||[Aug. 16th, 2005|09:57 pm]
Nile for a Smile
The disaster I'd been worried about since starting out from Alexandria struck at about the worst possible of times. |
Half way to Quena the road crosses the river Nile itself, providing a spectacular view of the river, but placing me on the much less populated east bank.
Through illness I was already going slower than usual and was now cycling in the hotest part of the day when my rear tyre developed a puncture.
As disasters go this might not sound too bad, but it is a realistically common experience for any cyclist (much more likely than a car accident). The reason it was of such concern is that the rear wheel has to take my own weight, plus all my equipment in pannier bags, ruck sack and a tent.
Luckily it was a slow punture and I'd been able to loose enough weight from my load out to get off the bike before any significant damage was done to the wheel itself.
With a little help from a passing Egyptian policeman I got back on the road using one of my two replacement inner tubes.
The same thing happened again only a few miles down the road.
Now at 2 in the afternoon in the southern Nile region, out of water and with no shade as far as the eye could see and wary about risking my only remaining unpunctured inner tube to whatever had cost me the first two, there was no choice but to flag down a passing car and get a lift the last 20 miles to Quena.
The bike itself is now fixed and I was able to get to Luxor on it without problem the following day. The problem was a tiny steel slither that had made it though the kevlar weave of the tyre, and only poked up when the outside of the tyre was pressed upon (sadly, that meant when cycling it was poking up whenever the section of tyre it was imbedded in came into contact with the road, causing it to slowly chew through the inner tube).
Both punctured tyres have been patched up and can be used as spares should (God forbid) I get another puncture between here and Aswan. Even though both punctures were slow, and detected very quickly, the sheer loadout of the bike (even reduced from the start of the Nile for a Smile challenge) was enough to buckle the rear wheel.
It's not too bad and I'm confident that it will hold up untill Aswan.
I've rested up for two days in Luxor, seen some sight seeing (there will be some decent pictures to put up when this is done!). Some antibiotics from the pharmacy have also taken care of whatever was lurking at the bottom of the dodgy take away pasta I had in Minya (4 days was more than a enough of that).
Tomorrow is the beginning of the last part of my Cycle down the Nile, the two day route to Aswan.
I'm not sure how I feel about the 20 miles my bike was strapped to the roof of the car. A look a the distance I've covered makes such a distance pretty insignificant, but I might extend my cycle route a little south of Aswan to make up the difference. We shall see.
In any case.