Around the turn of the year my weekend rides tended to be:
-wake up and stumble around before dawn trying to get ready.
-ride out in the dark for awhile
-turn off the highway on a dirt road
-try to ride somewhere where I would either see animals, or be alone, or lost, or drink tea in a boma, or scratched up, or all of the above.
-sit on the side of the trail and have a cup of tea and sandwich
-delay the turn around point (10 am) because it was NOW getting good country.
-slog home in the heat on the highway.
These rides tended to be 6-10 hours, which meant that the only person who was (1) always available and (2) could ride that far, was Paulo Rukoine. There are a number of people who can ride that far but they either have young babies, kids home from boarding school, lonely wives/girlfriends, or no headlight.
Paulo is a great riding partner except this, his employer (me) pays him a pittance and he can't afford or won't afford to maintain his bike. So if I wanna ride with him I have to maintain his bike, buy him tubes and replace cables etc. He does however have a better thermos than me and speaks masai.
(jeez, all that and I haven't gotten to the topic)
So my weekend rides were solo rides in the bush. Then in mid year I started meeting up with riders and we did shorter mtn bike rides, hard and fast but we never got into the bush.
This Sunday I told a slew of "sometime cyclists" to meet at my house and we would head up the slopes of Mt Meru. I gave Paulo a new tube so he could help showing the way, Erik Mdogo showed up with Laura Tarimo and her nephew Louis ( read teenager), Andrew came without the lonely girlfriend (and he did a ride to the ride), Vincent Shirima and Patrick show up in a brand new landcrusier transforming my dump of a compound into a high end parking lot. To round off the crew I hooked up the alley cat for my daughter Nashesha (she had to change clothes twice to get the right outfit after a discussion with her buddy Mariamu), and Dina Masudi our 12 year old neighbor.
Right away I realized this is a different sort of ride. I spent an hour pre ride fixing bikes. One bike we threw in the store and took mine instead, as it was beyond repair. We were spread all over the road and with the 27 turns it is amazing we ever met up with the different groups. The tail group got off course and somehow we got ahead of Vincent who caught up.
The tail group was about 6 people and we stayed 30 minutes at the small river near Sambasha mtn and then coasted down in the dust to home.
Dina is 12 and rode the whole way on a 24inch single speed piece of junk bike. AMAZING.
It was a smash of a ride and people started talking about doing this each week.
It is a totally different type of riding for me. I spend more energy worrying about people being lost and fixing flats than serious riding. However as I had Nashesha on the alley cat it was a fair amount of work.