Day 41 – 17th May 2014 leave 10.00am Miles rode 186 Arbil – Rawandiz & back

After fighting my way out of Arbil I rode north towards the Iranian boarder, I passed over two mountain ranges to get to Rawandiz, the roads at times were awful but there weren’t many cars about. I know I’ve said it before but what amazing riding, so many switchbacks, such amazing scenery and gorges. Rawandiz is a town high up in mountains perched between two valley’s, it must have been a great fortress in years gone by.

Half way there I stopped for lunch and two English guys turned up, they are working here in a refuge camp, must have been their day off as they were cycling miles across the mountains to the Iranian boarder. Talked about travels and the refugee camps they are working in, interesting hearing about the plight of the Syrians, 250,000 in 8 camps here in Iraq Kurdistan and many more in Jordan and Lebanon.

On the way back into Arbil it was packed with cars and so hot, it wasn’t good ridding and there were a few times when I had to be so aware not to have an accident. You can be on a dual carriageway one moment and then without warning when one carriageway is closed for repairs your carriageway becomes two way! This means without notice a car is coming straight at you without warning! So dangerous.

Haval the guy I was with yesterday contacted me saying a TV station wants to interview me, about what I don’t know anyway, I was planning on leaving early in the morning so I said if it can be in the morning I’ll do it otherwise ‘I’m out of here’.

At last I’m allowed to pay for food, I ordered a falafel kebab which costs 50p when he realised I was English he only charged me 25p!

For the bikers;
If you find yourself in this part of the world I recommend riding the 15km to Rawandiz via Soran on the lower road it takes you through an amazing gorge, on the way back take the mountain road SW of Soran back to the main road, you are high up and the winding road down twist and turns, it’s as good as any mountain ride I’ve ever done and the road is good. It’s on occasions like this I have to restrain myself and remember I’m on a ‘dual purpose bike’ not the ‘Fireblade’ I once had!

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