Taking a break

albeit involuntarily. For the second time, I crashed on my bike. The first was in early February and was fairly minor. I was crossing some RR tracks and the front wheel slid out from under me and I went down. Other than a spectacular bruise on my left hip and a sore left shoulder, I was ok after a couple of days and able to resume riding.

The second crash was last Friday. Or was it Thursday? I have completely lost track of time. Regardless, a couple of days after leaving Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, I was going down a hill and had to brake. Just as I started braking, I hit some speed bumps that I didn’t know were there. My front wheel must have twisted and I went flying over the handlebars. It was one of those slow motion things – I knew I was going down and it seemed like I was in the air for several seconds but there was nothing I could do about it.

I landed on my head (were it not for the helmet I surely wouldn’t be here – I’m not exaggerating) and right shoulder. I was in a fair bit of pain, and when we got to Addis Ababa, the medic took me, along with very sick staff member, to the Landmark Hospital. X-rays revealed 4 broken ribs 😮

After weighing some options, I decided to fly to Dubai where I’m recovering. I’m really hoping that within 2 weeks or so, I’ll be able to rejoin the group when they get to Nairobi to either cycle with them or at the very least ride the support vehicle so I can still experience Africa. So here I am in Dubai, missing my riding buddies, and trying to stay positive. It could be worse – at least I’ll be back! Other people on this, as well as previous tours, haven’t been so lucky – for some, their tour was over following an injury/illness.

And since I now have reasonably fast internet, I can blog. Unfortunately, my camera has gone missing so there won’t be any visuals, at least for the moment. Instead I’ll recap some of my favourite moments and highlights of this tour:

The excitement of leaving the Giza pyramids on January 14 to start our expedition

Finishing a very long ride – 168 km. before it got dark. I didn’t think I could do it and was so happy not to have to get picked up by the support truck

Egyptian coffee

Egyptian falafel

Sudanese falafel

Sudanese coffee

Sudan. I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for Sudan. There is a quiet and peaceful vibrancy that I felt almost as soon as I got off the ferry at Wadi Halfa. Without exception, along the road and in villages, we were greeted with Salaam Aleikum (peace be with you) and warm smiles.

Playing and interacting with Sudanese children. One of the riders had brought a frisbee and at one of the camps she brought it out. Immediately several children, shrieking with joy and excitement, joined the game. At first it was just the boys, but after some coaxing the girls joined in. They were clearly delighted and it was such a pleasure to watch them at play.  A few times, an adult with a child in tow would ask for pens and papers so their child could draw. Everyone who had anything like that very happily gave it to the kids. Who needs video games or TV?

The delight of the kids whose pictures I took, both in Sudan and Ethiopia. They absolutely loved having their pictures taken

Completely losing track of time. Most of the time I didn’t know what day or time it was. The sun was my guide for the beginning and end of the days

Donkey showers in Sudanese villages

Kidfo, an Ethiopian dish of ground meat and spices served with teff (is it weird that food is a recurring theme here??)

Ethiopian coffee ceremony, and Ethiopian coffee in general

The simplicity of life now. We just get up, pack up our stuff, eat breakfast, cycle most of the day til we get to camp, put up our tents, eat, socialize a bit, then go to sleep. No responsibilities, no obligations, no deadlines

The (relative) absence of cell phones

The rare occasions when we were able to get hot showers

There are many more, but these are just a few that spring to mind

Categories: Before the Trip | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Taking a break

  1. Hello Nola
    so sorry to hear of your accident. Bev told me about it and I have been watching your blog to see how you were doing. it is wonderful to see how positive you are about getting back with the tour . Your thoughts on the tour so far are so great to read gives us over in Canada some insight as to what is going on.
    take care of yourself now and enjoy Dubai but dont get used to it. Get yourself back to the tour when you can Get better soon!!!!!

    • Thank you Denise! I really appreciate your feedback. I’m definitely getting better and should be on track to rejoin the group next week, probably not cycling but at the very least in the support vehicle – I hope!

      And you are so right – I don’t want to get too used to being here! It’s so easy to get out of the rhythm of the days in Africa – can’t wait to get back there

      Thanks for continuing to read my blog – I really appreciate the feedback. Take care!

  2. karl tuira

    Ahh Gizele, I am so sorry for you.
    Here you were just getting into shape and you do an endo !

    Relax and enjoy Dubai – shop, shop, shop – maybe even a new camera …
    I am sure you’ll be able to join the tour at least in the sag wagon

    I am over in Tofino right now walking the beach and watching the whales

    Get well and keep on writing

    • Thanks Carl, for your thoughts and wishes (BTW, to avoid confusion, it’s me here in Dubai, not Gizele). Yes, I hope to rejoin the group very soon, probably in the sag wagon for a bit and will gradually add in some cycling.

      Enjoy the whale watching and beach walking! Beautiful place, Tofino.

      All the best,

      • Karl Tuira

        Argh, I was thinking of both of you and the laid back West Coast tripped up my fingers. Good thing I am not riding a bike !!
        Wishing you a fast recovery. I am sure you will rejoin the tour.

      • Well, great that you are getting some R & R on the laid back west coast! It’s so different than the pace of Ontario. I hope you enjoy your time there.

        Thanks for your wishes, no doubt I’ll be back in the saddle soon.

  3. Diane Crumbleholme

    Oh no Nola! I’m sure you’ll get back out there – just don’t rush it.

    Diane xx

    • Thanks Diane. No, I’ll try not to rush it, but it’s hard to resist the temptation – feeling sort of at loose ends here but will have to be patient.


  4. Lynda Kooymans

    Hi Nola,
    So sorry to hear about your accident… and thankful that your injuries are “relatively” minor. Can’t wait to read more when you get back to Africa!!!
    Take care of yourself!

  5. Elvira


    I just caught up on your blog. So sorry to hear about your accident. Get better quickly so you can experience more of Africa, even if some of it is from the sag wagon.

    • Thanks Elvira. I’m on track to rejoin the group in Nairobi on the 10th. Whether or not I’ll be able to cycle then remains to be seen, but if not I’ll be riding in the sag wagon & still seeing Africa.

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