Adventures in Armenia

Must be said, that Armenia wasn’t an easy country to bike. Roads were fairly good, landscape outstanding, but man I had to struggle with those hills. Here is a 5-day and 400 km adventure from Yerevan to the Iranian border.

1st Day starts pretty easy. Passing mt. Ararat close enough to see the Turkish border guards, road is flat the first 65km until the left turn towards slight uphill (straight would lead to forbidden Azerbaijan). I take a fanta break after climbing up to 1500 m, starting to feel small pain in my right knee. Suddenly a car with German plates pulls over and window rolls down. Well isn’t it the man from the ukr ferry driving around armenia with his wife. We make a deal to meet 50km further at nora vank valley. Uphill continues on and on, and I have no choice than walk the bike up to 1900 m pass with increasing knee pain. I reach the meeting point after long downhill ride, but there’s no sign of the German couple.

2nd day starts with a stupendous brekafast near nora vank monastery. usually I have a snickers bar but this time there’s bread with pate, tomato, jam, grapes, porridge and tea. All the energy which I get from the morning meal is used for upcoming 2250 m pass. It takes me four hours to walk the 50 kilos two-wheel up there. This time though there is no big downhill, so my next stop in Sisian stays above 1500 metres

3rd biking day continues after one day off, while couch surfing in Sisian. My knee got some rest, but the pain starts after nice morning 20km uphill walk. From here, through town called Gori, downhill is long and sceneries are breathtaking. From a lonely planet guide I loan, that from Gori there is 49 hair pin turns to the next rural town. Didn’t count, but maybe on 25th turn I camp next to church, hidden in woods.

4th day starts with typical snickers energy at 7.30 a.m, and dozen of hair pin turns. Weather is foggy, clouds are low, but views are magnificent. Avg speed is kept around 10km/hour and temperature is around 15 degrees. Last ones from the “49” is downhill. At this point I know I’ll have one more climb before decending to the Iranian border. Knee hurts, but it is still bearable. By the sun set, which comes around 8p.m, I manage to do probably half of the pass. I put up my tent 200 m from the serpentine roads.

5th day. Snickers. Hair pins. Uphill. Hurts. Super views! From the last pass 38km long down hill. Camping just next to Iranian border. Two more days to the next shower 🙂

ps. Here in Iran there is no flickr, facebook nor twitter access. So no quick updates or pictures until filter occures.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted September 29, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    hi lukas,

    this sounds a bit scary i admit, even though i managed quite a few heavy and long climbs without pushing on my north-cape tour 3 years ago, none of which though leading up to > 2,200 m. and knee pain occurred only last year riding on flat ground through latvia.

    question: wasn’t going from georgia to azerbaijan first and then following the caspian sea coastline into iran a slightly ‘flatter’ option? why did you choose to ride through armenia?

    curious to learn more!

    herbert

    • Posted October 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Knee is feeling better with adjusting the locks on my bike shoes. Reasons (perhaps not good ones) for not choosing Azerbaijan were:
      1) Visa.
      2) I read from lonely planet, that the coast road from baku is heavy traffic.
      3) It seemed to be a challenge – and it was, and it was worth it. Astonishing landscape.

      Iran has by the way much better roads than I had since Hungary.

  2. Kevin Pollard
    Posted September 30, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Iran! Now is when you should switch to penny farthing 😉

    Take it easy on that knee, Kevin.

    • Posted October 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, now or never.
      Knee is tender, but it’s ok for biking. Have to take few day rest in Tehran 🙂

  3. Posted October 1, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    Cau Lukasi,

    Diky za komentar. Panaka sem si dal a kotnik se citi lepe – na tve strane doufam ze koleno ti nedava moc potize. Take bych rad vedel proc nejedes pres Azerbaijan.

    Jinak mej se v Iranu a bacha na hory!

    Erik.

    • Posted October 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Iran mi pripada v pohode. Kopce jsou, ale ne prudke.

      Koleno je lepsi, i kdyz si toho panaka tady nemuzu dat.
      Jestli mas nejakej tip pro iran, tak mi ho honem napis. Beru cestu Tehran, Esfahan, Persepolis, Shiraz a pak dolu k brehu na lodku do dubai. Mam jeste bud 3 tydny, nebo 5, zalezi na visa extension.

  4. Tadous
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Cau Lukco!
    Jen tak zkousim tvuj blog.
    Jihuu

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