Tag Archives: Dar Es Salaam

Day in Dar

Day 63, rest day, 1638 Kahama Rd., Dar es Salaam

The highlight of today was getting my Macbook back – fixed. The hard drive was done. Fortunately I had done a full system back up in December before I left for Cairo. So Aaron at Elite Computers in Dar put in a new hard drive and uploaded everything from the back up hard drive. I was in business again.

In the afternoon we had a meeting with the Sickle Cell Foundation fundraising team. The cycle for Sickle Cell event had been a great success (they had almost 500 people participate and had had lots of press coverage – including newspaper articles with the headline ‘Famous Cyclist Comes to Tanzania’; I innocently asked who the famous cyclist was – the PR machine was in action) and the team wanted to follow it up with a homecoming event. We decided to do an even on May 16 in Dar. Anton and Julie and Sarah and their teams discussed what to do and how and we broke up around 3:00 with plans in place and lots of energy.

Around 3:30 Chris Morgan came over and did a video shoot for a ‘half way’ video that will be uploaded to the internet and can be used for fundraising. I fear he will have a difficult editing job though. He likes short sounds bites that bring the pictures alive – proper visual stuff. I, of course, am more verbal than visual and tend to ramble on for three minutes to a question he wants a twelve-word response to.

Liz had organized a party for that evening. Around 5pm a couple of dozen friends and kids started showing up for drinks and some food by the pool. It was a great way to relax and unwind and tell a few stories.  It was a great way to end a short break.

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The Macbook is Alive!

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I have just returned from picking up my Macbook from Elite Computers on Magore St here in Dar. In the end it needed a new hard drive. They tried to repair the old one but it just refused to be repaired. Luckily I had done a full system backup before I left for the TdA so it was easy to load the new hard drive.

All systems go. I am writing on the Macbook as we speak. And I now have no excuse 9or perhaps less of an excuse – or perhaps I’ll have to think up a new excuse) not to take pictures.

Anyway, here is the first picture I have posted in yonks – winning the golden Compass award at the half way mark for getting lost and surviving.

Thanks to James Campbell for the photo.

Cycle 4 Sickle Cell Caravan

The Cycle 4 Sickle Cell Caravan takes place today in Dar Es Salaam.

If you are there I hope you will be able to participate and to support the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

I understand that the ChipIn system I have used has stopped working. If you wish to donate please send a chque to:

 

Alan Knight

SCFT

BFPO 5347 (Dar Es Salaam)

London

HA4 6EP

 

Cheers,

 

Alan

Small rains

rainIn Dar Es Salaam we have two rainy seasons: a short rainy season in November and December called the small rains and a longer rainy season in March, April and May called the big rains. When I went out for a ride mid-morning yesterday it was bright and sunny but soon started to cloud over and then grow dark. I was riding along the coast road when the rain hit. It was preceded by an onshore wind that almost blew me off my bike. Hard on the heels of the wind came the rain, a tropical thunderstorm wall of water that reduced visibility to a matter of meters and dropped the temperature from 38C to 26C (according to my Garmin) in minutes. A brilliant way to cool down. I cut inland to get away from the wind and turned downhill into a small hollow. By this time it had been raining for less than ten minutes and there was already four inches of water at the bottom of the hollow. The roads simply could not drain the water quickly enough. Fantastic stuff.

When I went through London on my way back to Dar last week I picked up a couple of sets of marathon plus tires that I had ordered – a set of 28s and a set of 42s. I already had 35s on the bike. Before my ride yesterday I tested them on the bike. My rims are 18s but can take larger tires. It was fiddly though. I discovered that you have to be really careful  with the 42s. I exploded a tube on the first one I put on. I had put the tire in and just pumped away. Bang! The tire escaped the rim, the tube did a hemroid  and popped. You have to pump slowly, make sure the tire fills evenly and stays inside the rim. No problem. I put the 28s on for my ride and was very pleased with the grip in the rain.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

5 flights, 15 lions, 2 more flats

Time to catch up. Been away for a while again. It started a week ago last Wednesday when I got up at 3am to catch a 5:10 flight to Zimbabwe – well actually a flight to Nairobi, followed by a flight to Gaborone, followed by a flight to Harare.  A direct flight from Dar to Harare, if there were one, would take 2 ½ – 3 hours. Thanks to Kenya airways and their bizarre routing, it took me 12 hours. I did my schtick in Harare and then flew back to Dar on Friday – this time only two flights, one to Nairobi, then one to Dar.

Up at 5am on Saturday to get ready to leave at 6 for the Selous game reserve.  It is mid-term break for the kids and we were off on Safari. I cycled to Kibiti, about 160km and very hilly, where I met up with the family and a vehicle. We stayed in a local guesthouse across from the police station in Kibiti that night. Nice little place with about ten rooms around an inner courtyard, showers and loos in a block at the end. We got two rooms for 16,000 shillings, about US$10. Next morning we did about 100km on bad dirt and sand roads into the game reserve, where we spent 4 days. It is very dry in the park this time of year. No real rains yet, so lots of game near the water. We saw 15 different lions, lots of crocs, buffalo, elephants, giraffe, hippos, kudu, wart hogs and impala. No leopard this time though.

After arriving in Kibiti the Saturday before I had sent my bike back to Dar in another vehicle with Georgina, who had cycled down with me but had to get back to Dar that evening. When I got back to Dar on Wednesday night I found that both tires on the croix de fer were flat again. X!c@##! What is it with me and slow-leak, pinch punctures? There were a lot of corrugated speed bumps on the road, at the front and back ends of every village we cycled through. I can only think that I went over some of these too fast and hard and pinched the tubes. But this is ridiculous. I can’t get off and carry my bike over every speed bump.  Haven’t had the new bike for a month yet and I have already had 4 flats. I feel like I am single handedly keeping a rubber plantation in business.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

Patching tubes, trueing wheels

On Saturday I decided to try and patch some of the punctured tubes that have been piling up in the garage. I have not been very environmentally responsible this last year. Instead of patching tubes I have simply put in a new one and thrown the punctured one on the pile in the garage. There were eighteen of them. Three were beyond repair. Two had exploded and had foot long tears in them. One has so many holes it would have been more patch than tube. These three went to my daughter who wants to be Medusa for Halloween and will use them to create a writhing snake wig. The others all looked sort of repairable. I had three new patch kits and set to work. Seven tubes had pinch punctures so each had two holes, side by side, one from each side of the rim. These were tricky. The other eight all had single holes. Twenty-two patches later I had almost used up all of my three new patch kits – you only get 8 patches in a kit. I inflated them all and left them overnight to see which ones would hold. Five didn’t. So I have retrieved 10 tubes. Not too bad I guess. May have another crack at the five that still leak. Maybe not.  Maybe more rubber snakes for the Medusa wig. At any rate, need to get some more patch kits. Chris would say forget the tubes and get tubeless tires. He has a point. No pinch punctures with tubeless.

Also had the back wheel of the TREK – the wheel with all the broken spokes – properly trued. Mejah, who runs a bicycle advocacy group in Tanzania called UWABA, http://www.uwaba.or.tz/ has a good mechanic who did it for me.

No flats for five days now. I think ‘new bike’ and I are getting along better.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

rode hard and hung up wet

Had a good ride with Chris this morning. We did the hilly 65 k loop through town around the port, down to south beach and back. A good pace and the traffic wasn’t too bad today. We were in the saddle for almost two and a half hours. Still need to discipline myself to take in more fluids. My legs felt it a bit about 100 metres from the top of one hill. I took in some fluid and immediately felt fine. I have been out on the bike every day for the last two weeks. We are beginning to exchange atoms.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania