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I was coming down the escarpment when I saw a truck stopped on the side of the road. I stopped and met Lionel, a South African guy, standing by his truck. We got talking and he offered me a lift down the escarpment and up the other side. I’d been warned about the large number of lions in the Zambezi valley so not wanting to get eaten by them said sure why not and we put the bike in the back of his flatbed truck. He was pulling two trailers, both with low sides, and we just laid it down at the
Before I started my trip, I read a fair number of journals on CrazyGuyOnABike trying to work out the best gear. The biggest decision to make was, of course, the bike. It seemed that Americans predominantly read Surly Long Haul Truckers, and a fair number of Brits (including Peter Gostelow, one of my favourite blogs) rode Thorn bikes, either the Raven or the Nomad so that’s where I started researching
Thorn, sold by St Johns Street Cycles (SJS Cycles),
When I first started my trip, I barely had any way of sorting my things. All my clothes got thrown in one pannier and the most sophisticated way I had of organising things was using Ziplocs. My clothes weren’t even in stuff sacks. It was passable, but not great. After a few weeks I picked up stuff sacks, my clothes got organised and my life got better. However my electronics solution was still Ziplocs and it stayed that way until October 2011.
On the 27th of September 2011, TravellingTwo
I’ve been riding the Manta for 3 years so I feel it’s about time that I wrote about it. Sorry Jon for how long it’s taken.
Long-distance tourers store their things in Ortliebs, put Schwalbe Marathons on their wheels and sit on a Brooks B17. That was how the world seemed back in 2010 when I started buying things to go on my tour. Knowing not much, I decided that everyone else probably knew best. I picked up a complete set of Ortliebs for my stuff
After crossing the Danube into Bulgaria, I made my way through town. It was nearly time for the sun to go down so I took the small road instead of the main road with the idea it’d be easier to wild camp on the side of it. My GPS took me down a rather small road and through the poorest part of town, where the Roma lived. At the entrance to the area one guy warned me ‘no go. gypsies!’ I thanked him and kept going. 200 metres later, another guy just said ‘scheisse’ and
After leaving Ukraine it was into Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. The roads were as potholey as you’d expected and went up and down for seemingly no reason at all which combined with the headwind and cooler weather finally catching me on my push south made for a very tiring time. My first day I decided to avoid the main road and followed the border, which meant there wasn’t much traffic but even less by the way of people or things to buy in the shops. I was doing quite badly
As when I entered the EU from Belarus, the border into Ukraine was closed to bicycles. From Belarus, this had meant having to wait overnight and taking a train one stop the next day, but it was much easier entering Ukraine. Within 2 minutes of standing at the checkpoint, having been told I couldn’t ride the next kilometre, someone offered to put my bike into their vehicle. Crossing the border, I mainly noticed just how cheap things were. Due to the conflict with Russia, the Ukrainian hryvnia
The border back into the EU between Poland and Belarus wasn’t crossable by bike, without heading on a 100km detour, but thankfully the train wasn’t too much of a hassle. I took some boring photos on the way over and must have been spotted doing so as the police specifically asked for my camera and made me delete those pictures when I crossed the border.
I was back in the EU, and definitely saw more signs of wealth than had generally been visible in Belarus, but the bus stops were not an example.