Unhospitable punctures in the middle of nowhere

Trip Start May 07, 2007
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7
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Trip End Aug 06, 2007


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Flag of China  ,
Tuesday, June 5, 2007

After I left the monestary early I cycled through a heavy rain storm for about an hour. Then carried on West.

I had about 80km to get to Shigatse, where a pre-booked 3 star hotel room awaited me.

The only thing I didn't count on was bicycle problems. I stopped for lunch, in the middle of what can only be described as a desert. Needing water I made the mistake of cycling down a reservoir, 5 minutes from the road. When I got back I found I no longer had air in neither tyre.

Getting my puncture repair kit out to fix the problem, I then discovered my tyre levers did not work properly, and I had no screw driver or other tool to force the tyre off the rim. I was stuck in 40 degree heat, at was 2pm, literally in the middle of nowhere.

I tried to flag down buses, coaches, cars, they ALL ignored me.

An hour later, sat dispondently beside the road, with my bike dismantled I managed to stop a driver, but he spoke no English, and I spoke very little Chinese!

A minute later a coach then stopped, and everyone got off to take pictures of me in my predicament. Fortunately their tour guide DID speak some English. She translated and the car driver agreed to take me the last 80 km to Shigatse. I had to dismantled the cycle rack off the rear of the bike frame to fit it into his boot, then throwing my pannier bags into car his boot disgustingly at the whole spectacle. We continued our respective journey only after we used some elastic to hold the boot 'down'.

An hour later he dropped me off at a cycle repair shop, refusing to accept any petrol money I tried to hand over. The kind shop owner charged simply me 3 RMB, thats around 20p to fix the two punctures!

I'd checked into my hotel around the corner whilst the punctures were being fixed. The receptionist and 4 other staff most bemused when I arrived later with my mountain bike. As there was no where to store it I was forced the carry the damn thing up to my room for safety, where it 'slept' with me for the next 7 nights!

At least I had the luxury of a week long stay in a 3 start hotel in Shigatse. With my plan now simply to head further West and to get to Mount Kailish.

I would only later find out this would not be possible :(
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