Fixing Dozer up for the trip

After 3 lovely days riding around the lake with Richard and really getting to know Dozer I headed back to Bishkek to pick up the bigger tank. This was on one of Chris’s other bikes currently being hired by an America guy from Denver Colorado, Karst. Karst was great and we spent two days together swapping tanks, spare parts and stores. Karst kept me company when I went to find a wheel and get some electrical work done on Dozer. It was great to meet another adventure biker and I gained some valuable knowledge from him.
We were both staying at Talant guest house which is more like a home stay than a guest house and something I really enjoyed. Talent was away but his wife Gulnara made us feel very welcome and feed us very well from breakfast and dinner. Talants family are Kyrgyz but all speak really good German, and no English. I had no idea that my German would come in handy in Kyrgyzstan so cool 🙂
So poor old Dozer now has a white petrol tank and blue seat and the rest of him is black, as if he wasn’t ugly enough. Unfortunately one cannot find motorbike wheels in Bishkek at all. Dozer takes a 17’ back wheel and of course I had a perfectly new 18’ tire in Almaty waiting for Dizzy, which I had left there for my return trip. DAMN what bad luck. The tire on Dozer will possibly get me 2000km but I not only have about 12000 to do but have 4000 to Ulaanbaatar where I am hoping to get one sent. SO I am stuck and had to settle for a well worn second hand tire for usd20 and it’s not a knobbly either. I’m hoping between the one I have and this one I’ll get to UB.
Ah hang on I haven’t mentioned the luggage system I cannot possibly forget this part of the story. Before heading to lake Issyk-Kul with Richard I went search for some sort of luggage system for Dozer since I had to leave my aluminium panniers on Dizzy in Russia (sadly I could not take them on the plane) I started off going to see Ali the mechanic Chris had recommended. He does not speak English so called his friend Sergei who is also a biker, 26 and speaks perfect English. Sergei took me to the only two places in Bishkek that sell bike parts and neither had anything remotely like a pannier system. He later called me and told me the only option he found was to buy them from Almaty and have them sent express to Bishkek, and this would all cost hundred even close to usd1000. WOW no can do Man, I do not have that kind of budget.
At this time I was with Lynn and David having tea with their couch surfing host Dav an Indian lecturer and the Bishkek university. So Dav picks up the phone and calls his friend Artur, explaining to me the Artur is a biker who has travelled India and Asia on both a motorbike and bicycle twice. His last trip was at the age of 63 (he is now close on 70) and was 5 months through Russia, the stans and china. So Artur arrives at Davs read to help. He tells me to sit tight and he’ll be back. I head off and pick up two messenger bags to use as luggage and Artur arrives back with half a pannier system off a Chinese scooter.
Now this is the difference between an affluent 26 year old whose only option is spend usd1000 and get a proper system from Almaty and an old Russian guy who thinks outside the box.  Artur takes me, Dozer and the Chinese luggage system to Igor his friend to look at. WOW what a priceless experience. I spent 4 hours with the two wonderful wonderful old guys who argued like crazy on how to cut, weld and bolt the system to Dozer, laughed and chatted and listened to some awesome old tunes.
Both Artur and Igor (best friend for the past 22 yrs) are in the music industry specifically the theatre. Artur composes, sings and plans a number of instruments, drums, flute etc Igor plays the guitar and is a sound engineer. It was a great evening and at 9pm we decided to call it a night and finish Dozer off the nest day. So the next day we spent another 3 hours with Igor. All in all I estimate about 3 hours work was done on Dozer in total. Between the arguments, chats, laughs, cups of coffee and songs like cocaine, sugar man, and all sorts of iggy pop and jimi Hendrix etc songs. One thing I just loved about Igor was that when he wanted to say something he would more often than not quote the lyrics from a song, it was just so cute.
Neither Artur or Igor would accept a penny for their help (although I did manage to trick Artur into taking something when I gave him 2000soms to get bolts and refused the change, but 1000soms is only about usd20 so nothing for the amount of work he put in) So what I did is buy them both a relay good bottle of Vodka each. But was told on giving it to him “sorry Lorraine we don’t drink, we are really healthy, we eat well, we do yoga and just smoke weed” I just laughed, I should have guessed. I will always remember Artur and Igor.  I also learned a valuable lesson, if you want to meet interesting people and learn about a different way of life and culture, go find the older generation it’ll open your eyes 🙂

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