Day 57: Ulaanbaatar , The local bike shop

A Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro Evolution MTB Tyre.
I so wanted to wear studs.

Burning the candle at both ends is clearly starting to take its toll – I almost fall asleep during language class!

It’s embarrassing.

I suppose the obvious answer would be to either work or learn, but what kind of fun would that be?

Leaving school, the frigid air jolts me back to life.

At a busy intersection, I stare in wonder at a lone traffic cop who is in the unenvious position of having to conduct the heavy traffic using only a whistle!

It seems like chaos, but maybe there’s a method to the madness. Initially much whistle blowing by the cop does seem to keep the traffic at bay. Then one brave driver uses their horn – toooot! – followed by another and another. Eventually they succeed in making enough of a racket and – success! – the cop whistles the queue of cars through with a loud phreeeeeeeet and the process begins again.

I’m doing a mission across town, to reach the only bike shop that I can find on Google.

And when I say mission, I mean mission. The icy footpaths on the outskirts are super treacherous, making getting anywhere painstakingly slow. My expensive insulated Siberian boots aren’t helping with the grip factor either. I’d hoped for more at that price!

Eventually, I do reach the bike shop – just on closing time.

Relieved, I quickly locate a set of studded snow tyres for the snow clad steppes. But upon closer inspection, my excitement turns to dismay – they’re for 29ers. So much for 26″ being the global standard! It’s a disappointing result given the effort to get there.

The shop seems friendly and has that LBS, Local Bike Shop, feel, but I wish that I’d come earlier. They’re low on winter stock and, with today’s high being a frigid -1C, I feel more ill-prepared than ever. I’m worried that my loosely planned route down south may no longer be viable.

As I leave, the flirtatious mannequins taunt me with their short-sleeved lycra tops. They seem highly optimistic.

After a long and murky walk home, my work is still waiting for me.

I reach for yet another Genghis Khaan endorsed product, this time an energy drink.

It’s not quite Red Bull, but hopefully it will bestow me with code conquering powers and keep the candle burning a little longer.