time for a Cycle to Rwanda update…
i can’t believe how quick the last week has gone.. First and foremost, thanks so much for all the support you guys have offered. I’m very upbeat at the moment.. The broken frame is one in a long list of things that have gone wrong and happened on this trip that have provided some great talking points and some wonderful experiences.
So, I had the opportunity of staying in Khartoum (Sudan) for a few extra days to try and get it fixed..I decided not to..I thought I would risk riding it and see exactly how strong the Koga would be… hmm..turns out, not that strong…Got to the border of Sudan & Ethiopia. Went into the market, where they clearly hardly ever see a white man! Enjoyed some great goat stew and fresh coffee (it was that strong my heart was beating so fast!) and after paying ‘police’ charges in Sudan and getting ripped off (theres a surprise!) we crossed the border. I was taken to an office and made to explain my photographic gear and laptop etc and to register it…(hmm) but all was ok.
We cycled into the highlands…great change of scenery, lush and full of people, literally everywhere. We got to Gondor and promptly booked into the cheapest place I could find…it was a brothel..but the bed was ok! After going to the shared loo and finding a host of doors open with attractive young women sitting on the bed, I guessed where we were! Went for a walk in the evening, pretty unsafe, and after being told 3 times to be careful and passing police with guns sitting on the street, I was advised to return back..so I did, to find pete enjoying his second pasta meal of the evening! We left Gondor and hit 110 miles to Bahir Da.. The frame appeared to be holding up ok. I moved wait to the back and it seemed to be working…
We left about 6am ready to cycle 120miles.. within 30miles I could tell something wasn’t normal. The crack had increased by about 4mm.. I hit 50miles and stopped for lunch, the crack now had increased by 10mm.. I managed to hitch a lift in a pickup – but it was only going 25km, so I then continued biking, only for the bike to start to flex.. so after cycling a total of 93miles a huge truck came along.. I flagged him down – smelling my 10 dollars he agreed to take me the rest of the way to a rough town called deb Markos. We bumped along in the cab at 40kmph..it was great fun, seeing some wonderful scenery and having some good laughs in broken English. He took me to a local eatery, where we enjoyed Ethiopian specialty and Vodka! He was adamant I tried it… two shots later, we continued to Markos.. So today… I was gutted to be getting a lift to Addis Ababa. But equally looking forward to it as Clive Julian (who has been the stuff of legends throughout this whole mess) has arranged for my cycle to be looked at by Ethios Motor Trading Company, in the hope they can weld it… so on the bus.. I was sat on the floor (probably due to my excessive haggling over the rip off prices) of a bus designed for 12 people, but which had 23 on it!! It was a nightmare of a journey.. missing so many wonderful photo opportunities! About 50km outside Addis we had a flat, the police came along and noticed something else.. so everyone off – mass bundle onto a local bus. I couldn’t get on, so got my bike off and cycled into Addis..descending was awful, my bike was shuddering and almost quiting completely.
So tomorrow, I’m off to the motor company.. another experience!
The trip is going well, I’m finding the transition between photographer and cyclist a nightmare. I thought it would be ok. But in truth, I don’t have time to capture half the images I want. I like to get to know my subject, not just shove a camera in their face..