I am one step closer to getting out of here, but possibly also two steps further back. I am one step closer because I made a decision about my brakes, which was to remove them from the bike and replace them with V-brakes. It took me a while to work out how to get the rear ones off though. I got as far as I could, then had a break and emailed the bike shop from where I’d bought the bike to ask for advice. While waiting for a reply I read Shantaram. I got hungry and was walking past my bike on my way out of the hostel to find food when something compelled me to stop and have a good hard look at the brakes. I had an epiphany as I stared at them. Knowing I’d work better on a full stomach, I went and got some food before returning and giving my idea a go. I was right. The problem was the fact that my gear cables are tied into the brake system, so I had to fiddle around with the gear system before I could access a hidden bolt that released the brakes from the frame. Just as I worked it out, I picked up my phone to email the bike shop and let them know I had found the solution. I’d received an answer to my request for help just one minute earlier. It was an unhelpful answer though, as the author hadn’t really understood what I was asking.

I proceeded to remove both the front and rear brakes from my bike. This is what has possibly put me two step backwards, given the fact that my bike is now brakeless and I’m not certain there is a bike shop in Kashgar with V-brakes in stock. Worst comes to worst I will have to order them off the internet and wait for their delivery. Just as I’d removed both sets of brakes, I got another email from the bike shop. They had cottoned onto what I was actually asking. They also basically said, ‘Oh, when you asked the other day about whether you can replace the hydraulic brakes with V-brakes, I forgot to think about the fact that the gear system is attached to the hydraulic brakes, so now I’m not sure…’. Not what I wanted to hear. I think I’m good though. I have had another good hard look at my bike and I think I will have no problem fitting V-brakes. I just need to find them.

In the evening I invited myself out with a few other guys (an Australian, Spaniard and Egyptian) heading to the night market. I joined them in having a cooked egg as a starter, but unbeknownst to all of us, the egg we ordered turned out to be the fanciest offering available, costing a whopping 25y. It was nice, but not that nice. It was made by mixing the eggs of a few species of birds together and pouring it back into the shell of the largest egg, which was placed on hot coals for cooking. We also got some barbequed duck and a rice dish. Dessert was by far the nicest: fresh ice cream from one stall, mixed with a sticky rice/honey/yoghurt dish from another. So good!

The egg stall

Accommodation $ Hostel
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 19,462km