Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Are you having a Giraffe

Like cycle touring it has been a while since I have done a blog. I'm a bit rusty at both. So much like my first day back on the road I will try and keep it short and tell you about my first few days in Africa. The last time I was in Africa it wasn't too kind to me (  I suppose in many ways it influenced my expectations of how my arrival in Nairobi would be like. I needn't have worried it is just another big developed city. Huge in fact!

I planned on leaving the city just after sunrise the next day. This plan went out the window when I noticed I had a flat tyre. It took me over 15,000 miles before I got one last time. So you can understand my surprise. Not to worry I had spare tubes so I just got about changing it. Only then to realise that I had brought tubes with the wrong valve fitting. Yep I know what a muppet!

This put me in the situation of having to go to one of the shopping malls in Nairobi to try source a new one. After recent events in the city this was something that I had hoped to avoid. I needn't have worried. I have never before seen so many guys with guns in a shopping centre. In fact there is a lot of security everywhere I have been so far.

So, finally tube bought and replaced I was then off. The hustle and bustle of Nairobi was like many cities I had been before. I was well prepared for dodging trucks and weaving through grid traffic. My right hand soon remembered its automatic up movement to wave every time I heard a cheery beeps from the oncoming trucks. It took a few miles to get into a rhythm and feel comfortable on Kirsty again. But the feel of the hand positions, pedaling and changing of gears soon came back. It was like we hadn't stopped.

Some 20 miles into the day, I managed to break, the newly fitting that morning, bike computer. So I got out my favourite expedition tool, duct tape. In the time it took me to do this brief repair, a herd (if they come in herds?) of giraffes walked right past me. I would have missed them if I hadn't stopped. The down side of this though, is it does suggest that those cute and cuddly character from the Disney film the Lion King might actually be real!

With in a few hours of riding I had broke my vow to not see any animals in Africa. Moments later as I was cycling along I startled two prancing gazelles that darted away from me. I pondered if this would work on lions too as I made my way up a drawn out climb. At the top I stopped and double checked with a local to see if I was going the correct way. I wasn't. I had actually went the furthest distance that I have ever went in the wrong direction (see it hear:

I turned round and set about getting back on track. Kenya is a country that I am finding difficult to navigate. Before night fall I stopped in a town that could have been a quieter version of a Indian city. Day one has been hard. I'm sun burnt, dirty from the road, have covered very little distance, found the traffic challenging,  and road condition dishearten. I still have a very long way to go. Have I bitten off more than I can handle with this challenge?

The ride is for the Myocarditis foundation. Please read and share Lucy's story

Big thanks to everyone that has donated and shared Lucy's story so far!

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