OK, it might be a bit early in the day to be writing today’s blog, but I don’t care! The whole purpose of stopping in Astrakhan was to put new tyres on my bike. Despite lots of help searching on the ‘net, the barman couldn’t find anywhere to fit them, but “the Owner will know!”. Enter, stage right, Sergey, the Owner.
After one phone call, he says, “You follow me”. So off we went to a car tyre fitters, who didn’t have the right tools to take the wheels off, but I do. So Sergey drove me back to the hotel to pick up the tools, then stayed while I took the wheels off, bought me a new 27mm spanner when I forgot the socket, and would take nothing for it. He waited while the tyres were changed and balanced by the fitters, who took great care to put the tyres on the right way around, prompted, no doubt, by Sergey. And, yes, it does make a difference!
He then helped me to put the wheels on again, getting his hands very greasy in the process. It turns out he is a biker and showed me pictures of him riding his BMW G650GS Sertao on sand! That was exactly the bike Brigid and I were thinking of getting for this ride, by coincidence.
On getting back to his hotel, Sergey asked for my Facebook page, so I gave it to him and told him about the ride page. He wasn’t aware that to get the login for the internet here you need a Russian mobile phone, and consequently I can’t get on. There are no guarantees that he will change that, but I don’t think it will be for the want of trying, after all, he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty!