Minor issue, but the kickstand seemed a bit thin way back when I was first introduced to my green Future Neo II mermaid driving machine. Somewhere along the trek out from Hanoi it had ultimately given way and bent upwards like a freshly opened can of anchovies. Not much of a support for my heavily laden girl on anything other than flat smooth concrete. Surely we can find a new one in this lovely town of Luang Prabang, right? When vehicular parts wear out or break, you get new ones ... right? This logic didn't even remotely compute with the first mechanic we found when hunting around town for a fix.
Admittedly our Lao is VERY shy of conversational at this point, but we thought we were pretty good with gesticulations by now ... and, so did he! The forspent mechanic took a look at our bent out of shape kickstand, promptly realigned the metal with the road precisely as he saw fit, and "bam!" ... he thrust his mighty hammer towards the flimsy little bit of near sheared off metal that once was a kickstand foot and presto chango, bent metal is now somewhat less bent and the foot indeed makes more contact with the ground than before. "No charge, be on your way! Please don’t come back to ask me about your motorbike problems unless they are real problems." he says with a look and slight shake of his head.
Slightly dismayed at this fix, i.e., further brutalizing of the weak metal, we thought, "okay, he was the guy to fix this ... so how the hell are we going to actually get it fixed!?" We resorted to aimlessly driving the streets hoping for an answer. I’d recommend this for most travel debacles. We saw some of the smaller communities around Luang Prabang with their rural wats and a way of life outside the heavily tourist oriented center. Finally we ran across the Off Road Laos Adventures shop. Fabulous find by the way! The owner’s English was fantastic, he had beefy beast dirt bikes out front, and his tours sounded like they would be loads of fun, if not for the need for head to toe body armor. If you are the badass type and want to get out onto the real trails throughout Laos, this is the tour for you. After discussing their routes through the northern mountains of Laos for consideration for our own trek, the owner happily sent us along on our way to his own mechanic on the other end of town.
Upon arrival, the sky opened up and our first true downpour began. This gave us ample time to flail our arms around pointing at this thing and that and attempting to suggest that the problem is indeed not "fixed" and to please oh please just have a look at it and do something about it. We have kip we'd love to hand over to you once this is fixed. So after sharing space together under their awning in the downpour, they start taking action and before we knew it, the kickstand was removed from the bike and one of the mechanics was sitting on the ground with a welding torch in hand adding a beefy bottom to the flimsy foot out of a random piece of scrap steel.
Workshop safety in mind, of course always a consideration here in Laos, he artfully crafted this new foot bare handed, in flip-flops, on the ground with oil and engine components surrounding him, with his welding eye protection resting on the ground within arms reach just in case he might need it.
The result, job well done!!! My kickstand once again throbs with POWER!