Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Bike Ride: 7 August 2011

It was supposed to be cooler on Sunday, about 30C, and I seemed to have recovered enough from jet lag to risk a bike ride on the bike that Sandra borrowed for me from Alessandro (who is on vacation).  We had a light breakfast and headed out at about 10.30.  We decided to just follow the path down one side of the river then cross the last bridge and head back up the other side.  The path is still being built in places, but has been extended a lot further than it was at Christmas.  We stopped on the bridge for a photo-op.  As you can see there are rusting hulks all along the banks, the remains of a once bountiful fishing industry.  There are barely any sturgeon left and the caviar industry is left to poachers, who apparently shoot first and never bother to ask questions.  The Caspian and Ural river downstream is therefore out of bounds.  Government only allows access with special permits.

 After crossing the bridge we attempted to cycle back along the Asian river bank.  The path was much less developed and became a dirt track.  We followed it as far as we could into what may have been somebodies back yard.  I was ahead and therefore attracted the full wrath of a yappy little pug dog that much to the amusement of a couple of local guys who were having a chat, ran along beside my bike snapping at my ankles.  I had to turn away from the river as the path ran out and came upon a chain across the road.  I dismounted quickly, which seemed to make the pug a little less brave, but I didn't try to stare it out. Over the fence and out of range.  But Sandra was stuck behind me and apparently attracted the attention of one of the residents who was trying to turn her back.  She kept pointing ahead and saying "my husband" in Russian, and then she cycle dafter me.  Another passing cyclist had meantime caught and silenced the pug.  Next time we will be a bit more careful about where we go.  We stopped at O'Neil's pub and had a drink before finishing our journey.

We got home after about two hours cycling.  I haven't cycled for nearly 10 years and was rather saddle sore. Sandra has been out a few times with the cycling crowd so was better.  We had cycled about 25km, which was enough for me.  The route is shown below, just in case anyone is inclined to give it a go!

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