Feb 24th, Friday: Another day, another first.
We experience mud. Lovely thick Saprolite* mud, aka sticky DRC-type mud, which clogs the wheels, chains and derailleurs, forcing all of the riders to stop in their tracks.
It didn't matter if you were a Racing-Snake or part of Team-Sweep, you came to a halt and started cleaning the mud off your bike.
|The muddy road conditions we had to contend with (Photo by Rupert Dixon)|
Had an early Riders Briefing followed by breakfast, then left Kingfisher Lodge, cycling away from Jinja. We fought our way along the potholed tar road trying to miss the potholes while contending with the Kamakazi Borda Borda Riders, then turned off onto a dirt road.
At the back, us tail-enders got caught in some heavy rain, I put on a poncho but it helps nothing, wearing a poncho on a bike is now officially not recommended!
We hit a section of road construction, which had recently been graded, with the assistance of the rain, it turns into a total mud bath, forcing the riders to come to a sudden stop. The mud builds up on the tires, resulting in the wheels locking up and as mentioned, every rider is forced to dismount, walk a portion uphill until out of the affected area, and clean the mud off their tires.
Judith and I are forced to stop and are quickly assisted by some of the locals, who produce short lengths of sticks, which they use to get the mud off our tires to free the wheels. We repay the favor, by giving them some of our PVM Energy Bars (we have started using them as bartering items).
I assisted Erin in removing her Granny-Bicycle type mudguards, which are totally useless in this type of mud (she repays me later that evening with a well appreciated cold beer).
|Morning Riders Briefing|
|The next Section before our next Rest Day|
|Cleaning the last bit of mud off our bikes|
|Justin's bike, very muddy, with a broken rear derailleur hanger which forced him to abandon.|
At our first Coke Stop, we were totally knackered, some of us just sat on the road outside of the shop, and recharged our batteries with a sugar high.
Cycled on to the Lunch Truck at the 67km mark, had lunch watched by the local population (we are big spectator value) and then commenced ride on towards the Lake.
After another 13km after lunch, we reached Lake Victoria, where we are besieged by locals who offer to clean our bikes of all the accumulated mud, we take up their offer, and they rush our bikes down to the Lake edge and wash them. We take the opportunity for another Coke Stop, Judith has a Stoney Ginger Beer, and I opt for a refreshing cold beer!
Once we had enough people to fill up a boat, the now sparkling clean bikes are loaded (our boat takes seven riders and their bikes) and we boarded accordingly. We then enjoyed a leisurely boat trip into the metropolis of Kampala - a very clever way of getting into Kampala without experiencing the notorious Kampala traffic.
We disembarked at one of the many small harbours around Kampala and cycled a short distance to the Red Chili Lodge, I decided to spoil Judith and take a room (no camping, tomorrow 25th Feb is her birthday).
|Coke Stop time - Sitting down on the road getting our sugar fix|
|Unpacking both riders and bikes on arrival in Kampala|
Henry Gould the Founder of TDA, joins up with us (he will be accompanying us until Urusha) and the TDA makes the first donation of 19 new bicycles to a local Ugandan NGO Company, CAP AIDS Uganda. I handed one over and suggested to the recipient that he names the bike Michael!
A tough but worthwhile day comes to an end, with dinner by TDA and a few social beers at the bar next to the pool.
|Welcome to Kampala|
|Our first official TDA bike handing over ceremony|
|Henry Gould explaining the purpose of the TDA bike sponsoring and handover operations|
|Michael handing over a bike to one of the fortunate recipients|
|TDA Staff packing bikes on the Main Truck for their transport to Ssese Island tomorrow|
PS: There is a viral gastrointestinal infection doing its rounds among the riders, today 7 of the riders couldn't cycle and had to take the Main Truck to Kampala. What is interesting, is that they are all members of the original riders, none of the "Newbees" are sick, I think it's because after more than 40 days on the road, our immune systems are down.