• Cycling from Kent to Kerala to raise money for Friends of the Earth, via the world's classic crags.
  • Tom Lloyd-Smith's blog

    T’bilisi


    I now, finally, have both my Azeri, and Iranian visas stamped in my passport, so tomorrow morning i'll head towards Azerbaijan. The Georgian-Azeri border is only 50k outside T'bilisi, so this time tomorrow I will (touch wood) be cycling across my 14th country*. I always feel loneliest and most nervous prior to setting off following a hiatus and I've now been here for 12 days, the longest stay in one place for the whole of this trip. For me it's these moments prior to departure which are the hardest and once i'm off and rolling things get a lot easier, because there's always more kilometres to crank out, or a problem to solve (mainly finding food, or somewhere to sleep.)  I'm going to attempt cycling 2000km across Iran, alone, which on paper seems like a ridiculous thing to do. I try to remind myself that I have already come nearly 7000 kilometres, and overcome all the problems and obstacles that this journey has thrown at me so far. Turkey and Georgia have been harder work than the previous European leg, but have definitely been equally, if not more enjoyable. The journeys I've read and heard about from others who've done similar trips are universally impassioned in their enthusiasm for cycling both in Azerbaijan and Iran, so I have every confidence that the roads my freshly fitted new tyres will roll over in the next weeks will be just as rewarding and much fun as the ground that the worn ones saw.     Besides the new tyres the bike is freshly oiled and tuned, bolts which were working loose have been tightened or replaced, and brakes and derailleurs have been adjusted. I have stockpiled dollars for the Iran leg (it's apparently impossible to withdraw currency from foreign accounts within the country). I have planned my route, and have lined up a few places to stay along the way. So, no more procrastination. Here I go. Some photos of the last couple of weeks here in T'bilisi, when Ginny and my folks were out for a holiday, below. Georgia is a beautiful, and splendidly interesting country, but the real highlight has been the friendliness and kindness of it's people. I'll be sorry to leave, and it was a real pleasure to be able to share my time here with my nearest and dearest. Dad exits Stalin's train. The David Gareja Monastary complex Another fine Georgian panorama 1200k to Tehran... *UK, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan.

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    3 Comments

    1. Ginny
      Posted November 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Good luck!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    2. Jean-Pierre + Nathal
      Posted November 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Not 1200 km to Theran, but 1240 :-) ) Good treap Tom!
      Nathalie and Jean-Pierre

    3. Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Awesome website you have here but I was wanting to know
      if you knew of any community forums that
      cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really like to
      be a part of group where I can get feedback from other experienced people that share the
      same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
      Thanks a lot!

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