We pedalled up residential streets to the precisely placed dot on the map of the first bike mechanic, and rang the bell at the gate. “Pazhalsta, vilasipyet mikhanik?” I responded to the intercom voice. Here we met the competent and well equipped Oleg Yuganov. Our first try and last night’s chance meeting had brought us to the best bike mechanic in town.
For reference to other cyclists passing through Bishkek:
st. Serova 14A
Oleg installed new chains for us, inspecting our cassettes and saying they’d last another chain. He adjusted Chris’s hub. When asked about patch kits, he offered us a new option of foam to be inserted into the tubes which (theoretically) self-heals punctures, and which has been adopted by the mountain bike types. Being conservative touring cyclists and unfamiliar with this new technology, we resisted mainly because it would add 0.25 kg to each bike, so he told us to search Alamedin Bazaar for patch kits.
With instructions from our gastinitska hosts, we took a bus to the bazaar where, after some searching, asking, and drawing of diagrams of patch kits, we found the fix-it section and bought two kits. We tested both of these on old tubes, and decided one type was OK. We also rotated our tires (front swapped with back) and drove some pins from the old chains so we had spare pins. With clothing purchases made the next day, a wrist brace for Chris, and more inner tubes, we think we are ready to roll again, and are planning on leaving for Osh on Thursday.
The Radison Guest House, run by Gulsiya and her family (Her son is Radic, hence the name) has been a wonderful place to rest and recuperate. Gulsiya and her family have been friendly and helpful, with Radic walking us to the right bus stop to get the bazaar, and Farit driving us to the local banya last night, which was a relaxing treat. They are a Tatar family, proud of their ethnicity. I understand that Gulsiya’s parents walked to resettle here from Western China in 1950. We were the only guests on the first night, but we have been joined since then by a variety of other travellers with whom we’ve shared conversations, guidebooks, travel tips and such.