My only saving grace in what was a very frustrating day was the kind nature of the Iranian people. My frustration was centred on tyre trouble. As I was preparing my bike I noticed my rear tyre was slightly flat. Ever the positive thinker, I thought I might get away with just reinflating it. Nope. A few hundred metres down the road and the tyre was slightly flat again. I surrendered and parked up, unloaded everything and set about repairing the tiny puncture in the tube. While doing so I noticed that one part of the rear tyre had frayed through. Ever the positive thinker, I thought I might get away with leaving its repair until I got to Tabriz. Nope. Three kilometres down the road I got another puncture. I surrendered, parked up, unloaded everything and set about replacing the tyre with one of my two spares. Task complete, I was just about ready to hit the road again when I noticed that the rear tyre was slightly flat. Again. Ever the positive thinker, I thought I might get away with just reinflating it. Nope. A kilometre down the road and the tyre was flat. Yet again. I surrendered and parked up, unloaded everything and set about repairing the tube. I couldn’t find a puncture in the tube, so I put the tube aside and fitted one of my two spares (both of which have been used previously). Task complete, I hit the road. A short distance on and the tyre was flat. AGAIN. I surrendered and parked up, unloaded everything and set about working out what the hell was going on. I decided to take the drastic step of emptying my valuable drinking water into my foldable bucket, and looking for a leak using the air bubble method. I couldn’t find any leak. I then tested the tube I’d put aside before. Yes! A stream of tiny bubbles told me that it had the tiniest hole. I patched the hole, fitted the tube and rebuilt the bike. By this time it was 2.30pm and I’d ridden about 12km. As I was packing my bike for a final time, I noticed that one part of my front rack has snapped…

What was good about the day? Throughout all of this trouble I must have had at least 15 sets of friendly people stop and ask if I needed help. I came away from these interactions loaded with food and water. From a police car I received juice and cake. From an ambulance I received a care package containing water, biscuits, chocolate bar and cake. The police car came by again and dropped off another juice. The ambulance guys (their station was just up the road) came by again and delivered a plate of hot food (rice, chicken and tomato). A boy from a nearby house dropped off a sandwich and bottle of water. A family gave be a bunch of apples. The list goes on. Only one time did I receive negative attention. This was from a policeman who had been in the car which gave me juice and cake. At my third roadside repair location, he pulled in beside me, alone in an unmarked car, telling me to ‘hurry up’. I tried to explain the ongoing trouble I was having, but he just told me to ‘hurry up’. He must have been getting nervous about me being in the area for so long. I’m not sure why, although it might have had something to do with religious celebrations going on nearby. On either side of me were the sounds of prayer. It is a religious holiday today, part of a multi-day celebration in the name of Imam Hossein.

In short, I didn’t ride very far because of bike trouble, but I had a nice time meeting more Iranian people and being gifted with enough food to feed a small army, or one hungry cycle tourist.

My short ride has taken me into an agricultural area in which there isn’t really anywhere hidden to camp. I rode down a track that has led to a dead-end amongst crop fields. A couple of kids came by and mucked around nearby. A man soon picked them up in a car. I chatted briefly with the man. I assume that the land is his and that his family are using their holiday time to visit their farm. The kids were just bored wherever they were and went exploring for a while. But with the day ending it was time to get going. Their dad came to get them and they are returning to their proper home.

It’s now completely dark. Let’s hope tomorrow goes better than today!

A slow day

Accommodation Free-camp
Distance ridden today 33.92km
Average cycling speed 13.1kph
Total distance ridden 24,214km