welds on the photo on the right.
Perhaps because the operation cost me only $5, I was not sure to trust the fork the rest of the trip. Fortunately, a good friend of mine, Dave Johnson, was flying in a few days to join me, and I was able to get him to carry a new fork from the U.S. I biked a few days south on the old welded fork, and then Dave showed up with a new fork that I installed. You can see Dave flexing and showing off â€˜his muscleâ€™ on the right.