Disintegrating tires ↑ all posts

Disintegrating tires

Another long day. I was heading for Alexandropoulis, the last town before the Turkish border. Another 100 miles in the heat and again for the first few hours it seemed impossible. Today’s mental trick: do the first 50 km (that’s easy!) and don’t think about the rest. Now it’s just over 100 km to go - and I know that I’ve done this distance before starting later in the day, so no problem.

The most direct route is the motorway and again it has a huge hard shoulder to cycle on. Another toll booth encounter, this time the guy is really cheerful and a bit surprised to see a cyclist - “you can pass my friend, no cost!”. My rear tire has been slowly disintegrating and I was hoping I’d make it to Istanbul before it finally died. Unfortunately the rear wheel went flat after about 60 km, and I realised that I the tire was almost worn right through to the inner tube in places. I rolled gently to Xanthi, the closest big town.

In Xanthi center I asked a couple of guys with mountain bikes if they spoke English. “Of course!” they replied rather indignantly, and then gave me directions to at least four different bike shops. I followed their directions to the aptly named ‘The Bicycle Shop’ on the road out of town. The staff spoke little English but it was obvious what was wrong so they got to work. A few minutes passed and another man came into the workshop - I assumed he worked there as he chatted away with the staff, and then spoke to me in English, offering me cold water to refill all my bottles, and then made me a frappe from the coffee machine at the back of the room. Walking around like he owned the place it was therefore a bit of a surprise when he told me he was just a customer!

Rejoining the motorway after Xanthi there were, for the first time in Greece, the standard ‘No bikes, no tractors’ sign - I guess it is illegal to cycle on the motorway after all