15 April 2012

Airport shuttle

I travel by plane 6 to 10 times per year to Dar es Salaam for work or board meetings of TzNIC.

Which means some excessive use in fossil fuels. The shuttle to airport is public transport so okay, but in dar I use Taxi. And of course the plane ride is immoral, LOL.

I have posted before that I need a bike in Dar to get around as I can spend 40,000 to 100,000 shs on taxis and often get caught in traffic jams. I haven't worked out a bike for my use in Dar yet.

Saturday I was booked on the 750am flight from KIA (Kilimanjaro Int Airport) to Dar. The Shuttle leaves at 5am from Arusha Town Center, which means I have to leave our house in a car at 445am to wait in the shuttle so i can wait at the airport. Last checkin is 40 minutes before departure.

So crazy me decided to try biking from home to the airport, about 55 km away in the dark with my overnight bag.

I got out of bed at 4am, packed, made coffee, showered,strapped my overnight bag on top of front rack and started riding at 5am. I was planning to depart earlier. So I left later than I would of if I had been going to use the shuttle!

I had one pannier with bike stuff (rain gear, tools, spare tubes, lock, etc) and some stuff from my overnight bag . The overnight bag was pushing the front light down, so I had to adjust how I had strapped the bag on.

At 5am there are a few pedestrians and sparse traffic. My lights showed me the road, and most of time I could ride in the middle of the lane. There were times when for 5 minutes no car passed me.

My lights need to be a bit brighter stil, as when there was other light sometimes I couldn't see the road well. In addition it was drizzling off and on , which made the road darker and absorb light.

I didn't push hard but wasn't going slow either. It took about and hour to pass Usa River in the dark. On downhills i would brake a bit.

It got light after 610 am and the wind increased against me. I began to worry I might not make the 40 minutes cut off before a flight. I increased the pace and started to sweat. The last 10 km flat stretch my speed slowed and then I turned off to the airport realizing I would make it 50 minutes before take off.

Except I found getting permission for storing my bike somewhere was taking more time than I budgeted so I gave up on inside a locked parking lot and I left it with a curbside baggage handler to deal with. He was helping me anyway. People were a bit surprised someone showed up on a bicycle. I found they were not even checking in people yet (bad sign) so I had time to take a sponge bath and change my clothes in the rest rooms.

The Flight was canceled and we were all booked at 1030. I missed the first two hours of the meeting but got to talk to an Austrailian girl who has a boyfriend here. She had seen me on the bicycle on the way to the airport, and was surprised.

Coming back I was booked from Dar on the 0720am flight. I got a taxi to drop me, 20,000shs. As usual I knew at least one person on the flight, and this time it was my friend Gijs who owns Moivaro Lodges. He introduced me to Nyaga Mawalla , a famous lawyer and client of ours. I have never met him. He praised our Habari Node Ltd .

Anyway I brag to Gijs about riding my bike to the airport, but accept a lift with him so we can keep talking on the ride back to Arusha. They dropped me on my side of town and I cycled home. What would of made it better is to have ridden bikes with Gijs to Arusha and talked for two hours instead of one.

So what was the biggest issue? The biggest issue is getting permission from my wonderful wife Bernice to ride alone in the dark.

The next step is to try biking in Dar, followed by biking the whole 650km to Dar in 1.5 days.


  1. Only Erik would do this. :-) I think it's cool and crazy. Byrna

  2. Bernice flipped out when I called her from Dar . she thought i had called a taxi.

  3. Anonymous9:41 am

    Im thrilled to hear your trip to the airport trying to catch your flight. Its pretty risky but ,ugh fun how long did you spend on the road? i want to try see for how long i can go up there. That was pretty good. And definitely you will have to got down in the history of KIA ! hahaha

  4. Petr it took 2hours and five minutes. Note I left 15 minutes LATER than i would have to catch the shuttle.