13 May 2012

Wrong Road

Wrong road and wrong day. Picture taken after we had turned around on the wrong road.

The plan was to ride around Mnt Meru. I have done this ride several times but not since they stopped bicycles and foot traffic from going through Arusha National Park. The next road is further east and makes a longer trip.

Our day starts in the dark . Thomas Holden and I meet in Majengo at 530am. Even before 6am there was plenty of traffic as we ride right through town. It starts to drizzle and then rain so I put on my O2 Rainshield rain coat and take off a layer. We ride the old road to Moshi, a good gravel/dirt road. We have some coffee out of Thomas's thermos and wash a bit in a stream outside of Usa River town. Thomas is on a mtn bike without fenders and I am on my Raleigh touring bike with full fenders. I feel I am very smart as he has mud all over including his face.

I had forgotten to look up where the road around the park starts from, so I try to see on my smart phone but the Internet is too slow. We get on the main highway for 10 km to Kikatiti where "I think" the road starts.

We ask and they say this road up ahead goes to Momella. It probably goes but the road starts climbing and climbing. It stops raining so we take off raincoats. then the road has less gravel and is just soil .

On an uphill we both find soil sticks to tyres and we come to a standstill. With my fenders it is harder to free the tyres.

We turn around after a short discussion, and it starts to rain. I try using my water on the tyres and that allows the wheels to turn and with water on the road now it frees up. Now it is raining for real.

We reach the highway and take the first picture. The rain coat and floppy hat work great and I am dry from waist up.

We deal with the highway and before Usa River turn on to track again. We find this river and wash some mud off.
After 30 minutes I think a freak slab of mud catch the tyre and get caught in the mudguard and then it just kept adding on until my tyre wouldn't turn. If i found any water on the road it would lubricate and the wheel would turn. Just before i found a river again my rear shifter cable broke. I fixed it in largest rear cog and we rode home with me using two gears.

Round trip was about 90km in 7 hours, 5 hours riding. Top speed was 60kmph !!! Gained 650meters

At Arusha it hadn't rained much and at my house not at all.

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