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Old 08-26-07, 07:49 AM   #1
avatarworf
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Iran...

Anyone here been to Iran recently? We are generally looking for any tips on offer, but would particularly appreciate any help with itineraries for the visa application (how detailed did you make yours??) and any recs for agencies to help get the visa.
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Old 08-26-07, 08:24 AM   #2
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You may want to try the Lonely Planet forums, by the way. You'll get more people who've been there.

I probably wouldn't wear lycra shorts while you're over there.

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Old 08-26-07, 08:49 AM   #3
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make sure your will is up to date.
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Old 08-26-07, 09:23 AM   #4
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You may want to try the Lonely Planet forums, by the way. You'll get more people who've been there.

And, I, I probably wouldn't wear lycra shorts while you're over there.
Thanks, we are already regulars on the LP and many other forums. Just thought I'd post here in case some people here aren't there and vice versa.
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Old 08-26-07, 09:28 AM   #5
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make sure your will is up to date.
Our will is up to date and has been since we started this tour. If the point of your post was to imply that we should avoid Iran altogether, we can do without this sort of comment, thanks. We frequently get similar comments from people who only see what's on the news and assume that just because you are white you'll be shot/run over/beaten up/mugged etc in any Muslim area.

Our experience so far in Muslim nations has been overwhelmingly positive and if you read the reports of cyclists who have been through Iran you will see the same thing. Many people, cyclists and non-tourers alike, list it as a favourite country to see repeatedly. The hospitality of the people and the government's actions are two different things, as in most nations.
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Old 08-26-07, 01:04 PM   #6
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You're probably already familiar with crazyguyonabike.com...but just in case, here's a link to one tour I enjoyed reading about there: My Silk Road Journey by Christian Stenshorne. He describes Iran as having "incredible hospitality, enough English is spoken so that one can easily get around, beautiful scenery and the worst drivers east of India."

He elaborates on all these points over the next several pages, especially the hospitality and the drivers. Sounds like he had a fascinating time there, especially in some of the more remote mountain villages (which he traveled through in part to escape the lunatic drivers on the main roads.)
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Old 08-26-07, 01:18 PM   #7
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Thanks for that. I have seen some journals on CGOAB but not that one. Will add it to the reading list!
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Old 08-26-07, 08:44 PM   #8
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There's a book, I think the Adventure Cycling Handbook, with an associated web site. They have some info. I'll try to get the details, in the meantime try googling.
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Old 08-26-07, 08:50 PM   #9
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Here's a review of the book. Further links are listed on the page:

http://www.bicycletouring101.com/Boo...ngHandbook.htm

~Jamie N
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Old 08-26-07, 09:41 PM   #10
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I had a good time for two years in Turkey a while ago. The further I got from tourism areas the nicer people were. I learned to show respect for their customs and used as much Turkish as I could manage. Farsi in Irans' case. Just a guess going across the northern tier of the country could help and do not go out of your way to look at the women.
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Old 08-26-07, 10:37 PM   #11
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There's a book, I think the Adventure Cycling Handbook, with an associated web site. They have some info. I'll try to get the details, in the meantime try googling.
We have read that one already. Not carrying it with us any more for weight reasons but it is a very good book, highly recommended. We spent a few months just reading it over and over, so much info in there!
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Old 08-26-07, 11:18 PM   #12
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http://www.cyclingtoindia.com
They have rode a route in Iran. They did have a planed route and did not take it. They moved the path inside Iran. So I guess it is worth reading.
Its in my reading list, but I didn't read it yet.
Also, I'm from Israel, so if I'll go there, I think I will need a tank and air cover all the way. Ok, Ok, I will take the whole army with me.
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Old 08-26-07, 11:45 PM   #13
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Enjoy Iran

Iran is beautiful and as I have heard, a cyclists paradise as far as the kindness of complete strangers. I just came back from a trip through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan but Iran is definitely on the list for the next tour. I think the hardest part for you may be getting a visa. Good luck and definitely keep us updated.
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Old 08-27-07, 12:06 AM   #14
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... and the worst drivers east of India."
Is this intentional? If so, it is hilarious.
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Old 08-27-07, 12:17 AM   #15
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I have two close friends and two family members, all Americans, who have spent time in Iran in the last ten years and all of them describe it as a warm and friendly place for an American to travel. If you can manufacture any kind of "official visit" rationale, that'll help with the visa. I mean, if you can make contact with the Tehran Cycle Club and get them to invite you for an evening's bike-cultural exchange, that'll help -- anything more formal will help even more (best of all are scholarly invitations, so long as the context/theme is apolitical).

If my friends' experience is any indication, you're more likely to get harassed by the US government when you return than messed with by anyone in Iran (one of my friends had to politely decline an invitation to explain her trip to unspecified officials when she returned; they didn't persist, but somewhere in the bowels of the American security apparatus is a file folder with her name on it . . .).
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Old 08-27-07, 01:15 AM   #16
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I have two close friends and two family members, all Americans, who have spent time in Iran in the last ten years and all of them describe it as a warm and friendly place for an American to travel. If you can manufacture any kind of "official visit" rationale, that'll help with the visa. I mean, if you can make contact with the Tehran Cycle Club and get them to invite you for an evening's bike-cultural exchange, that'll help -- anything more formal will help even more (best of all are scholarly invitations, so long as the context/theme is apolitical).

If my friends' experience is any indication, you're more likely to get harassed by the US government when you return than messed with by anyone in Iran (one of my friends had to politely decline an invitation to explain her trip to unspecified officials when she returned; they didn't persist, but somewhere in the bowels of the American security apparatus is a file folder with her name on it . . .).
Dear me.

We will not have to deal with that, thankfully, as we are not American and have no plans to grace the shores of the U.S. anytime soon on our world tour. We are both Canadian and I have German citizenship as well, while Andrew has dual UK citizenship.

I like the idea of contacting the Tehran cycle club. Good idea.
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Old 08-27-07, 01:18 AM   #17
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Iran is beautiful and as I have heard, a cyclists paradise as far as the kindness of complete strangers. I just came back from a trip through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan but Iran is definitely on the list for the next tour. I think the hardest part for you may be getting a visa. Good luck and definitely keep us updated.
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Do you have a journal anywhere? Would love to read it. Did you cycle the Pamir highway? Any reports or thoughts you have time to volunteer about your trip would be fabulous! Recent information is hard to find...
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Old 08-27-07, 01:26 AM   #18
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Dear me.

We will not have to deal with that, thankfully, as we are not American and have no plans to grace the shores of the U.S. anytime soon on our world tour. We are both Canadian and I have German citizenship as well, while Andrew has dual UK citizenship.

I like the idea of contacting the Tehran cycle club. Good idea.
What does it mean "dual UK citizenship"?
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Old 08-27-07, 02:32 AM   #19
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... and the worst drivers east of India."
Is this intentional? If so, it is hilarious.
Well, Iran is east of India if you go far enough east...and you would get to sample a lot of drivers that way.

In any case, the quote from Mr. Stenshorne's journal is accurate, but it was probably a typo in the original. Given the extent of his travels, I imagine he really does know which way to ride to get from Iran to India...
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Old 08-27-07, 02:36 AM   #20
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Well, Iran is east of India if you go far enough east...and you would get to sample a lot of drivers that way.
That's what makes it funny! If that's how it was intended, he is saying that Iranian drivers are the worst in the world, except for the Indians.
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Old 08-27-07, 04:12 AM   #21
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What does it mean "dual UK citizenship"?
It means Andrew has a Canadian and a UK passport. I have a German and a Canadian passport.
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Old 08-30-07, 10:49 PM   #22
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It means Andrew has a Canadian and a UK passport. I have a German and a Canadian passport.
Ok, thanks.
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Old 08-31-07, 12:15 AM   #23
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Our will is up to date and has been since we started this tour. If the point of your post was to imply that we should avoid Iran altogether, we can do without this sort of comment, thanks. We frequently get similar comments from people who only see what's on the news and assume that just because you are white you'll be shot/run over/beaten up/mugged etc in any Muslim area.

Our experience so far in Muslim nations has been overwhelmingly positive and if you read the reports of cyclists who have been through Iran you will see the same thing. Many people, cyclists and non-tourers alike, list it as a favourite country to see repeatedly. The hospitality of the people and the government's actions are two different things, as in most nations.
That area of the world is very beautiful indeed (never went, but I was told by Iranian coworkers/friends). Nevertheless, good luck (you'll probably need some at one point or another) and have a safe journey.

Godspeed!

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Old 08-31-07, 06:40 AM   #24
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Our will is up to date and has been since we started this tour. If the point of your post was to imply that we should avoid Iran altogether, we can do without this sort of comment, thanks. We frequently get similar comments from people who only see what's on the news and assume that just because you are white you'll be shot/run over/beaten up/mugged etc in any Muslim area.

Our experience so far in Muslim nations has been overwhelmingly positive and if you read the reports of cyclists who have been through Iran you will see the same thing. Many people, cyclists and non-tourers alike, list it as a favourite country to see repeatedly. The hospitality of the people and the government's actions are two different things, as in most nations.
A quick defence of Muslim nations and...

"We will not have to deal with that, thankfully, as we are not American and have no plans to grace the shores of the U.S. anytime soon on our world tour."

And a snub at America, on an American forum, that is what I find hilarious
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Old 08-31-07, 09:08 AM   #25
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A quick defence of Muslim nations and...

"We will not have to deal with that, thankfully, as we are not American and have no plans to grace the shores of the U.S. anytime soon on our world tour."

And a snub at America, on an American forum, that is what I find hilarious
I think you have misunderstood. It was a simple reflection of our route. We are planning to go steadily eastwards, towards India, China, Japan, SE Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, the U.S. and finally Canada for a cross-country trip to end our tour.

That means we will not be seeing the U.S. for at least two years, possibly four years down the road. By that time we should have new passports and not have to face any interrogations about why we have been to all kinds of countries the U.S. is not on friendly terms with.

I will admit that actually crossing into the U.S. is not high on my list of favourte experiences (in the past we have been quite rudely treated) but, like Iran, I am able to see that U.S. government policies are different from the attitudes of the people. The U.S. contains some gorgeous scenery and many of my best friends are American. So to say we are snubbing America is not true.
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