Thursday, September 2, 2010


 What is a cycle tourist without a bicycle?

How flimsy is the architecture of comfort that we construct around ourselves while traveling. Remove one or two elements and it collapses around you. For a cycle tourist, though, the bike is like a supporting wall without which movement is impossible.

Two days ago, we arrived back to commence the second leg of our Central Asia-Middle East odyssey. Unfortunately our bicycles did not. Somewhere between Milan, Riga and Tashkent, the Surlys are having their own unplanned holiday. With the temporary scaffolding of our local couchsurfing host/legend, Igor, we are keeping out the ill winds and bunkering down.

We sit here in the capital of Uzbekistan, in the middle of a public holiday period, making phone calls and checking a couple of times a day the online tracking status of our ‘delayed’ bicycles. I mean, really. They are 17kg of steel-framed, green plastic luggage-wrapped, odd shaped cargo. How easy can they be to lose?
I have previously been relieved of all important documents, wallet and camera while in Thailand. Learning from that adventure, I now try not to place everything in one bag (leading to multiple bag searches as I forget my ‘important places’). I also learned that the people around you are generally helpful (especially your travelling companions), while the people in bureaucracies are often not. Furthermore, most things are replaceable, as long as you can access the right paperwork. 

Sometimes, though, despite your best efforts, your possessions don’t stay with you. And replacing a custom-built touring bike is not as easy as a passport. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that, and the combined efforts of Italian, Latvian and Uzbek baggage handlers will get us on our way soon.

Happy Independence Day, Uzbekistan.


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