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Update: Wed 16:25

Well, advice seems to be that leaking forks are not the best. They may make steering a bit more interesting in the tighter corner and be a bit more bouncy in general. To anyone following behind me it may look like my usual riding technique, then.

However, KN has spoken to his mechanic mate who suggests that a bit of a clean up then attempting to bung up the seal with vaseline or somesuch might delay the inevitable until some more normal form of civilisation is reached.

That's not to say Bishkek is uncivilised. Not so by any means other than the absence of motorbikes. Barring the penchance for Soviet-style mausoleums for public buildings it's really rather open and green and rather pleasant. I'm particular taken by the local young ladies cosmopolitan nature and their penchance for summer dresses. Bishkek is roughly half and half the Asian Kyrgyz and (White) Russian Kyrgyz and they generally tend to stick to their ethnic groups but all chatter away in Russian (I presume) which seems a bit odd from the Asian group.

Anyway, I stripped down the front of the bike and figured out how to prise out the dust seal and cleaned the oil away. There's nothing obviously wrong with the oil seal itself (I've not pulled it out, I'm not sure you can without pulling the fork apart completely) though any small tear in the seal is not going to show up in black rubber recessed in the narrow gap in the outer fork tube under mild compression.

So I then went to fetch my backup tub of vaseline. Empty! No evidence of vaseline whatsoever, the vaseline has sublimated away! At this point I should say that I've been using the sheepskin seat cover on the bike for the last few weeks and all my chaffed ass problems have gone away. It still gets sore but then so would anyone's sat on a narrow seat for up to twelve hours a day. Interesting that the sheepskin has that effect.

OK, so I've headed up into town and I've been into a few stores and I've asked at a pharmacy (not an especially good one but still) and petroleum jelly is not known in Kyrgyzstan, it seems. Oh dear. At the pharmacy my explanation that PJ is used to soften hands, for example, elicited several potential alternatives in the form of hand cream. I've not sure that hand cream is the best goo to bung up my forks.

Another thing I picked up was some shampoo. Thank goodness for globalisation and that you can buy the same shampoo you can everywhere else (Timotei, Nivea, Sunsilk, etc. etc.) In my case Timotei for Men (actaully I haven't seen that in the UK maybe it's new). Actually Timotei Men is the only thing I can assert from the tub as the rest is in Cyrillic so I could have a tub of Timotei's finest drain cleaner (for Men). Should keep my head clean, then.

This tub of shampoo will mark the end of my single-blind Aryuvedic test. Single-blind as I knew but you didn't. I'd bought a backup tub of shampoo way back in Kerala but never had to use it so I gave it a go at the start of this trip. Fully Ayurvedic I expected great things, a Rooney-esque return to the great locks of old, perhaps. Absolutely no such thing, of course. Though I suppose my head smelt nice for a few hours every day.

Anyway, it's probably evident that I've nothing better to do at the moment than waste time in the Internet shop. Must crack on!

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