Sunday, October 15, 2006

Not another bike blog entry...

Today, SJD and I decided to head out east from Accra on the road again to do bit of a recon ride on unfamiliar roads. Keeping our previous experience riding to Aburi in mind, we decided to keep things fairly simple with an out and back route. A mile from home I glanced over my shoulder and noticed a group of 20 or so receational cyclists waiting at the side of the road. I motioned to SJD to pull a u-turn to stop and say hello. We quickly changed our plans and tagged along with the club Chain Gang Ghana, not really sure they were headed or for how long. The CGG members were riding knobby tire mountain bikes of various vintage. SJD and I were riding slick tire vintage commuter bikes. They were friendly enough to ask us along, but were probably wondering just how we long would hang on before the trails and roads would get the best of our bikes.

The route back tracked along a few familiar roads for a while as the pace increased. As the pack was strung out, a rest stop was in order. A rather long rest stop, but it provided a few more introductions and the usual equipment comparisons before we rolled out again (note from SJD - the riders were quite impressed with BEP's speed on his SS commuter). More road. I figured the guys must be headed to some trails soon. Now some of the better roads around Accra can be rather rough, even by Washington, DC standards. The minor roads can rip wheels off cars. Perhaps this explains the mtbs on pavement. In any case, a long ride will likely involve a bit of rough riding. There were a few nice climbs and a short section of dirt thrown in for good measure, followed by equally long rest stops where bunches of bananas and watermelon was offered. So on and on it went for another two hours adding and subtracting riders before the big finale sprint into town. (Kinda sketchy there guys). The ride ended at noon at a local bar (not Kilroys, the beer was just as cold but Kilroy's doesn't have women who come around with aluminum tubs on their heads full of plastic bags of squid for sale or the ritualized offering/collection associated with a funeral taking place nearby). Plenty of the usual guy/bike banter. Apparently they ride every Sunday at 8am. We'll be back.

An Aussie couple on the ride introduced us to a young Ghanaian - apparently the National Champion cyclist-- who stopped by for the post-ride socializing. Also apparently, Accra was supposed to host a major West African Cycling race today. A criterium competion of local clubs. Unfortunatley we heard nothing of it ahead of time. Perhaps more unfortunately, the event was postponed when the sponsors pulled out last minute. So we missed it, but not really. It was somewhat unclear if the event has open entry or is a club event only. There is very little information via normal means (bikereg, list serves) that we're aware of so far.

Ok, the next entry will be non-bike related.

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