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23/02/2011 (julıan solo) – Mardin to Midyat – Sıck bıcycle

March 6, 2011

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Petrol station is the first stop to wash pots and put contact lenses in.  Tea is offered and I kindly accept, football talk begins and im reminded of how obsessed the Turks are with football, I get by with my limited knowledge and steer the conversation back to the coming roads.

The next town I go through is Arabic, I stop off a get some fantastic ‘peynir’ (Kurdish for cheese) and sit in a shop which sells the biggest bags of pasta I have ever seen.  I’m fascinated to hear Arabic again and try to formulate some sentences with the little vocabulary I have.  This area really is a melting-pot I want to understand more about their relations and interactions, from what I’ve seen and that cannot speak for too much they all seem to get along, I have heard no negative sentiments from anyone regarding the other.

The road ventures up the hill and its refreshing to have abit of undulation in the terrain again.  Syria was pretty flat and apart from Al Ghab had no trees,.  Trees are in abundance in Turkey, coming out the other side of a bitterly cold winter, but still hanging on.

The bike doesn’t feel good today, its grinding along and when I’m leaving Midyat, a new and young city with a huge amount of apartment construction happening, I notice that my crank (where chain attaches to the pedal arms for the uninitiated) are wobbling far worse than before.  This is a big problem, I notice a tiny bit of movement in Damascus but this has developed into a full on problem.

My mind filled with images of being stranded here for weeks on end waiting for parts to be shipped, or having to get  bus the remaining way to Tatvan.  I find a bike shop, its small and they don’t have tools for equipment I have.  Eager to help I see one of them about to try and prize the bottom bracket (bearing system which helps the cranks turn in the frame) off with a flat headed screwdriver.  No no no no, everyone in the bike shop is trying to think of solutions but this one has taken the problem into his own hands, I stop him in his tracks.

I decide to find a hotel and try and sort out the problem with bit of space and the use of the internet.  I find a cheap place in a very pink hotel and set about phoning my mechanic mate back in England who tells me it’s the bottom bracket that’s died, contacting the parts distributer in Turkey and Matthias our French friend who is coming out to meet us, but who lives in Lyon where there are well-stocked bike shops.

Bus is the last option for me, I want to pedal all the way and based on some sound advice from my mate in the UK I should be able to ride it, wobble and all, to the destination.  The only damage that will be caused will be the obliteration of a part I will hopefully replace in Tatvan or Van, if Matthias can find it!

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