Across Continents

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Travel advice

I’d planned to push on through the mountains that separate east and west Georgia, heading for the town of Khashuri. But not today. Torrential rain. You’d be forgiven for thinking this sounds a bit weak and, ordinarily, I’d agree. The traffic is bad enough in the dry, but in these conditions, visibility reduced significantly by the spray alone, it’d be positively dangerous. I’ve quite a few years cycle commuting into central London, have ridden into Istanbul, so reckon I know genuine risk when I see it.

Add in unlit mountain tunnels, poor road surfaces and quite a few vehicles with bald – and I do mean absolutely no tread – tyres, and perhaps you can see why I’ve decided to wait for conditions to improve. Which should be tomorrow, fingers crossed. Forecast I use has been very reliable so far.

Besides, wouldn’t want to miss the run down from the mountains to Tbilisi. Foreign Office travel advice has quite a bit on this stretch. Kidnapping, local volunteer militia, unspecified criminal activity. Only bit they seemed to have omitted are the refugee camps from the recent conflict with Russia. Fortunately, much of the route is now a motorway so it should be fairly quick. And, yes, you can cycle on the hard shoulder. Or at least, it’s not against the law.

In the meantime, there’s always things to be done, clothes to wash, inner tubes to repair, interspersed with mugs of tea and coffee thrust my way by the friendly Russian housekeeper. Encouraging me to speak Russian as well. If only the phrase book included the expression for ’I really couldn’t manage a fourth fifth doughnut. No, really’. Definitely need to hit the road tomorrow, calories to burn.

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