The grand opening of my region-mate and friend Zach’s ecolodge project was this week. Zach is an ecotourism volunteer and he has been working for the past two years building a community campement in the village of Segou. Why the hell would someone want to visit a tiny Pulaar village in the middle of the middle of nowhere? Because there is a waterfall. And in Senegal waterfalls=tourism gold.
Getting to Segou meant a 25km bike ride. And I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this, but most of my fellow Kedougou volunteers are adventure-racing-rock-vaulting-triatheletes, and I am not. So when selecting companions to make the trip out to Segou, I choose very carefully. I assembled a group I thought would complement particular cycling style.
First in the lineup was Leah, who broke her ankle last year getting off her bike (yeah, not riding her bike—she broke her ankle on the dismount) and was med-evaced to America for 90 days. And our third was Alex, my fiery site-mate, who thinks hailing a cab in New York in high heels should be the most effort exerted to get from place to place.
These girls were the perfect biking companions, but I kinda have a feeling that by the halfway point of the trip they were regretting their decision to come with me. I am not easy to bike with, for several reasons:
I can’t keep an even pace. Unless alternating between turtle-slow-pace and snail-slow-pace is considered even.
I am also easily distracted. Funny looking tree, monkeys, a dog, a car, weird looking shape in the mud—all excuses to stop and gawk for awhile.
Snack time is mandatory. Doesn’t matter if it is a trip across town or across the region, snacks are vital part of my biking routine.
Also I try not to look at a bike trip as “exercise”. Under no circumstances do I ever feel the need to exert myself. My definition of exertion is anything that makes me so out of breath I can no longer sing along to Rihanna on my ipod.
Oh, and I sing along to my ipod. Really loud and off-key. Loud enough to scare the monkeys, and off-key enough to probably annoy the hell out of any unfortunate person I may pass, and definitely enough to make my companions contemplate suicide by bike.
So, anyone else out there up for a bike trip with me?
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