So how did I go with my bike? If you would have asked me at 12pm, I would have said, ‘Horribly’. If you ask me now, I’d say, ‘Okay’. It turned out it wasn’t just a matter of fitting a nut and bolt through the hole, as there isn’t enough clearance on the inside of the frame for a bolt head or nut to sit without interfering with part of my Rohloff system. I returned to the hardware section of town and hunted around for a bolt with a flat head but couldn’t find one. Instead, I came away with a mini saw and a rasp, bought for AU$1. At home, I fit one of my bolts and nuts, then cut off half of the nut so it is flatter in profile. It turned out to be a neat-looking job and should hold well in the short term. At the very least it will mean I can get back on the road as soon as I am ready.

With this part of my dilemma solved, I then spent a really long time fitting my rack and mud guard. I had to work through a heap of bolt and washer arrangements before I found one that allowed everything to be attached in the best way possible. Keen to sort out my other issues without delay, I moved straight onto adjusting my front brakes, attaching my broken mirror (thank god for electrical tape) and fixing my pedal strap (after a lot of cutting and grinding I managed to get the bolt off and replace it). Finally, my bike was looking normal and I could put it aside. My next task was cleaning up the monumental mess I’d made in my room doing all of this work, including the mess in the bathroom that I made when I washed my bike in the shower well. I’m sure the hotel wouldn’t appreciate me doing all of this in my room, but it was really nice to have a cool space to work quietly and calmly and not be hounded by the little shits of kids that hang around outside.

After tidying things up, I finally thought to look at what time it was, my grumbling stomach suggesting it could be much later than I wanted it to be. It was 7.30pm, definitely much later than I thought or hoped it would be. Immediately, I started thinking about having another day off the bike tomorrow, soon deciding I would be better off doing so. I have been stressed out over the last couple of days and haven’t eaten properly so another day will give me a chance to get my body ready again for cycling. I also need to do a bit more food shopping in preparation for being independent through the next stretch of desert. On top of this, I haven’t gotten onto the things I was planning on getting done if I didn’t have to spend so much time on my bike. Thus, tomorrow I plan on having a more relaxed day in which I can get on top of everything and clear my mind. To ‘reward’ myself for my day’s work (especially getting the bike up and running), I bought some coke, lollies and ice cream, which I have just eaten while watching a movie.

Going back to yesterday. Soon after I wrote in my diary last night I finally came to the end of my dealings with AfterShokz, a company that makes headphones that are ideal for cycling. I’d bought a pair three years ago and enjoyed using them on this trip, but they died a couple of months ago. Six weeks ago I emailed the American-based company to find out about repair/replacement options, but they were not forthcoming with answers, or even replies for that matter. They were always ‘looking into it’ and ‘trying to contact sales teams Central Asia and Europe’ who could help, and I had to relentlessly pursue them to get updates. Yesterday they conceded that they do not do repairs, but that they could find a retailer in Europe who would be willing to offer me a discount on a new pair. Great! So they want me to hunt down a specific shop in Europe on my bike. I sent off one final email to which I wasn’t really expecting an answer unless I demanded one later (as has been the pattern): ‘You sell headphones on your website’, I wrote. ‘Couldn’t I just get the discounted pair through your website and have it delivered to an address that is suitable for me?’ Miraculously, this triggered a surprisingly helpful response. Perhaps they were finally sick of dealing with me. I received an apology for having been given the run around, along with an offer of a free pair of headphones that they will send to any address I choose. Woohoo! Persistence pays off once again. That’s three things now for which I am kindly being given free replacements – the most substantial is a completely new Gates belt and sprocket system, the other thing being Ergon handlebar grips. I was hoping to get a free Rohloff twist shifter to replace the one on my bike that is completely worn out and starting to crumble, but my attempts have thus far been shut down and it looks like I will have to buy one. Can’t have everything in life.


Accommodation $ Hotel
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 22,572km