15 September 2014

What do you do when you quit chewing tobacco?

Say what?

First of all, I am going to buy a real camera.  These snaps are horrible.

My long time buddies have chewed tobacco since their teens.     Neon rider is two days older than me and been chewing for as long as I have know him, which is more than 35 years.  So he quit early this year .  Quitting has some negative side effects.  One is he had gained weight even faster than me, and secondly it affects his mood.

So when the mood gets too bad we go for an over night tour.  At least that was what i was told.

We ride familiar trails and tracks to Moita .  Take a new road that passes this rock wall in the middle of nowhere.  We used to travel by foot and 30km / day was very hard.  ride 30km by 9am.
 We drop off an escarpment and go into Murogoine and have a coke and load up on water.  We cross the sand river and get on a track that turns into a road before reaching  Kambi ya Tano.  This means "camp #5", which comes from the days they chopped down all the trees in this area and made charcoal.

 This is what tobacco withdrawals are like in a hot desert.  Around here we talked about desertification.  This is not Somalia or the Sahael desert but 50 km south of Arusha.  Man made, completely denuded of grass.  People manage to live here somehow.  Severe over grazing.
 At Kambi ya tano we stop for a lunch in the sand river where they get their water.  We wash and eat some food.  Now we have a long gradual slog up the escarpment to Loswaki.  It is a good hour of climbing and we stop for another coke and water at Loswaki. 

 Now we ride a few kms and are at Terat.  Quite a large village now and we buy a lousy meat and rice.  We should of done the beans.  We add water for the night and breakfast and have a beer each for the road.  And now we are on a big road for awhile but it is rough.  Small tracks are nicer.

We take another smaller track into and area set aside for grazing and wildlife.  At a forest we find a place for hammocks and use my Littlebug stove for cooking as firewood is scarce.    We have ridden 110km. The sunset, moonrise, and sunrise are all spectacular.
 By 8 we are on the road despite getting up before 6am.  We ride small roads through Loiborsoit.  This is all roads I rode alone a year or so ago on the Landanai trip.  We stop in a nice restaurant in Loiborsoit for milk tea, chapatis, and chatting.
Through Lolikisale and we stop again as it is almost noon.  "Food" isn't ready, which means rice or ugali.  Instead we have huge omelets and mandazi and black tea.  We arrange for a young guy to show us the turn off and leave the main road for tracks again.  We have a blowout and put on a new tyre.  We drop off the highlands and down into hot lowlands.  The road becomes sandy, even sometimes stopping me or making me expend too much energy.  We start to tire and feel aches.  We finish the sandy stretch and are back on very familiar trails and tracks.  One more coke and an hour to their turn off and 45 minutes for me.  another 100+km day.  I am tired.  I only manage to lie down the rest of the evening and crash at 9 but am too tired to sleep well.  Great two days to fix moods.

02 September 2014

Close one, bad reaction.

So biking is supposed to make me a better person right?

I came very close to getting bumped.

1- I am on my way home about 515pm.  So it is daylight and i am visible.  Normally i ride home in the dark.

2-  My motto is don't trust a driver, and i trusted one.

3- I should of been a bit more patient.

4- i didn't plan to pass through the intersection with a vehicle running interference for me.

1/2 way home between two traffic light intersections is a road coming up from town on my side of the road.  It is a busy road and often used by drivers to avoid jams and the lights.  There is not much traffic, which means I have to wait for a car to run interference, but there don't seem to be cars coming up the feeder road, so i ride across.  A sedan comes fast up to turn into my lane.  i slow and brake and then she brakes a sliver away from me.

I react badly screaming " Don't you have any humanity"  yep i said something like that.  She is shocked by what happened.

What can you do ?  I ride on and she passes by and slows and says " I am so very sorry".

That helps.  But it helps more that she will probably not run the stop sign like that for a few days.

01 September 2014

Whats do wazungu (white people in tanzania) and tandem bicycle riders have in common?

Saturday one week ago I was with Miku on the tandem on slow club ride.

 This is Miku at a tea stop.
 Later on when we are on busier roads he informs me that he doesn't like being on the tandem.  "Everyone notices you and comments and stares.  Makes me uncomfortable."
Now he can relate to what I feel like as white dude moving around Arusha.