A Ride Through Armenia and Iran

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A ride from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia south to the Iranian border, along the border on the Iranian side to Jolfa, to Marand, Tabriz, Saqqez, Sanandaj, Hamaden, Arak and Tafresh. Then the bus to Tehran.

Armenia is a poor Christian country surrounded by richer Islamic countries. Much of its prior land has been taken. During WW1 the Turks committed genocide against Armenians and still won’t admit it. It is mountainous and roads are poor but traffic is light. As long as you take care it is safe.

We have miscalculated on the road to Goris. The climbing has taken too long. We are taken in by a farming family. It is amazing how, when you are really in need, someone appears and offers help.

The southern section of Armenia is disputed by Azerbaijan. There are land mines on the roadside. At least there are warning signs.

After crossing at Nordooz, the road to Jolfa is bristling with Iranian forces. No photos. Amazing though. Then turning south we are back in the real Iran, hanging out with the spectacularly friendly people.

A goat herder along the way.

Iran is a vast country with the resources to build perfect roads over great distances.

Whilst looking for a hotel we are spotted by locals who ask us to be their guests. We take a rest day and join their family and friends on a picnic.

There is plenty of climbing and awesome scenery.

Every morning there is a “water loading” session. We need to take on as much liquid as possible. There won’t be anything available for a long way. This was a 9kg watermelon and just two of us eat it over an hour.

I am on my tourer with 35C tyres and am invited to join a MTB ride in the hills with a local club. It is rocky but the Marathons hold up really well. With no luggage I feel like I have turbo power.

The green on this sign says 45 degrees. It’s a heat wave lasting a few days. Regardless of averages being ok, there is always the chance of extreme weather.

We have made it to Tehran. Often cardboard is easy to find but not today. We have ridden over 10km around looking before finding some. With previously bought tape and rope we pack the bikes where we find the cardboard.

The final packages but at the airport there is a plastic wrapping machine. We hire a blue ute to take us to the airport (which is 40km out of the city). 24 hours later we cycle out of Sydney International Airport.

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