Sore finger, and replacement bike

5 Jan

I have some news that some readers may find upsetting. I am bamboo bike boy no longer.

After a blisteringly hot (Mitch’s cyclometer registered 53.3C in the sun) 60km ride from Nungwi to Stone Town, the rear derailleur dived into the spokes and brought me to a standstill. The re-bent aluminium dropout and mech hanger had given up the ghost again.

I took off the new chain, zip tied the battered derailleur to the frame again, tried not to have a paddy, had a paddy and finally decided it was time the bike was given a more expert attention back in England by the men in white coats.

I have more distressing news though. When beginning the Nungwi – Stone Town ride I had the fall that I had been waiting for. The fall that only a cycling mzungu can have. I stopped in a busy market area with Mitch to buy some samosas, couldn’t quit un-clip my clipped in shoes from the bike, and slowly toppled over onto my side onto the dust to laughs and shouts of ‘jambo!’.

And more. This morning I lazily stretched my arms up in my guesthouse room to whack my finger against a fan at full whizz. These things always come in 3’s.

What to do then? And how to do it? And why me? I wasn’t sure, so I did what I always do when things are getting a tad drastic. I called Dad. We agreed that the best option was to follow Mitch, who was across the sea in Dar es Salaam preparing to fly back to Holland, and offer to buy his bike from him. Good news, because I happened to be calling Dad on the 2 hour ferry ride to Dar in pursuit of Mitch to do just that.

Long story short, Mitch was generous enough to sell his bike (Koga Signature), his bags and a load of other kit to me at a fair price. He also took the bamboo bike back to Europe with him to be collected, resurrected, and made ready for the European leg.

If it hadn’t been for Mitch being in the right place at the right time, there’s a strong possibility the whole African leg would have been royally baggage handled.

So now it’s time to get back on the horse. Although I couldn’t have picked a better place to get marooned for a couple of weeks. Nungwi is beautiful. The beaches are white and the people dance, sleep and play football. Everyone greets each other extensively at every opportunity and after short, jokey conversations you’re often told ‘we are together, brother’.

New Years Eve was a big ‘party party’ on the beach. Midnight was marked not with fireworks but by cutting the electricity and setting fire to a wooden sculpture of ‘20012’. Hakuna matata.

Now Dar es Salaam. Traffic central. People are busy here. Today I cycled around for 20km past big warehouses and factories, countless small shops and endless individuals carrying whatever they can sell.

Last night I met a friend of a friend, Chip, at the New Africa Casino, where she works. Chip is an unassuming 21 year old Vietnamese travel writer and a force to be reckoned with. She’s travelled extensively and her various achievements are impressive regardless of her age. I recommend checking out her blog. http://travel.huyenchip.com

And I’m not just saying this because she got me free drinks at the casino all night.

Train ticket to Mbeya booked. I leave on Tuesday. Time to get back on track.

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3 Responses to “Sore finger, and replacement bike”

  1. Tracey Mum Morris January 5, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Wow Jack, you are really going through all sorts of mishaps and adventures, you make it so entertaining to read – keep up the good work and look after yourself…..you seem to be doing a good job at that! Love you and miss you xxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Alan Frost January 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Great stuff Jack – wish I was there. In fact your Mum wishes I was there(instead of you).

    Frosty

  3. Krys January 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Hi Jack,

    Happy New Year!

    So sorry to hear of your frustrations, glad you will be up and running again. Guess you may have to change your Blog to “Bambooless Bike Ride”, until you are back up and running in Europe.

    Wishing you a smoother journey from now on…am loving the blog.

    Krys x

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