QuickPeek: Rest days. Work. Craft. Cooking. Many cyclists. Chill.

During the days I stay for longer days in a place, I tend to write at the end of the hiatus. But this time, I have had a few updates to report and so I figured it might be a good time to write.

First up, we came from the awesome place of Sebastian’s at Sangolqui to another suburb of Quito called Tumbaco. In Tumbaco, there is a Casa Ciclista, a abcolute paradise of a place that is hosted by the Santiago and his absolutely adorable family. Though we were not technically on a bike at the moment, Santiago gladly invited us in and showed us around his beautiful house with lots of green spaces and a lovely place to Hammock.

Santiago’s place is a lovely spot for all touring cyclists and I suspect anyone passing thro this region makes a beeline and Santiago invites everyone to share his home with open arms. When we arrived, another feller from Chile, Alejandro, was already there and in the next few days, a bunch more would arrive. Bruno from Ecuador, Bryce, Leticia & their toddler Leo from France, Rafa and Anaeda from Colombia. We were all allowed free reign in Santiago’s home. He had been hosting cyclists for 25 years or so and had a wealth of experience and recommendations for us. Santiago would patiently explain every question coming his way and was a treat to be around.

A little puppy magically showed up in the house and she was one of the sweetest little pups I have seen. From the moment she came, she took over everyone’s attention. I was designated as the adoptive papa and I took care of her for a couple of days. I had thoughts of taking her with me on the road and was considering putting up a basket and whatnot on the bike to take her along. But reality prevailed and I decided it was probably going to be a bit of a logistical issue and when Bruno found a foster home for her, I had to reluctantly let her go. Well there will be another pup we’d find along the way, I am sure.

One of the days, we cooked lunch for the family and cyclists. I made Uppuma, Gobi Mutter & Sundal and Krista did a great job decorating and presenting the food. It went down well. Krista would meet a friend visiting her and go on a short tour and I had a few days to hangout and make myself busy.

The timing was ideal since I had a website dev project from a friend in Singapore. A paid gig which was rare for me, ja ja. I think I find more such jobs and work on them on the road. Though internet was intermittent, I took a few hours everyday to work on it and completed the work.

I took upon myself to make some craft work and taking a leaf from Joi’s Rubber Killer Initiative, I did my own hand sown Rubber Killer products. I found a used inner tube in the bunker (the garage we stayed in) and planned to make small wallets. I found some supplies in town and first up, stitched a small wallet with a magnetic clasp. The design was simple and was easy to craft. My fingers had gotten dexterous with hand sewing and I gifted the first coin wallet to Bruno.

I had a slightly ambitious idea for my next gig and wanted to make a slightly bigger wallet that can hold my other wallet, with belt loops and some card holders. Hmmm. I had to ditch the magnetic clasp because I planned to have credit cards in them and wanted good zipers instead. A small shoe shop in town was willing to stitch heavy duty zippers on my template for a small fee ($1.25 a piece). I had found some webbing straps left by other cyclists and some tough leftover fabric from another tailor. Bruno had a couple of key holders and that gave me an idea to add them to my design.

The Inner tubes were easy to stitch, but with all the bells and whistles, it was a work in patience. I wanted the stitches to be clean and straight and it was really difficult given the tubes had a curvature. I remembered Joi’s process of working with tubes. Cutting, cleaning, drying, putting it under weight to reduce the curvature etc. The stitching process was fun and after a numerous hours, I managed to stitch two prototypes that were pretty decent for a first attempt.

It had been, surprisingly busy days for me and it was a great way to spent some freetime. I suppose more wallet projects would be in order. May be if I can manage to make them well enough, they’d make great gifts for hosts and I suppose a way to make a few dollars on the road too!

Track Notes

Expenses: SG$ 99.79
Comments: Santiago's Casa Ciclista in Tumbaco is a must visit spot for anyone passing thro here. Do not miss!