On account of the flat tyres two days ago and the light theft debacle yesterday we had a lot of ground to cover today. 130km or around that, if we wanted to get to Kerman tonight.
In the morning the riding was hard since we had a headwind the whole time. It seems to get particularly windy in the desert quite frequently. Although there wasn’t much in the way of scenery to distract us we did find something to break up the desert riding.
Camels! We’ve seen camels before, but not roaming around the desert on their own. It’s one of those ‘we cycled here’ moments, seeing them just existing in their natural habitat. Finn has been talking about getting a photo with a camel pretty much since we left so we pulled off the road and chased the camels around for a bit trying to photo them.
It took a while to photo the camels, they weren’t that eager to hang around. But, persistence paid off and we road away happy in the end. 30 km of featureless desert followed this, but like an oasis the town of Kabootarkan appeared over the horizon.
In addition to lunch, what made Kabootarkan special was that the town was famous for its ice cream. The main road was lined with ice cream shops, it was all soft serve rose water flavoured ice cream and refreshing as anything. Not only that, but while waiting in Kabootarkan the wind shifted and we now had a tailwind blowing us to Kerman! Everything was looking up.
We flew along after lunch with the wind at our backs. Still had about 70 km to cover, but with the wind and the ground flat it wouldn’t be long before we reached the city. It always seems that a tailwind puts whatever scenery your riding through in a better light, and what to me before was a boring, featureless waste seemed now beautiful expanse of rock and sand, almost another planet, glowing in the evening sun.
It was dark by the time we arrived at Kerman. We were heading straight for the bus station with no plans to stay in the city that long. Missing the turn off for the station took us a bit further towards the centre than we would have liked but it worked out in the end. We stopped outside a bike shop to have a look in, I still needed a new chain.
Low and behold, not only did they stock Shimano components but a whole array of other bike parts and accessories. Turns out it was the main Shimano reseller in Iran here in Kerman which we learned after speaking to the owner Nima for some time. I got my chain and Richie a new front rack and panniers and we were away.
The bike shop was on the north side of Shariati Street, between the big roundabout and the interchange with Ferdowsi Boulevard, it’s called Puegot and Raleigh Cycles.
Nima gave us directions to the bus station and we made it there with time to spare, the night bus to Zahedan wouldn’t leave for another hour and half. To kill time we went to get something to eat and ended up waiting so long for it we were barely finished by the time the bus arrived and we were whisked away to load up our bikes.
We were taking the bus for two reasons, first we and been told that East of Kerman to the border is ‘dangerous’. I’m not entirely sure how dangerous it really is although the area is technically part of the golden crescent. The more definitive reason though, was that we were running out of time to get into Pakistan. With only three more days of validly to enter there was no way we could make it by cycling.
With everything packed up we got on the bus. This was the last day of cycling in Iran. If everything goes smoothly we should in Pakistan in the next few days.