Hi everyone, Alan here
Yesterday evening we arrived into Dakar after 90 Days on the road, in those 90 days a lot has changed, the bikes are beginning to look scratched our beards are beginning to get long enough to eat and our lives are beginning to feel almost normal. I think that last point is the most important change. When we began 3 months ago everything was new and unusual, the fact that we were spending ever day travelling was a strange feeling. Not we find that it feels quite normal to get up pack the tents and get on the bikes each morning, quite normal to never know if the day will be easy or full of unpredictable challenges and people. I think life would now feel unusual if it wasn’t filled with such chaos!
So what have we been up to since our last blog? As we were leaving the Zebrabar, Martin, the owner told us that it was possible to travel the 100 miles to Dakar directly in the beach, cycling in the hard sand exposed by the water at low tide.
To get to the beach we had to cycle about 12 miles down a dirt track then turn off and cycle another mile or so until we reached the beach. Obviously we missed the turn and ended up dragging the bikes though sand (again) and getting a flat tire each into the bargain. My flat was right next to a village and I got allot of help from the villagers to fix it. This ‘help’ made the job take twice as long. The villagers did give us directions to the beach though, one even and helped to drag the bikes out of the sand again. We camped just short of the beach and were treated to dinner in another local village; the Senegalese are turning out to be a fantastically friendly people!
We arrived at the beach the next morning and had to wait 5 hours for the tide to go out sufficiently to expose the hard sand. This did give us time to watch the local fishing fleet come in and see how the local men dragged the large boats up the sand. When we eventually did get going the beach was mostly quite easy to ride on, only occasionally getting soft and causing the bikes to slide. We managed only 3 hours of cycling before the sun set and it was to dark to cycle. We traveled on the beach for 3 days but as the tides only let us travel for 3 hours a day it wasn’t exactly a taxing experience! Yesterday, with funds dwindling we decided we had had enough of the beach and turned off back onto the tarmac to maker the last 60 miles to Dakar by road. That day I got one broken spoke and 3 punctures, maybe someone was trying to say we should have stayed on the beach!
We are having a day off today in Dakar and have spent the day walking through the city streets doing a little shopping for bike bits, on one shop we met a man called Seydina Omar Diagne who runs the Senegalese Olympic cycling team! He wished us luck and sold us oil!
Right time for me to go, the bars of Dakar Await!