Posted onApril 30, 2010 by Shahla & Peter Nygaard
After so many miles on public transport, we are finally back to our favourite mode of transportation – bicycles! Instead of building them, this time we purchased them from a bike shop. Bright, shiny and new. It wasn't easy finding our new road companions. In the streets of Islamabad, we saw no bicycles that we were willing to adopt. All had some fatal flaw that we could not accept.
We spent hours in internet cafes drooling over glossy pictures of flashy, high end mountain and touring bikes. But they all had the same dark cloud hanging over them – the price. After researching nearby bike shops, we found one that had decent bikes for decent prices. It was across the border in India. Luckily Amritsar is easily reached in one day from Islamabad. We stepped into the bike shop and presto! our bikes appeared before our eyes. Aluminum frame mountain bikes with Shimano parts.
On the backs of the bikes we use conventional racks with welded additions to avoid the tires rubbing on the saddlebags. The front racks are our own design that are made to attach to a fork equipped with a shock absorber. For back saddlebags we use our old trusty backpacks on one bike and the other is fitted with handmade saddlebags. Childrens' backpacks are on the front of one bike and purses are on the other. Our plan is to have these bikes carry us to Canada.
"We had less than a kilometer to go from the bike shop to the hotel and I was following Peter closely on the busy streets. It had been a long time and I felt a bit unsteady riding. There was a rock in the road that was unavoidable. As I went over it, I started to lose control of the bike and I hit the brakes. The bike stopped dead but I kept going and landed on the jagged tarmac face first. Was this foreshadowing for the journey to come? Or did this trial by tarmac mean that my dues were paid and from here on in it would be smooth sailing? Time will tell…"