Posted by Krista
Tashkent, Uzbekistan

500kms to Tashkent – the capital of Uzbekistan – was our next challenge.

I worried that the temperature would reach 50 degrees on that long and flat road. Desert temperatures had already given us heatstroke and nausea and riding just wasn’t fun anymore. So we made a plan to ride from 5am until 12 noon, then rest in the shade for a few hours and cycle again in the cooler evening temperatures.

We found some roadside trees that were full of apricots and collected a bundle – one for me, one for later, one for me, one for later…

All was going well until we heard that dreaded “PSSST”sound. Dan had a puncture… but when we took the tyre off and looked at the inner tube, we found it was completely ruined, a jagged split of 30cm that no amount of patches could repair.

We’d already used up one spare tube a couple of days back in Bukhara. The young boy running our guesthouse had rapped at our door motioning to us that we had a flat. When we took the inner tube out to patch it up, we were shocked and confused to find a split in it that was half a metre long!

Now, sitting dejectedly on the side of the road, we fitted our LAST spare inner tube, looking at each other, nervously. If anything happens to this… spares would be hard to find out here.

As midday approached, we began looking for a canal or a river to sit by, rest, eat lunch and wait out the intense heat of the day, when an almighty =BANG=! blasted out from my rear wheel.

From 25km/hr, I skidded and came to an abrupt halt, my heart sinking. I knew this time that my inner tube had exploded and we had no other spares. With my head in my hands, I looked round to see the bare aluminium of my wheel exposed to the rough road surface. I winced as I saw that my tyre had peeled off the rim and a torn and shredded inner tube was hanging limp.

Dan ran over and, in silence, we inspected the damage. It was worse than we could imagine. The bare rim had scraped along the ground, and had been grated, leaving sharp, spiky edges.

My wheel, my precious wheel! Even if we would have had spare inner tubes left, with the damage to this wheel, we wouldn’t have been able to have fitted them anyway.

With the help of a local family who had heard the canon exploding, we flagged down transport all the way to Tashkent. It was the only choice we had – there, we could work on the wheel and hunt down the right size inner tubes. In this little town, the local bazaar only sold parts for huge 28 inch wheeled Russian bicycles.

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