Thanks to having sorted all my visas I could now head north to the Caspian sea coast and completely avoid some of the worst traffic on Earth around Tehran. There was just the small matter of crossing the Alborz mountain range first but I was rewarded by a stroke of incredible luck and ran into one of my adventure heroes on the road!
Another great week, buckets of Iranian hospitality, meeting stacks of cyclist plus a huge weight of stress lifted off of my shoulders regarding my various visas. I can now continue to roll across Iran at a far more leisurely pace.
If you’ve found this post looking for info. on extending an Iran visa in Tehran, as well as getting Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan visas scroll down to the red text.
It’s been one hell of a week! Injury, more bike problems, the biggest mountain pass so far, borderline sexual assault, a new country, brutal weather, TV interviews and the prophecy of Iranian hospitality showing itself in full force!
I’ve reached Goris in Southern Armenia and taken a day off after 4 days of very tough riding including two big mountain passes. The continuous climbs, accompanied by descents on roads so bad that my forearms burn as I lean so hard on the breaks, have all been made bearable by the incredibly varied scenery Armenia has to offer. In a single afternoon I cycled from a desert canyon to a snow capped plateau.
Note: If you have found this post whilst searching for info. on bike repairs in Yerevan, Armenia, scroll down to the red text at the bottom.
I’ve not moved far in the last week or so due to a combination of paperwork, a bit of laziness as well as some bike problems. With that aside Armenia has taken the crown as not just the most beautiful country on this trip but the most beautiful I have ever seen.
Quite a lot to cover in this post as, due to a lack of decent internet, I have not done a blog for the last 375 miles. I’ll gloss over some of the boring parts of this leg and focus on the juicy bits (Sleeping rough, muddy mountain roads and crossing fields and train lines in the dark).
It feels good to smash another thousand mile marker. Arriving in Trabzon in many ways marks one third of the trip as being complete. I’m exactly 3,000 miles into a roughly 9,000 mile trip and I’ve ridden through 40 of the 121 degrees of longitude that are the namesake of this blog. This is also where the real bureaucracy starts but I’ve hit the ground running by successfully getting an Iran visa, an application process more akin to a lottery.
Another little leg of the journey done and I’m glad to of found out that my fitness hasn’t seemed to have suffered too much despite my 6 week break back in England. I rode just over 400km in four days through fairly tough terrain climbing two passes over 1100m. Not bad at all!
Well I’m finally back on the road and have just finished my first little stint. I momentarily considered changing my route, heading south to Cyprus, but changed my mind yet again after realising the ferry to the island costs almost as much as a flight from London. I’ll save that trip for another day.
Around 50km or so North East along the road from Hargeisa to Berbera, the capital and port city of Somaliland respectively, there is a rocky outcrop that is home to a set of caves and shelters that feature what are considered to be some the best preserved cave paintings in Africa.