Friday, 13 September 2013

Riding with Ross Methven: day 12

Ross Methven is riding a bicycle from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Cape Town, South Africa. He is currently cycling through Tanzania and I am accompanying him on part of the Tanzanian leg. My Mt. Kilimanjaro guide, Yahoo, says cycling is one of the best training options for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Friday 9 August 2013
I felt much stronger as we cycled the 30-or-so kilometres to Igunga on our way to Shelui.

Today we paddled the longest and toughest stretch yet. Ross noted we covered 49.5 miles, approximately 78.4 kilometres, to Shelui.

The approach to Shelui was the most difficult yet, with a strong head wind throughout the day. Throughout the day I kept watch for the mountain range located some kilometres beyond Shelui which, once sighted, would signal that the end of our longest cycling day would soon be over. I saw the mountain range early in the day and was relieved by the gradual but slow approach I made. Ross had cycled ahead of me as we had agreed.

My spirits were lifted each time the road turned directly towards the mountain range but I was also, time and time again, hugely disappointed as the road turned away from the mountain range. The end of the day was near and yet extremely elusive.
Just after 6:00 PM, the elusive range of mountains was visible in the horizon and the day's cycling seemed to me nearing completion.
At the edge of Shelui, I saw a bright light approach from the opposite side. I thought it was a motorcycle; in fact, it was Ross. Although there was adequate daylight, the sun had already set and he had set off to meet me and ride ahead of me to illuminate the road ahead in case darkness caught me on the road. I did not have bicycle light.
If you want to donate to Ross' cause please follow this link:
It was the Moslem festival of Eid today, the end of the fast, and Shelui was in a festive mood and milling with people. It took a number of visits to guest houses before I found rooms at Beach Hotel (there is neither sea, nor ocean anywhere near Shelui. I didn't even notice a pond.) for Shs.10,000 each ($US 6.25). The attendant said: "I have to warn you, women guests are not allowed in your rooms."

"After almost 80 kilometres of cycling? You cannot be serious." That was our mutual reaction, but we kept the reactions to ourselves.

For dinner we ate chipsi mayai, a Tanzanian specialty which is basically an omelette mixed with chips. It was the best I had eaten.

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