Beyond the Bike

Stories from Stuart and Claire's original & recent journeys….

Stage 1: Kampala to Kigali -Taking Khalid Home.

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Kampala (Uganda) to Kigali (Rwanda): 552km; September 13th - 19th.

On Sunday 13th September, we left Kampala accompanied by the KGB (Kampala Group of Bikers), Kasoma (bamboo bike maker) and  his apprentice Khalid. It was such a pleasure to finally meet Kasoma and for him to see his beautiful bike being ridden through Kampala.  Leaving the city was not the nicest ride, mainly due to the sheer number of heavy trucks but we were soon on the open road which undulated wonderfully through the countryside, every hill we went up we then had a similar length descent and thus a rest: my kind of hills!

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Stage 8: 3 types of fun on the road to Kenya...

Dar to Nairobi; 950km, November 28th - December 10th.

Fun isn’t always fun. So Jim Blyth, a Chamonix mountain guide told me in 2010. During Type 1 fun, you enjoy both doing the activity and reflecting on it. Type 2 isn’t much fun at the time but you enjoy looking back on it. Type 3 is neither.  I explained this to my new stokers Rob Heck & Emma Watson Mack as we planned the next stage over a Kili (local beer) in Dar. Our aim was to avoid Type 3 and get close to the real Kili before Rob would have to go back to work…

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Stage 7, part I: Harsh Trucks but Kind Strangers….

Stage 7, part I: Mbeya to Mikumi. 3– 10 November, 512km

"You are now on a major trucking and bus route all the way to Arusha and the lack of shoulder and the strong wind is probably going to make it hairy. The tarmac has melted and the overloaded trucks have smudged it into treacherous tracks. As you probably know, the truckers and buses could not give two shits about a cyclist on the road and will not even consider accommodating you, especially in Tanzania”…. The words from Andres Perez, a seasoned motorcyclist in the region were with me as I set off from Mbeya, with approximately 800km to go before Dar-es-Saleem and the prospects of a week’s R&R on the beaches of Zanzibar.

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Stage 6: A hitchhiker's guide to Northern Malawi & Southern Tanzania...

Stage 6: Nkhata Bay to Mbeya, 430km. October 13th - 19th

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. You have no such accurate remembrance of a country you have driven through" If Hemingway was describing how best to understand the physical geography of a land, what better way to understand its people than by offering them a lift on your very own bicycle taxi...

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