Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

« ||| »

Day 2096: Gebre Guracha – Dejen, Ethiopia

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on Nov - 22 - 2016

Distance: 71.7 km
Ride time: 5:31:51
Average: 13.0 km/h
Max speed: 43.6 km/h
Total: 52386 km

Today I would be crossing the Blue Nile which originates at Lake Tana further up north in Ethiopia. The Nile runs through a spectacular 1500 meter deep valley – which I would have to descend on one side and ride straight up on the other side again.

The day started quiet enough, cycling through a foggy landscape in the cool morning air. After a couple of flat hours the real cycling begun. A few kids were throwing rocks as I started the 20 km long and very steep descend. Luckily I was out of their reach so fast that they could no no harm.

The views were spectacular as I rolled down the mountain, my breaks steaming hot…

Trucks would pass me in the opposite direction, climbing their way up at crawling speeds. I felt I was back in the Andes mountains of South America.

Reaching the bottom of the valley, I could see the impressive mountain walls on each side of the river. From here there was only one way to go – and that was up.

Just before the bridge itself a queue was forming at a police check point. From a Japanese cyclist I had heard some horror stories about him being held up by the police for hours and hours while checking all his backs and his computer. I feared that my time had come for such a check as the police pulled me over and asked what was in my bags. The police guy himself didn’t speak a word of English but a number of bus passengers were translating.

When the police man became busy with checking a passing truck I saw my chance to “escape”. The translators were yelling “stop, stop” as I started to cycle over the bridge, but the police themselves didn’t seem to care.

It was a pretty slow escape as my speed uphill was now down to 7-8 km/h. In the beginning I was looking over my shoulder, expecting to see a police car, but it soon became clear that I had indeed escaped. What a great feeling!

It took three hours to complete the climb, and I cycled into the village of Dejen with the hands over my head in true Tour de France victory style. I like climbing mountains – mostly because of that feeling you get when you arrive at the summit.

In Dejen I checked out a room at a hotel, and the young receptionist and his friend offered to bring up my bike to the room “just wait here” they said… I’m not too happy about leaving my bike out of sight for too long, and sure enough, as I got down to the parking lot one of the guys was riding around on my bike! “Sorry, we were just trying” they said while not seeming particular sorry. Pretty typical Ethiopian I would say – things just work different here.

After the climbing day I slept very well – my bicycle right next to my bed. The next days I will continue through a hilly and rainy part of Ethiopia, but the biggest climb is now conquered!

Categories: Ethiopia
« ||| »

2 Responses so far.

  1. John O2 says:

    Wow! What a day!

  2. What a hell of a climb! Almost 2000 metres!