Two Tajik cyclists on a trek through 13 countries have had to postpone their journey after one of their bicycles was stolen in Russia, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Tajik teachers Alisher Khushvaqtov and Saidali Azizov, who began their long-distance ride in Dushanbe at the end of April and had planned to return to the Tajik capital on August 1, said Russian police have promised to find the stolen bicycle.
Khushvaqtov and Azizov had ridden through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine when on June 15 they went back into Russia from Ukraine. As
they were appoaching the town of Temryuk in the southwestern Krasnodar Krai, a car of drunken men stopped the cyclists and beat up Azizov.
Khushvaqtov escaped and cycled to the nearest village to notify police. When police arrived the men had left with Azizov's bicycle and backpack where he kept his money and important documents.
On June 18, Khushvaqtov told RFE/RL by phone that police had detained two of the attackers after they went to a gas station and tried to use Azizov's credit card.
Police also said some of the stolen documents had been found. Khushvaqtov said as soon as Azizov's bicycle is found they will continue their trip, which will take them through eight more countries including Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan.
Last summer, a similar incident happened to a Scandinavian cyclist in Tajikistan. His bicycle was stolen while he slept in his tent one night in the southeastern Badakhshan Province. The bicycle was found several hours later in a neighboring village.
-- Tajik Service