In Trieste we dragged the bikes over to a quiet corner of the airport and with multi-tools in hand all seven of us proceeded to split open our boxes and reconstruct our cycles during which we were met by Joe and Chris sporting tans and fully assembled bikes. In keeping with the theme so far we then managed (just) to ride clear of Trieste Airport to the road about 20 meters away when Sven got his first puncture. With 9 bikes 7 of which had just been disassembled and rebuilt one puncture would not be that unusual, even if it was on a set of Continental Travel Contacts, it could have been that the inner tube wasn’t fitted right, but another puncture on the same wheel an hour later hinted at a more serious problem. As the sun set it because clear we couldn’t keep riding.
On closer inspection, that had to be conducted half way up a mountain to the East of the airport it transpired that Sven’s tyre had a huge gash in the sidewall which the inner-tube, under pressure, was being forced out through. By this time it was night and so when a discrete camping spot presented itself up on the mountain the decision was made to call it a day and leave the repair until morning.
Now I’m sitting at the camp watching Lewis fight with a cloud of midges, the sun has risen and the day is quickly heating up. Sven’s tyre is beyond repair so I’ve decided to head back to the small town we passed through last night as we left the airport and to a bike shop that I spotted in the main square. It looked surprisingly well stocked for it’s size and I plan to reward myself with a coffee in the town center if I have to wait for it to open.
Ellie, Sven (on another bike) and I rode back the way we came, in the daylight we could see the lush vegetation, huge shrubs and tall grass that surrounded the hill as we rolled into the town early in the morning, we located the bike shop and as anticipated found it closed. Without hesitation we headed to the nearest coffee shop and sat out in the sun on a large area of decking just as it began to rain, but rather than becoming another dose of bad luck the rain stopped after just a few minutes and in the resulting humidity was a pungent smell of the plants and flowers that carpeted the little cafe. We may not have been cycle-touring but I was already starting to enjoy myself. After all there were no deadlines or penalties for taking it easy.
So once we had finished in the cafe it was back to the bike shop to find Sven a sturdy 26” tyre only to find it still closed. Well this turned out to be a long morning and to cut a laborious story short we did manage to find a huge out of town shopping complex that housed something resembling JJB Sports, and within there, after searching a wall of oddly sized tyres only suitable for children’s bikes, was a single, perfect 26” tyre. The next part was a race to get everyone back on the road, we traced our route back through the town and up the hill to where everyone was camped, the bike was promptly fixed and we were soon underway again towards Slovenia.