08 May 2011

Damp ride

Two weekends ago Thomas and I agreed to do a long mtn ride.

Typically , the route wasn't fully decided until we started riding.

I enlisted Paulo to escort me through town at 5am so I could meet Thomas at 530. As I was approaching the rendezvous corner I saw a light coming up his dirt road and fell in just behind him. I thought his light was a car.

We planned to ride up the Monduli Coffee estate road and up and over the farm, down to Monduli town, then up to Monduli Juu plateau and then west on the plateau and drop down cycle across open grassland to the highway and slog home into the wind. I was a bit concerned about crossing the grassland as it has rained at night and there are sections of black cotton soil. Black cotton soil stick more than any other soil to tyres and can then pack the wheel, killing a ride.

We cruised up the Monduli estate road . It is "improved" so nothing was sticking to the tyres. we realized we cant ride through the estate so we tried a track to the side and within a few hundred meters we were starting to get bigger tyres, because of caking mud.
we back tracked and went higher and then tried to ride along their fence, which was like riding down through ploughed fields and grass. At the bottom it did not look good so we pushed the bikes back up to the improved road and it started to drizzle.

We started to be more realistic and even if they let us through the farm, the track down to monduli would be slippery, sticky, and might be unrideable. I mean bike carrying fun. The low clouds seemed all over.

I was starting to have a muddy drive system, but had some extra oil along.

We coasted back looking at conditions on the tracks cutting across to monduli. We ended up riding back to the highway and all the way around to monduli town, and then up to Monduli Juu. The road is more than improved and we road in the drizzle to the top.

The clouds started parting and we rode to the highest point before it drops down into the rift valley and Ketumbeine.

Turning around we could not quite let the bikes go as sections were slippery, but it was still fast enough. We opted for some tea in Monduli town as the village of monduli juu was full of sticky looking mud.

Some clods of sticky mud fell into my drive chain and I now had a red chain lubricated by mud. What i needed now was a torrential down pour to clean it up before I lubricated. Instead the occasional clod spun off my tyres onto my chain.

More fast rolling and a number of cars coming up who didn't move over much. Soon we were in monduli town and tarred road and we found a small restaurant run by pleasant people. They had about a million donuts on the counter for sale and we had a couple and some milk tea.

As we were leaving we met a bunch of small kids who i snapped a few pictures of.

Now we had a familiar 38 km ride home.


  1. Anonymous12:26 am

    nice i like that...iwish i could know 2to ride a bike so that ican travelling through out my district....

  2. Anonymous12:27 am

    nice i like that...wish i could know 2to ride a bike so that i can traveling through out my district....

  3. Hey anon,

    It is pretty easy to learn to ride a bike and after awhile the freedom is incredible. In our big cities in tanzania it is overall quicker.