31 March 2015

Rain. not a drizzle but pouring rain

Those readers ( should I remove the s) from west coast USA have to deal with rain.  Arusha has similar total amount of rain as Seattle,  however Seattle it drizzles 50% of the time.  Arusha it is completely dry for long periods, then when it rains it pours for 1-2 hours and then it is dry the rest of the day.  Rarely we get a drizzle all day.  In short Arusha gets most of its rain in 20 rains lasting a few hours each.

Which means your chances of getting caught in the twenty downpours per year are slim.

Today I should of left for work at 7 am and ridden dry.  I messed around and as I was thinking of going it poured.

I will post in the building blog about my thoughts while looking at my rainwater management system, as I spent 15 minutes seeing what was happening in my compound,  then it let up to just light rain so I took off.

I wear a bill-less cap and full rain suit when it is raining more than a drizzle.  I take the bill off a cap as it interferes with my mirror.  I now feel naked without a mirror.

It started to rain more as i rode towards center of town.

There are hardly any pedestrians on the road, they are hiding under any building overhang they can find and motorcycles are about 1/10 less and even cars seem fewer.  I remain dry but my face and my feet.  I need to do something about the feet as the water pours down my legs into my leather dress shoes.    On my face as my daughter agrees it feels good on the face.

I can tell people think :
- I am crazy
-poor guy
-why does he have a side mirror on his helmet
- that i am miserable and wet.

I only got wet on my feet an a few spots wear the raincoat wasn't working.

There was water all over but my fenders work good.  Ditches were either half full or overflowing.  Water was pouring down most of the roads coming from the mountain.

My thought was what a waste of all this water, it should be stored or going into the soil where it fell, but that is an opinion not shared by many.  Rain water is seen as a material to get rid of .  My neighbour has a 7 bedroom house, on the 1/4 acre or so plot the house takes a fair portion   and then half is paving stones that send all the rain water and car washing water out onto the road.  Erik being who he is diverts it into a ditch with holes around the garden and it sinks in.  today maybe it reached the last hole.

It was raining enough that getting the phone out for a picture or making a note, so as usual all my great thought disappear as I enter the business environment.

As i pass security check i joke with Security officer " is it safe to enter the building"  he answers "yes if you know how to swim"  It has stopped raining but the plaza is half covered in an inch of precious water slowly making its way to drainage and eventually swollen rivers.

29 March 2015


We planned a father-daughter ride but it was raining at sunrise so we took it easy and then called friends and 3 teenage boys joined us.

we were short on time and ran into dark clouds and rain so headed to Ilboru and visited Martin a retiree who worked for me.

08 December 2014

Team B+

For lack of a better name I am going to call the alternative Arusha Cycling Club group "team B+" .  We are managing to make a ride each weekend.  Sometimes the racers are with us for awhile.

Last weekend on East Monduli mountains.  Huge down hill along steep valleys were the highlight.  Nashesha tried Thad's full suspension with disc brakes.

Previous week we ride a loop on Meru including .   Nice forest ride


One of the highlights is lots of berries to eat.  Means lots of stopping.

 Breakfast at the river.
 Frigid waters at 2,200m
 Team B exploring Themi River at about 2,000m. 
 Miku walked up this slippery log that Erik crawled up.

Team B in the Themi River at the bridge. 

 Bram sliding down the slide from the swimming hole.

Three trips ago on the wide open plains from Lengijave down to the rift escarpment.

 Team B riding with hot shots.

Some dust but pretty good.

29 October 2014

Tinkoff-Saxo cycling team to invest in Arusha Cycling Club

 This was in Cycling News...

Tinkoff-Saxo invest in Tanzania

Tinkoff-Saxo's trip to Kilimanjaro garnered a lot of attention when they announced it two weeks ago. The team run by Russian millionaire Oleg Tinkov will send 80 of its riders and staff, including Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan to the Tanzanian mountain for a training camp in November, at the cost of €200,000.....

The full article is here

13 October 2014

Doing the Hills on your own bike

Saturday the club rode up the Lakilaki hills. It was a Habari Node Ltd group.

the last time daughter Nashesha rode this she was on the tandem with me , this time she rode her own bike. this was Oct 2007, seven years ago.

07 October 2014

Saturday ride

A diverse group came together south of Arusha.  Some fast people quickly left us but some fast people stayed with us like 'white biker chick' and my daughter Nashesha.  Thanks to Sammy Kawiche for the pictures.

Goal today was Shimo la Mungu " God's cauldera.  It is on a slight rise and huge.  We made good time and had whatever food was available.  Behind us is a sheer drop of like 200m

this one is for the teenager...

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 Terat.  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 Landanai 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