Across Continents

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“Be strong”

The short ride north of the border crossing, towards the Black Sea resort of Batumi, provided a sharp introduction to cycling in Georgia – a few Turkish lorries to contend with still, but the real challenge lay in avoiding the cattle that wandered, quite oblivious to traffic, across the road. That and the double overtaking, which left you wondering which side of the road vehicles were meant to drive on. And if you needed another reason not to ride in the dark, that’d be the craters – potholes big enough to wreak havoc to cars.

Catching up with hosts Merab and Kurt on the outskirts of the city, the plan was then to follow their 4×4 to a small hotel they’d generously arranged for me. There were a few roundabouts to contend with, and many of the roads had been dug up whilst an entirely new mains water system was installed. I’d no real idea about the Georgian highway code, but, it seemed, neither did anyone else. I just stuck as close to Merab and Kurt’s vehicle as I could. Explaining my bemusement to Kurt, a German spending a couple of years in Batumi working with local organisations to help develop tourism, he offered some simple advice for cycling in the country. “Be strong“. And he meant it.

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