Myanmar -one of the poorest, and yet most untainted countries in the world. Rough on tyres, but soothing on the psyche...

Myanmar holds the record for flat tyres on this sojourn. Sixty-seven, to be exact. Most of them were innocent enough, considering there are no paved roads outside its bigger cities. But I experienced quite a fair amount of rather unusual “foreign” objects that worked themselves in through the tyre casings on my Burmese, “Oriental Empress” 3-speed. Bronze nails, belonging to horseshoes from ancient Mongolian marauders; metal caps, from ubiquitous Coca-Cola bottles, recently cast off by Japanese tourists; shrapnel, left by British Hawker Hurricane raids during WW II; pottery shards from centuries of goods traveling across the trading routes from China... Basically an archeologist’s treasure trove.

Hey, My 3-speed is into collecting history. The Empress seems to have a soft spot for the past, as I discovered while continually removing its wheels during flat repair operations. The bike’s right rear dropout turned out to be fitted with an exotic, antique Campy Portacatena chain hanger!

ALRIGHT, so what’s going on here, I hear you Eagle readers saying. I have been letting these monthly Campy column coincidences slide, due to rolling momentum, and because it made for good copy... But as you know, I’ve been studying the phenomenon, and I, Global Freddie, traveling down these crockery-shard strewn roads of ancient Burma, now have a crack-pot theory. There has been a tear in the Time/Warner publishing continuum. Ted Turner’s old corporate computer has to be a closet bike parts freak, downloading all sorts of Campagnolo files after hours, to make up for the creative abuses it is subjected to during its day job. When I submit my monthly column state-side, for publishing in the Eagle Newsletter, the giant Time/Warner main-frame must be cleverly purchasing previously sold Campy parts on eBay - off of their completed listings page - so as to have them delivered two weeks earlier, whereupon, with a small Fed-Ex up-charge, the parts are probably installed on my indigenous 3-speeds, often while I’m pedaling in a previous country!

Good... Now that we’ve got that all cleared up and out of the way, let’s pop on over to China, shall we? -Global Freddie.

<INDEX                                              DECEMBER - 2000                                               NEXT>


Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie