It is almost 9 months since Nyomi Rowsell started off on her architecturally motivated cycling tour of the Dark Continent. In that time she has gone through a few changes of hairstyle, but managed to stick with the one saddle.
October last year saw her kicking things off in Cairo, and as she finds herself now on the final stretch towards Cape Town, she can look back with satisfaction on a unique trip, which was designed to help her explore the state of Architecture in countries such as Zansibar, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Three simian tea leaves prepare to punish Nyomi for not having read Bregan’s last post.
Of course, one’s pre-conceived notions regarding what one might be examining on a bike trip through Africa will rarely chime with the realities of the road, and while Nyomi has fastidiously documented building styles at every opportunity, it hasn’t been all work and no play.
Nyomi has regularly updated a blog on her travels, sharing with its readers the diary of her route, her most memorable encounters with locals and fellow travellers, and her musings on architecture and cycling, as well as some free-form poetry. She also has a Flickr account with scores of beautiful images captured from the vantage point of her B17.
Regardless of gender, any long-haul cycling tour is potentially fraught with all sorts of hazards for a rider. When we factor in the pounding heat, biblical rainpour, wild animals and varying local mores that one will necessarily encounter travelling from northern to southern Africa, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that for much of the stretch Nyomi has had a domestique in tow.
But not all of the time.
At the moment, Nyomi finds herself riding solo towards Namibia. She reckons with an arrival in Cape Town some time in July.
Grounds for Disqualification in next year’s Global Bike Race?
Whether rafting down the Nile, playing ukulele in the evenings outside her tent, riding off the occasional hangover, or negotiating the difficulties which pertain to hub repair in the desert, Nyomi has striven throughout her journey to recount all that she has experienced, and meditate on the many lessons learned thereby.
Which, thanks to her open mind, honest eye, inarguable energy and the wonder of modern communications, are available for all to delve into at http://www.nysbikeride.com/