Balkans 2016 -Day 22 :Negotino to not very far, Macedonia

What could have been the worst day of the ride so far turn out to the one of the best. I did not get very far though. Let me explain.

The day began with moody cloudy skies and rain. It was not raining too bad so I decided to check out of the Monastery and start my journey to Prilep. The fix I did on my rear tires did not work and the wobbling was still there. In fact I thought it was worse. In any case I was confident I could get to Prilep which is around 55km away and look for a bike shop.

It continued raining and in fact got heavier. That should explain the lack of photos.

I decided to stop for breakfast at Kavardasi which is around 15km from Negotino. I waited for an hour to see if the rain would stop. It didn’t and I decided to do some grocery shopping to stock up. Ended up buying a bottle of Rakiya a local brandy and local wine. The rain eventually subsided and I was happy to continue my cycling.

The wobble got worse and worse as I cycle. Not more than 2km out of the city limit, disaster. The rear tire exploded with a loud bang. The side wall was ripped and I don’t have a spare tire so no choice but to push back to town and look for options. The thing is today was a public holiday and most shops are closed. So no chance to find a bike shop to fix my tires. I went back to the breakfast place as the waiter mentioned something about a bike shop nearby. I wanted to get the location so I can go there the next day.

Then as I was about the leave the place a passerby approached me and introduced himself as Branko. He said he noticed that I needed help with my tires and he say he will try to help. He made a few calls and then a young man turned up 15mins later took my wheel set and came back another 15 mins later with new tires all done. wow ! Branko tells me he is a casual cyclist and am glad to help. Branko is also a professional drummer and plays for a traditional Macedonian band called Drim Tim.  The young man is his friends son who runs a bike shop in town but it is closed today . So he made special arrangements with his friend to have the tires fixed .  It costed me around RM100 all in!  After that he asked me to join him for lunch at his nephews place called Kino Bavca. And what a lunch. We had a huge plate of grill, salads, meat patties, homemade rakiyas and wine from the region. After 3 hours of lunching I told Branko I had to go as I like to find a place to sleep before it get dark. Branko told me there is a Makpetrol station around 12km out on the way to Prilep. So we took pictures and then said our goodbyes. Thanks to Branko and his nephews and buddies.  You guys made a disaster of a day to a wonderful day.

I started riding out with fond memories of Kavardasi and finally arrived and Makpetrol and ask the manager if I could pitch a tent. He says no problem. The spot is quite close to the main road and the sound of the cars and trucks quite loud. I had my noise cancellation headphones with me and so I manage to get a reasonable sleep. What a eventful day. I will remember this day. So far I am so impressed with the Macedonians  as they are so friendly and helpful. I am loving it here.

Author: krankster

I am an avid cyclist that loves mountain biking, bike commuting and most of all bicycle touring. I am a freelance leadership coach and hope to inspire others through my cycling adventures.

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