Once, in a previous column, I had made several sarcastic remarks about Iran -claiming that the Tour de France should never be allowed on its soil- due to verbal confusion in that “Iran” sounds more “biathlon” friendly. Well Persia extorted a price on me for that comment, though who would have believed the lowly messenger would be an indigenous 3-speed.

My travels began quite innocently... I was pedaling through groves of pomegranates and flocks of peacocks, reminiscing about this ancient land of Cyrus and Zarathustra - men who’s teachings still influence us today. My accompanying bicycle was a well worn “Golden Stoat” 3-speed (a harbinger of things to come). Now the weasel family on the whole, tends to be a rather odoriferous species, and in hindsight, I should have sensed something afoul. A little more on the rust end of the golden spectrum, the “Stoat’s” paint had long ago up and left to rejoin Iran’s surrounding soil. The intense heat of the day would volatilize the rusty frame, sun cracked tyres, and the fuel oil lubricants, producing a somewhat repugnant combination, which smelled just a bit this side of a mink farm. Country Persian’s claim this funk will put a neutered goat in heat. The Stoat’s handling behaviors, I also have to add, were pure ferret, as it skirted forth and back down the road. It was this habit which directly led to the afore mentioned retribution.

I was approaching the outskirts of Tehran, feeling exhausted from disciplining the Stoat over the last 800 kilometers, when a billy-goat bolted out in front of my path. I swerved to avoid the animal, but the Stoat would have nothing to do with the maneuver. Careening across the street to smack a carpet vendor’s cart, I then ricocheted off and headed down a steep, cobbled alley. The impact had rendered my rod brakes inoperable, and the grade of my new route had me doing 50kph. At this time the Stoat’s front wheel chose to explore a large pothole left by several missing cobbles. Since stoats are natural burrowing animals, I was left with no other option than to be thrown and play Rock, Collarbone, Scissors, with the pavé.

But I must not let a small setback cause me to loose focus on the larger picture. I am on a quest, a mission that is more than broken bones and bouts of road rash. For it is a journey on indigenous 3-speeds, whose deeper meaning will only be revealed through the process of riding itself.   Think globally, but ride carefully -Global Freddie.

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie