Friday, September 16, 2011

Biking en brousse

Since the start of the rainy season I've expanded my list of things that I consider "bike-able" to include rock fields, sand pits, and small rivers. The only thing around here that it turns out you really can't bike through is mud. Your wheels sink in, and the mud cakes up so thick on the brakes that the wheels stop turning. Even pushing a bike through the deep clay mud in some places requires stopping every few minutes to scrape off the rims and tires. 

A few days ago I biked from Dindéfélo to Kédougou, all by myself. I'd done it before, but in a group and from the other direction, so I was a little nervous about remembering where the turnoffs were, and about mud and water level, but it went just fine. It is en brousse, but even out in the sticks there are little villages and huts along the way, and at the one fork where I wasn't sure which was to go I just asked an old man who was sitting under a tree, enjoying his morning tea, and he told me which way would take me toward Kédougou.

My favorite part is this stick bridge, supported by tall big branches and wires attached to another tree off to the left. I felt very Indiana Jones-ish starting my day off with a 30 kilometer (19-ish mile) ride through the African countryside. Except that I had a water bottle and a helmet instead of a whip and a fedora. 

Stick Bridge!

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