One ride out with the local bike club and my clean sheet with the Kazakh police is wiped out as we all got pulled over en masse. Not really surprising as some of them were riding extremely fast. I know you are going to want to know what bikes were out with us - ummmm, not sure except the R1, the Africa Twin and a very fast BMW.
Luckily the police were not interested in me when they realised I was a foreigner.
Everyone from the Almaty bike club made us very welcome and we were presented with club mugs (Live 2 Ride), which we are determined we will get back to England in one piece- currently packed away in the pannier.
We rode up the mountain to the dam at Medey, about thirty bikes gathered there including a Bulgarian riding to Mongolia who is also making a documentary about his trip and so did a quick interview with us. A fast ride back down the mountain to the city and then dinner at a restaurant where the meat was served not on skewers but on swords and they searched in vain through the ten pages of the menu for something that did not have meat in it - as always, chips and salad is fine.
We were ready to leave Almaty - having been helped a lot by Den and his bike workshop (www.2wheels.kz) as well as Fedor giving a hand with the front tyre - thanks guys.
Two battered looking cars pulled up at the hostel, Mongol Rally competitors, the onlookers who were watching in fascination as I serviced Thelma looked up and asked me about the cars, they were frankly astounded to hear that the cars were taking part in a race -
"But it's a Fiat Uno" they spluttered (or at least the equivalent in Russian), I pointed out that yes, it's not just about winning but having fun, a bit of an alien concept and they still couldn't believe it was true.
The cars were an Italian and a Basque team, and they were very helpful with our tyre- in fact so helpful that they managed to destroy two foot pumps in their attempt to help out. Sorry to Team GB about your pump- Halford's finest I believe.
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