The Kindness of strangers continues...
I left the hotel about 11am after a decent sleep. The day before had yelded no tyre and even worse some information that it would be impossible to find such a tyre in Chita or maybe even anywhere this side of Moscow! Giving up is not one of my strong points so I loaded up the bike and decided to attempt to ask all 600,000 residents of Chita if they had a rear tyre for a DR650 lying around. Ended up in the right sort of area that had a lot of car part shops and tyre places but kept getting the same answer... "Nyet!" Was starting to think about leaving Chita and try and make for Ulan Ude to try there (600km away, the tyre had about 100km left in it.. maybe 102km...) when I spotted one last car place. I asked there with the usual answer and was about to leave when a lady appeared from inside and told me "My baby speaks English..wait here". Turned out her baby was 36 year old Andrey who was married with three kids. I spoke to him on the phone first and he left what he was doing to come and help me. Andrey made a few phone calls and said that the tyre was not a problem, but that we should get some lunch. He took me to his house and his wife made us lunch...Possibly the best lunch I've ever had... The pancakes with caviar were pretty impressive!!!
We left there and went to meet Andrey's friend Alexander who raced motorbikes and had recently got back from the Bejing - Ulan Bataar rally! Ended up at a motorcross club staring at a only half worn Michelin Desert (Damn good tyre for you not in the know) that was completely the wrong size, 18 inch instead of 17 inch. This particular Michelein Desert had competed in the Dakar no less and would of made for a great souviner if space had allowed. More phone calls were made and a mostly worn 17 inch road bike tyre was found. After more driving and parting with $A20.00 I owned a tyre that would get me at least to Ulan Bataar where I had been told you could get a new tyre. Andrey, Alexander, the Dakar competitor Pavel and everyone else that they rang had helped me find what I had been told was unfindable in this part of the world. Andrey helped me fit the tyre and invited me to stay at his house the night. It was after 7pm by the time we had the tyre fitted and I accepeted his very kind offer. Some of Andreys mates came around and we did what Siberians do and all jumped in Andreys backyard sauna. Definently the hottest sauna I've been in, they reckon they wern't trying to kill me but I'm still a little suspicious...
And so the kindness to strangers continues, worth noting that Andrey nor any of his friends would accept any money for all there efforts, all that Andrey got was a postcard I had with me from Melbourne with "thanks" written on the back of it.