• And the winner goes to… A year in reflection December 31st, 2010

    I started the year learning to surf in Morocco and I’m finishing it drinking a lot of beer in Cameroon. Between then I’ve crossed 14 countries in Africa and cycled about 12,000km, collecting more than a few stories along the way. Here is a review of some of the highlights, lowlights and other interesting observations from my year on the road. If there is a category you’d like to add please post a comment to let me know. Happy New year.

    Most atmospheric place: Harper, Liberia. A town full of war-ravaged buildings, surrounded by beautiful palm-fringed beaches.

    North from Harper

  • Wondering when: Post-operation recovery March 22nd, 2010

    When? It’s the big question. When will I be cycling out of Dakar following the machete attack that left gashes in my left wrist and foot just over a week ago? I’ve been asking myself this every day since waking up from the operation. The simple and frustrating answer is I don’t know.

    The good news is that I’m walking again. For the first three days following the attack I took permanent residence on my host’s sofa. When crutches finally became available (courtesy of the magical French woman who rescued me at the roadside) I was already hobbling around, and soon after walking with a limp. This is fast disappearing.

  • Meeting with a machete March 15th, 2010

    I’m typing this using my right hand. The other is swollen and my arm is bandaged. There is a large gash just above my wrist and another on the side of my left foot. I don’t think this is so deep, but at the moment I can’t put any weight on it.

    I probably would have walked away unscathed had I not put up some resistance. It was a natural reaction to hold onto my camera bag and ruck-sack as they were being pulled out of my hands. I let go when the machete slashed through my wrist.

  • When the tide turns: St Louis-Dakar March 10th, 2010

    More than 60kg was the consensus. The hostel proprietor and his brother were taking it in turns to lift my bike, now loaded up and ready to roll. They might have been right. A 5-litre jerry-can of water was resting on the front rack – the latest addition to the black behemoth. I’d found it in a nearby market, alongside a pile of other re-cycled containers. It had once held  vegetable oil, but seemed to be well cleaned out now. In Morocco and Mauritania it is common to see empty plastic bottles  and containers at the roadside. Here in Senegal people collect and re-sell them.  It’s a pity they can’t do that with the plastic bags. They’re everywhere.