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Excellent roads, friendly people and a relatively small risk of theft mean Iran sounds like an ideal cycling destination. And that’s what most cyclists report. It’s not, however, all easy. Vast distances, dodgy traffic and hot, tedious stretches of desert road – not to mention seasonal winds – can get tiring. And in recent years some cyclists have reported a more hostile road environment, particularly from young men on motorbikes. For women, you’ll need to stay covered up or expect unwanted attention. Male cyclists report that wearing cycling gear when actually on the road is OK, as long as you have clothes at hand to cover up as soon as you stop.

As you head east you’ll need to carry plenty of water and food to last the long desert stretches, a decent map and a phrasebook. Camping is possible but there’s no guarantee your presence will be welcome – it’s better to ask to pitch your tent at a mosque. Spare parts can be hard to find and there is nowhere to rent bicycles for long distances, so bring your own.