15 September 2014

What do you do when you quit chewing tobacco?

Say what?

First of all, I am going to buy a real camera.  These snaps are horrible.

My long time buddies have chewed tobacco since their teens.     Neon rider is two days older than me and been chewing for as long as I have know him, which is more than 35 years.  So he quit early this year .  Quitting has some negative side effects.  One is he had gained weight even faster than me, and secondly it affects his mood.

So when the mood gets too bad we go for an over night tour.  At least that was what i was told.

We ride familiar trails and tracks to Moita .  Take a new road that passes this rock wall in the middle of nowhere.  We used to travel by foot and 30km / day was very hard.  ride 30km by 9am.
 We drop off an escarpment and go into Murogoine and have a coke and load up on water.  We cross the sand river and get on a track that turns into a road before reaching  Kambi ya Tano.  This means "camp #5", which comes from the days they chopped down all the trees in this area and made charcoal.

 This is what tobacco withdrawals are like in a hot desert.  Around here we talked about desertification.  This is not Somalia or the Sahael desert but 50 km south of Arusha.  Man made, completely denuded of grass.  People manage to live here somehow.  Severe over grazing.
 At Kambi ya tano we stop for a lunch in the sand river where they get their water.  We wash and eat some food.  Now we have a long gradual slog up the escarpment to Loswaki.  It is a good hour of climbing and we stop for another coke and water at Loswaki. 

 Now we ride a few kms and are at Komolo.  Quite a large village now and we buy a lousy meat and rice.  We should of done the beans.  We add water for the night and breakfast and have a beer each for the road.  And now we are on a big road for awhile but it is rough.  Small tracks are nicer.



We take another smaller track into and area set aside for grazing and wildlife.  At a forest we find a place for hammocks and use my Littlebug stove for cooking as firewood is scarce.    We have ridden 110km. The sunset, moonrise, and sunrise are all spectacular.
 By 8 we are on the road despite getting up before 6am.  We ride small roads through Loiborsoit.  This is all roads I rode alone a year or so ago on the Landai trip.  We stop in a nice restaurant in Loiborsoit for milk tea, chapatis, and chatting.
Through Lolikisale and we stop again as it is almost noon.  "Food" isn't ready, which means rice or ugali.  Instead we have huge omelets and mandazi and black tea.  We arrange for a young guy to show us the turn off and leave the main road for tracks again.  We have a blowout and put on a new tyre.  We drop off the highlands and down into hot lowlands.  The road becomes sandy, even sometimes stopping me or making me expend too much energy.  We start to tire and feel aches.  We finish the sandy stretch and are back on very familiar trails and tracks.  One more coke and an hour to their turn off and 45 minutes for me.  another 100+km day.  I am tired.  I only manage to lie down the rest of the evening and crash at 9 but am too tired to sleep well.  Great two days to fix moods.

02 September 2014

Close one, bad reaction.

So biking is supposed to make me a better person right?

I came very close to getting bumped.

1- I am on my way home about 515pm.  So it is daylight and i am visible.  Normally i ride home in the dark.

2-  My motto is don't trust a driver, and i trusted one.

3- I should of been a bit more patient.

4- i didn't plan to pass through the intersection with a vehicle running interference for me.



1/2 way home between two traffic light intersections is a road coming up from town on my side of the road.  It is a busy road and often used by drivers to avoid jams and the lights.  There is not much traffic, which means I have to wait for a car to run interference, but there don't seem to be cars coming up the feeder road, so i ride across.  A sedan comes fast up to turn into my lane.  i slow and brake and then she brakes a sliver away from me.

I react badly screaming " Don't you have any humanity"  yep i said something like that.  She is shocked by what happened.

What can you do ?  I ride on and she passes by and slows and says " I am so very sorry".

That helps.  But it helps more that she will probably not run the stop sign like that for a few days.

01 September 2014

Whats do wazungu (white people in tanzania) and tandem bicycle riders have in common?

Saturday one week ago I was with Miku on the tandem on slow club ride.

 This is Miku at a tea stop.
 Later on when we are on busier roads he informs me that he doesn't like being on the tandem.  "Everyone notices you and comments and stares.  Makes me uncomfortable."
Now he can relate to what I feel like as white dude moving around Arusha.

28 August 2014

There are nine million bicycles in Beijing , That's a fact, like the fact that I will love you 'til I die.

Great song.




What with all the "stuff" * going on in the world at present, it might seem trivial and frivolous to post a love song that mentions bicycles.  However, I believe a world with more people using more bicycles would be a better world, and maybe some "bad stuff". might get better.

One might immediately think I promote  bicycles for energy and pollution reasons.

No. I am thinking of how cyclists relate to the world,  not only during the act of cycling.  I define a cyclist as one who uses a bicycle for transportation at least part of the time. I am not talking about bicycle racers.  I have mentioned before how while cycling one is much more likely to communicate with other travellers, whether they be in cars, walking, or riding a bicycle.

But recently I discovered it is more than that.

For me ,  in Arusha, riding a bicycle forces  me  to be more humble and more in touch with other economic classes.   It makes me more aware what it might be like to be marginalised.  I become a better person, not always, but generally.

 On a bicycle I am immediately NOT part of the privileged class, that class that thinks because one is driving a motorised vehicle that their time , life, or space is more important than a pedestrian or a cyclist.  Bicycling I have a  glimpse of being discriminated by my class.  In some instances I the bicyclist don't seem to exist, or have little value to the other class.

I also receive acts of kindness by vehicle drivers.  Arusha drivers will be amazed but the mini bus drivers mostly,  they recognize my rights and often apologize for cutting me off.

I then have something to work on and think about  the rest of the day.   What about the times i misuse privilege, wealth, power?

 So a bicycle makes me love others better and more inclusively.  I hope to " love others (better) until I die".

*Racism in America, IS, Syria, Ebola,etc

27 August 2014

Is BBC News more "cycle friendly" than other mainstream news sites? AND my charging and lighting system


Maybe this article  caught my eye because of the nice legs, and maybe because it was about cycling.

But it seems BBC News has a fair amount of cycling news, anything more than 0 is a fair amount. 

I thought the items they previewed were interesting but most of the lights were kind of over the top.  The comments by the reviewers are good , real bike commuters talking about bike gear. 

They talked about a phone charging device.  Great but this setup is better.  It starts with a dynamo hub in front that produces 6v with very little drag.  It is not sitting out on the side and is very well made.  Unfortunately it is expensive unless you get second hand like me.  Next hook some lights to it, connected with toggle switch.  my lights are always with me and i never find myself without due to forgetting or not charging batteries.


Next add the E-werk voltage regulator.  Also very expensive, but it allows me to charge alot of different stuff from standard USB to 12v.

 Here I am charging a AAA battery, a USB battery pack, and my phone.  All this while riding leisurely to work.



http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28485300

First HNL Cycling group ride: Mnt Meru

First we ride for an hour through farmland.
We leave no one behind.
After an 90 minutes we stop in Sambasha for a cup of tea and mandazi.
Getting ready to roll again after a break.  We are in good company.  Saidi (in white) was National champion 10 years ago.  Sophia in blue was women's champion for many years until recently.  She is a grandmother now.
The last hill and arriving at the Meru Forest.
Taking another break before coasting home. 
Attracting  a crowd.
Everyone liked riding inside the Meru Forest.
And the start of endless downhill

We try a single track through the trees.
And some juice at the end of the ride at Erik's house.

26 August 2014

New Cycling Group

I have threatened in the past I would join other groups over the years.  This one sprang out of the company I work for, but has added people.




Above is the inagural ride.  Stopping at he big wild fig tree.


 Me passing through the tree.



It is awesome tree.


21 August 2014

Cycling in various cities

 I ride to work and to most appointments I have except family dinner outings.  I appreciated this set of news clips on BBC news.

Ninety percent of those who drive cars comment that it is dangerous.  I think it is not as dangerous as it looks, but i try to act like it is more dangerous than it looks.

I wonder how many are just looking for an excuse because they don't ride a bicycle.

Those who are walking accuse me of getting exercise.

29 July 2014

Growing up with a Tandem.

I bought the tandem maybe 10 years ago.
When Nashesha was this age she started riding with me with seat at the bottom.

a couple years later..




another 1/2 year later we visit Cunninghams


Yesterday, 6 years later ..... she invited Michelle. We traded off the three of us on tandem and another bike.


Same arch 6 years later.  I am fatter and Nashesha is sassy.  We rode here and there.  The young ladies had a gas.



19 July 2014

Not sure if serious or not.

A bit over a week ago I was riding close behind some inexperienced young riders on a Wednesday morning ride. We had just finished a down hill and there was a sprint announced 6 km up the road.  The pack was hyper.  The last thing I can remember was thinking " OH NO , I am going down and it will not be nice." No time to brake, no time to hop over the mess.   Blackout.

I must of ploughed into someone hit my head above my eye, then went over on my back and hit back of my head and my lower back and side of thigh. The first day I only was feeling and seeing this:



 

 I recall sporadic moments until we reach Arusha by car about an hour later.  Thadayo says I kept asking the same questions of what happened.  By the time we reach the hospital I was clear headed and in no pain.  We looked at the crowd of patients and decided to buy antiseptic and ibuprofen and have Thad clean me up.

I knew I had a concussion but had no headaches or nausea.

In my confusion and fidgeting I went out later in the day and tried to ride my commuting bike around the drive, and  then repacked a bottom bracket bearing.  I couldn't tighten the bolts by myself.

It  was day 5 of the Tour de France, and they were on and off cobblestones and it was wet. Many crashes so it was hard to feel sorry for myself watching so much misery.

The next day my ribs began to give slight pain and severe pain with a cough or laugh.  By two days turning over in bed was a big problem.  Only then did I realise the eye was minor.

 All during the next week I was still discovering bruises like this one on my thigh after a week:

 

 It took me a week to notice this one and others I won't show, granted at my age bruises form easily.

 I think I went to work on the next day. I went to a doctor eventually who said probably not cracked ribs and it would take awhile.  We figured x ray not worth the time.

One day I stopped the ibuprofen pain killers and that was a mistake, as I turning over in bed was an ordeal.

Without the exercise of commuting I find my mood low and I question my life,  about the accident and road bike racing.    Either my body is missing the exercise induced endorphins, or the concussion brings mood, or the constant ibuprofen taking, or being out of contact with acquaintances.  Too much time alone to think. Will I be able to give up road riding? should I? Is riding a bike really my best choice of  social outlet?   I show up at work late morning but I am not productive.

At least since day 8 I am riding the bike instead of burning fossil fuels.