Road Lice

A phenomenon that is prevelant on Iranian roads we have labelled, “road lice”.

The maximum size bike here (apart from ours) is 125 cc and they are everywhere, mainly ridden by very young men (normally two up) who have nothing else to do but cruise the highways all day. With petrol at 16 cents per litre and a 125 tank full having a range of 1000 kms or more, you can see the adrenalin attraction this pastime offers. Think of it as analagous to our boy racers.

Now when we ride through a town we are a big event – huge bikes by their standards and alll dressed like astronauts – they don’t wear helmets and tend to ride in t shirt, shorts and jandals. So out they come a massive entourage of 30 or so bikes, all just enjoying the buzz or riding alongside and through us.

And boy can they ride these things. Today we had one bike with 2 up do a 200 metre wheel stand past us and weaving its way through us and cars as it did it – sheer brilliance that we all were in awe of.

But it can get too much and these teenagers as soon as they see a woman riding one of our big machines – just go ballistic with enthusiasm. They simply cannot believe it. So Joanne tends to get surrounded by these road lice offering her all sorts of inducements and risking their and her life and limb just to get their offer across. It is quite a spectacle bt one that stirs the retaliatory juices amongst the male Kiwi riders.

So inevitably the “Silkrider Wedgie” is formed and we barrel through the core of the swarm, bouncing them away with our weight. With superior acceleration than them we can eventually out-strip them and we return to the relative quiet of the open highway, ready to confront the next town with its swarm of road lice ahead.

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