We’re beset by more mechanicals. This time my front wheel’s spoke snapped three days ago and I’ve been riding as softly as possible to prevent any further progressive collapse as the rim slowly distorts.

We finally reached Aomori and through our Airbnb host, Erwin, were kindly taken to his local bicycle mechanic to try and sort a fix. Not only does Pieta replace the broken spoke, but also re-tunes the wheel and re-sets the bearings, charging only 200 Yen – less than £2. I try to pay more but with no success. He says simply ‘enjoy your cycling’.

On the wall there’s a signed poster of Marco Pantani. His website is at:


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