You may have got this from the blog title but yesterday we cycled our ten thousandth mile since leaving the London Eye. It’s been quite a ride! We have cycled over mountains and crossed deserts. we have overcome mechanical failures and political disasters. We have stayed on mud huts and expensive hotels. We have sweated in stifling dry heat and shivered in cold rain. We have laughed at the good times and the bad, the easy and the hard, we have even managed to laugh at diarrhea! And the best bit, it isn’t over yet! Tomorrow we will begin to cycle down into Zambia and onto the spectacular natural wonder that is Victoria Falls.
Since the last blog that Ian wrote in Mzuzu we have spent a few days off relaxing on the coast of the beautiful Lake Malawi in a town called Nkhata Bay. The road to Nkhata bay was good fun as it dropped about 700m on only 40 miles, at the top signs warned us of a steep decent and tight turns, a cyclists dream! I’m glad that we were not traveling the other way though.
On the outskirts of Nkhata Bay we met a fellow Cyclist from Germany who was also cycling down to South Africa for the Football. While hiding from Malawi’s seasonal rains he told us of a couple only a few days ahead of us also cycling to South Africa but doing it on a Tandem with a trailer. We have even got rumors of another British cyclist a couple of weeks ahead of us. It seems that cycling is becoming a popular way to get to the World Cup. We spent a week in Nkhata Bay relaxing and making new friends, several of which were also traveling to South Africa via Cars and Motorbikes. It’s a small world.
One day we went on a boat trip and watched Fish Eagles spectacularly swooping down to the water to catch fish from near the surface. We jumped into the lake from high rocky cliffs at the edge of the lake. Another day we even discovered the delights of ‘lake walking’ and ‘Lake lying’ which both basically involve getting a massive stone to hold you at the bottom of the lake. The evenings were spent in the lodge bar, one evening we were even treated to some live music that involved possibly the most catchy tune I have ever herd, it was called ‘How big is the lake?’ apparently the lake is ‘so big’.
We left Nkhata bay on Friday morning and cycled for 4 days down the coast road to the capital Malawi, on the 2nd day Ian’s local bottom bracket yet again failed to the point the bike was sadly unrideable. The bike was so bad that we were forced to flag down a pickup truck to drive us 25miles to the nearest town where we could replace the part. Ian is now in his 4th bracket. It seems that the local parts can only cover 1000 miles or so before they fail. Hopefully this latest one is better because we don’t want to make a habit of flagging down trucks, it feels almost like cheating!
Anyway we arrived in Lilongwe yesterday to find another 2 cyclists, one American and one Chinese, and as if to disprove the pattern of everyone heading south both started in Cape Town and were independently heading north! We are having today off the bikes as it will take us 8 days to ride to our next rest stop in Lusaka, Zambia.
The adventure continues!