So I have a story to tell

Yesterday I convinced myself that it is possible to ride the 486km to Mombasa from Nairobi and I almost did. Before you get tired thinking about how massive that distance is, hear me out.

To prepare, I bought 6 lunch bars on Friday. Had my bike serviced the week before, talked my friend into lending me his small safari pump, bought patch kit and then checked the elevation on komoot. Everything was set. I had enough cash in the wallet, 2 water bottles and no phone. Still don’t have a phone.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early, 5:20 to be precise to get ready for this massive attempt. I parked everything I needed, warmed some left over food for breakfast and set off at 6. 7km later, it occurs to me I am not sure I got my wallet in the bag and without it I am effed, completely fucked. So I check the bag in a hurry and don’t see it. Bugger rides back home only to arrive and find the wallet in the bag. That was the moment to not proceed with the ride.

Now that wallet has been located, I set off again. Goal is to maintain a pace of 30kph for as long as it is possible. That I discovered was easier said than done. To cut a long story short, I maintained that pass for 280km.

To ensure that I didn’t bonk during the ride, my goal was to stop every 100km for tea and a snack, refill my water bottles and eat a lunch bar. I did this for the first 100. My next stop was after 70km. Then I did a stop at 50km. And I think the next was after 80km.

I had a puncture while cycling through Tsavo national park. Luckily I had a pump. It didn’t occur to me that inflating a tire to 90psi using a small handheld pump is harder than cholo punda manyuol. I gave up at 55psi which was good enough to support my weight.

The hardest part of the ride was between 170-180km. I almost gave up and then the last 90km were hard, 36km of this was in the dark.

The terrain is good. Flats, gentle climbs and more flats. No drops except at km 90 then it is all flat and boring with only you and your bicycle.

I woke up today to go and get the train back to Nairobi. Fully backed. So I hitched a ride with a driver who was bringing a car to Nairobi from Mombasa.

Next plan, to concur the remaining 150 or so km to Mombasa in one day.

Now you can get tired 😪

Near misses

For those of you who ride, you know how biking can be fun and how a slight miscalculation can bring you tumbling down especially if you happen to ride wearing cleats. For the uninitiated, that’s a case where man and machine are one. It’s a combination at the foot unlike the many cases where it is in the hip.

Regular readers know of the many falls I have described ever since I convinced myself there was something to gain in riding clipped. Well, they tell you about energy transfer, and all many nice things but they hardly ever mention embarrassing falls that come with it.

So on Saturday I am out on my long ride as I am fond of doing. It is the final few km back home and there is traffic into the city. I am weaving in between cars in traffic that seems only to out a tortoise. At some point I get behind a van and all over sudden, the guy brakes. I am at such a speed that undoing clips is almost impossible. I stretch my hand to hold onto this van while trying to steady myself and just at that moment, it starts to move. At that moment, I was now seeing myself coming one with the ground and not the bike but luckily given I was on a soft gear, giving the bike some momentum wasn’t so hard.

I survived without embarrassing myself. If you are a learner, don’t embarrassing yourself by going to the highway or some other popular street because cleats have a way of causing embarrassment where you least expect to fall.

Have a fun biking week.

Random things

Yesterday I went to have my bike checked at my usual garage. As a side note, I think bike maintenance is just as expensive as maintaining a car since I do a major service every 1000km and that can be 2 weeks. Well, maybe half the costs. But that is a by the way. So while at the garage there was this young Dutch male I think in his late 20s or early 30s who has been riding since March last year.

Someone asked why Africans are not doing such long tours. And it got me thinking.

First there is the big issue of money. How do you finance the trip? The good fellow told me he had worked for 3.5 years & saved enough for the trip. The average Joe in Nairobi would need to work maybe 2x as long, live with his mother and save 0.67 of his salary.

The next hoop is visa requirements among African nations. One has to show proof that he loves his grandmother enough to return home, has enough money in the bank and other such loops before you can get a visa. Now, who wants to deal with all that stress.

Say you have saved enough to marry Leah or is it laboured to marry Rebecca and have visas taken care of, you need to convince your employer that it is a good idea to give you a vacation for 1year to go biking adventures. Good luck with that.

Having said that, I think if I were 20 and I had bills taken care, I would do something this fun. See the world while on a bicycle. I think the only thing that would beat this is seeing the world on foot, but this takes much longer & I don’t want to have blisters.

What, if you could, stopped you from doing a world tour say on a boat or a glider?

How to ride 300km

You do it hard! Because there is no other way to do it. But I go ahead of myself or is it putting the cart before the horse.

So yesterday, the usual suspect and I left Nairobi at first light to go to Namanga (for those reading from elsewhere- majority of my readers), that’s the border with Tanzania, 102.5 miles. The plan is to have brunch halfway point- that is at Namanga so we can start our journey back.

Did I mention that most of our roads are not well lit? Now i have. So in this semidarkness, the usual suspect hit a stone, and had a flat. He gets a 10 for preparedness. There was no time to check for the puncture, he quickly replaced the clincher and off we were at a steady pace before we could release the brakes and go full throttle. Which we did for hundred of kilometers until we got to Bisil from where we battled crosswinds and headwinds for 57km! I have ridden in bad weather, in hilly terrain but not in wind that’s unrelenting.

The good news is we got to Namanga in one piece.

The winds were not as bad as the onward trip but I think after having had a good brunch, we must have been heavier on the bike because we didn’t ride as hard. Eventually we decided to do the rest of the 30km to home in a cab as it was also late, and you don’t want to be out on an unlit road on a bike with 9pm curfew quickly approaching.

Since this a boring story. No, I know, I will post photos to make for the lack of a good story and I hope they speak 4K words that I have failed to do. This time there was no video. Still no sports cam, you see 😦

Nairobi- Meru- Nanyuki bike tour

This was a 300km bike tour. On day 1, we covered 225km and decided that was enough work and found ourselves a good place to sleep and relax the muscles. After being on the saddle for close to 10hrs, my butt felt like a fire had been lit below it.

But I go ahead of myself. This trip has been in the oven since February when we (with others not in the present tour) attempted this ride and yours truly abandoned the ride 160+km in. I wasn’t giving up this time round. The many runs and practice rides paid off.

Keep it here for the next tour. Hopefully I will get a sponsor for a GoPro camera which will mean you have longer videos of the tours.


Why do bicyclists insist on riding recreationally on roadways, risking their lives, when they could just as easily ride trails?

So here I was taking a walk through the Internet and found this question on quora. I guess this was asked by some one who thinks only cars have rights to public roads. I don’t even think it deserves a response.

Biking is a legitimate means of transport. Cyclists pay taxes that are used to build and maintain roads. Many times, cycling is efficient and quick way to get around. And if most drivers were not assholes, cycling would be the preferred option to get around.

And were asshole drivers like the one who asked this question more careful, cyclists would not be at risk.

Whereas some cyclists own cars, others don’t. To get to the trails, how would those without cars get there? Carry their bikes on their shoulders? Hire a cab?

Maybe assholes should not be on quora.

my week in cycling

Because I don’t want to brain today, i thought i could just tell you about my rides. I enjoy doing enduro rides (rides longer than 100km. It is time that I don’t have some times).

I ride 5 days a week with two days for rest, that is Friday and Sunday. Those two days I walk or run. I have not always been this active. I have always had a reason to not run or cycle until Covid and then the government put restrictions on movement into and out of Nairobi, encouraged employers to allow their employees to work from home. It then occurred to me I could actually be active & boy, I have tried.

This week I have been on the bike for a total of 16hrs 42 minutes, covered a distance of 407.2 km (253 miles for Muricans) and climbed a total of 5,065m (16,617,45 ft again for bloody Muricans). Why do they insist on using feet, miles and pounds?

The longest ride was 182km and the shortest 37km. I am trying to train to run 5km. Most of my runs & walks this week were a few metres short of 5km. Hopefully I will get to run 5km in under 30 minutes.