Some of the fears I had before leaving for this trip concerned mainly traffic and bad driving, being chased by dogs and having to deal with some ferocious headwind. Already in Croatia I experienced some dogs’ chases, which continued in Bosnia, but they were after all quite small dogs, nothing compared with the dogs in Turkey. While climbing up to Nevesinje, during a two days detour in the mountains I did before leaving Bosnia, I met an horrible wind, and I had to stop riding more than once to avoid falling off the bike. Traffic instead has usually been a minor issue, in Italy and in Croatia there were sometimes too many cars, but roads were well maintained and there was always enough room for me and my bike, while since entering Bosnia there were very little cars on the road, it even happened that I rode a lot of kilometers without meeting a single car. This was until I entered Alabania some days ago.
Albania is well known for crazy driving and potholed roads, but I managed to deal with this staying on the side of the road, taking extra care and maybe even stopping if I saw some very big truck approaching. And yesterday, few kilometers after Lezhë, on a rare sunny day, I saw a big truck slowly approaching, there was plenty of space and I didn’t stop, but at a certain point I heard a weird sound coming from behind me and suddenly I was laying on the ground, seeing a wheel of the truck that, after having come off the truck and hit my bike, hit the guardrail and finally stopped.
It took few seconds to realize everything, but standing up I realized that, luckily, I was perfectly fine. Miraculously might be more appropriate than luckily, especially after having seen what the impact between the heavy and fast truck wheel and my bike has caused: the back rim broke into two pieces as a consequence of the impact as well as the back derailleur.
A crowd soon gathered to see what happened and if I was fine, I reassured them and, before I could understand what was going on, some people were already helping me, offering me a lift to a nearby mechanic. Also the driver of the truck came and, pointing at the sky, thanked God that everything was fine. Of course the mechanic couldn’t substitute the broken rim, so the same people that drove me there organized for a taxi that brought me to Tirana, 40 kilometers south of where we were.
Now I am at the Tirana backpacker hostel with a broken bike. This morning I went to the bike market close to Tirana’s main square only to find out that my initial assumption that finding a good quality new rim would be an easy task proved to be extremely naive, it has to be shipped from Greece or some other places. I have to choose if buying one of the rims they sell here and hope it doesn’t break in a few days or wait for a good rim to arrive from somewhere.
In any case I will have to spend at least a couple of days in Tirana, maybe more, so any suggestions on what to do are much appreciated.