May - June 2018
  • Day10

    Back to Kigali

    June 1, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    The final countdown. Up for breakfast at 6am 80 miles ahead of us. The first group (who were taking it at a slightly slower pace) left leaving 6 of us (including Kiki, team Rwanda and our mechanic) to enjoy a Rwandan coffee at a coffee shop next to the guest house. We set off in peloton formation - something we hadn't done all week as normally the terrain was steep hills. This was different - gently undulating hills allowed good peloton riding - and we soon picked up the pace. The group came back together after about 30 miles which signified the start of the annual 'race' - the rules simple those that want to race start about 10 minutes after those that don't. The first group cycle and wait at an unknown point to the racing group and that is the finish. Five of us raced. A rolling start, Kiki took off - in fairness there was only ever going to be one winner so it was really a race for second place! The course was short and kind to the heavier rider finishing on an uphill after a down hill, so after clinging on for dear life at the start with the advantage of extra momentum I managed to finish in the middle after Kiki and Wesley thank goodness for those extra pounds!?!

    However my legs after that were shot and as hard as I tried I could not keep up with the faster riders any longer. While the scenery was perhaps not as breathtaking as in previous days - familiarity was perhaps a factor the roads were much kinder with none on the long brutal climbs we had had before. We all regrouped about 15km from Kigali to ride in together. This was potentially the most risky part of the day as we came into a busy city. Riding in was straight forward and fairly flat, although this was Rwanda and hills were always present and coming into Kigali there were some steep climbs as we made our way back to the finish of our guest house.

    We all rolled in, tired but exhilarated. We had made it. A really hard week, with a number of individual days being the hardest days most had ever experienced. Eric's chips and sausage awaited - a perfect end to an 80 mile day and a 500 mile week.

    Chips, brochettes and beer at a nearby hotel was the evening fare, exhaust but happy we lasted until about 9.30. An amazing week, great riding, great friends and a great God.

    'But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.' (Isaiah 40:31)

    Remember you can still give to the work of GLO. The work they do is amazing, it literally changes and saves lives.

    Thank you to Tallis Woomert (instagram @talliswoomert) for the amazing photos - you'll imediately see which ones! Do go to his instagram for more you won't be disappointed!

    Thank you to Simon Guillebaud for organising - an amazing trip.
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    John Wells

    Well done!

    David Thornton

    Well done to all and thanks for sharing the journey with us

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  • Day9

    To Huye

    May 31, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    An eventful day! A beautiful sunrise over lake Kivu look towards the Congo welcomed the morning of the biggest and toughest ride of the week. A long climb out of Cyangugu the first challenge, followed by a steeper climb into the rain forest, and how it was worth it! The sounds, the dense jungle, the monkeys, the birds and butterflies, another side of Rwanda and another beautiful one. After a hard ride up the hill it only seemed fitting to take the ride through the jungle at a more leisurely pace to fully appreciate it. On leaving the forest we entered tea country. Vast swathes of land covered with tea bushes, with brightly coloured dressed women in the middle picking.
    It was after this that the ride got more 'interesting' for some unknown reason for the last 50 km the road surface had been removed and we were riding on gravel and dust tracks. Possibly ok for MTB but for road bikes not ideal. Trucks kicked up the dirt and riding became a challenge. At this stage riding in a trio with Joe and Mariko, Mariko took a hard fall, amazingly she escaped with only minor injuries. We got back on the bikes and continued on, then with only a few miles to go I managed to clip the wheel of the bike in front and fell off - again no damage, although Joe waved at the traffic to stop and also the children by the side of the road were quickly on the scene saying sorry and telling the traffic to stop. A young girl with an arm in plaster was at the front of the group 'Don't worry, I think I'm better than you' I replied - which seemed to cause much amusement!

    We arrived, dusty tired but pleased to have made it.

    "The utter extravagance of His work in us who trust in Him - endless energy, boundless strength." Eph 1 (MSG)
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  • Day8

    To Cyangugu

    May 30, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    A day along the lake - sounds good - no big climbs? But this is Rwanda - the land of 1000 hills - of course there are climbs! Apart from the last they didn't go on for a long time - but they were steep and it was hard. The joy of the downhill was tempered by the realisation that what goes down must come up. Whether it was slight dehydration from the sauna or just the terrain I found the first half tough. The views of course were again amazing, sometimes making you feel guilty that you do not appreciate them more - this time next week I'll have the view of Dulux colour centre out of my window! But there is literally a view around every bend. Thr landscape too changes dramatically. Up high the coffee bushes grow - most of the cherrys are picked, whereas lower down vast areas of tea is planted - the workers busy picking. Of course there are many more beautiful views of Lake Kivu around every bend.
    We arrived into Cyangugu down a big long hill - we are climbing back up tomorrow - found the Peace guest house, with great rooms and another great location on the lake. Eric (our chef - we have a personal chef to try to prevent food poisoning) laid on the most amazing chips with a chorizo-type sausage.
    Dinner at 730, short power cut, bed at 9 ready for the big day tomorrow.

    Philippians 4:6-7

    6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
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  • Day7

    To Kibuye

    May 29, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    At the risk of sounding boring today the scenery was stunning. The country contains diverse landscapes and perhaps today was some of the most beautiful. Only 50 miles and 5000 feet climbing the day was easier- but the 2500 foot climb in the middle was tough, although the view from the top was amazing The normally excellent roads however on this stage were not present, numerous potholes meant careful riding but I still managed to get a pinch puncture after hitting one too hard.

    A fast descent into Kibuye gave even more stunning views as we approached lake Kivu. The guest house we are staying at must be one of the most beautiful locations anywhere, on a peninsula and looking out both ways to the lake. A swim in the Lake followed by chips and then a short trip to a Swedish sauna, with a real stove running on eucalyptus also on the lake. A perfect way to loosen up and look over to the hills of the Congo.

    Psalm 121
    1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
    2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
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  • Day6

    To Mahanga

    May 28, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    A big one! 20 miles up hill for first climb, then a bit of downhill and more up hill - another long downhill, but just to keep us tired another 15 mile uphill to finish. 90 miles and 11000 feet (from strava so maybe not totally accurate) climbing. But what amazing views - breathtaking and for some of the ride not many people around. Many children running with us and a puncture attracted a crowd of probably 100 kids who had just come out of school. Many cries of 'Hello muzungo', good morning (in the afternoon) as well as 'give me money!'
    All in all a great day!

    The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1
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  • Day5

    Easy day to Lake Kivu - Gisenyi

    May 27, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Waking up to the sound of torrential rain was an ominous start, breakfast was later - an easy day - although that would have rapidly changed had the weather not. It did and by the time we set off it was damp, but clear.
    42 miles total - 21 miles up hill and 21 miles down (that was the quick bit), the bad news is that tomorrow we have to climb up the bit we came down today - not so quick I fear!
    A short day meant we arrived at Lake Kivu about 1230. It's a seaside (ok lakeside) town and being Sunday everyone was out enjoying themselves - with the few weddings thrown in. A quick walk to the DR Congolese border and a stroll along the beach to take in the sights. All very pleasant!

    Jeremiah 29:11

    11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
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  • Day4

    Day 1 - Kigali to Musanze (Team Rwanda H

    May 26, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ 🌧 4 °C

    First day of cycling and what a day! The roads are amazing and it is so clean. Today between 7am and 11am they have 'umaganda' where communities clean up - it's the last Saturday of the month. No traffic is all on the road so we have a clear run through normally busy Kigali.
    It's then the hills start and they are big and long - take a look on Strava!
    But it is beautiful- amazing. Really the photos do no justice. 64 miles 6800 ft climbing. Bike taxis racing us up hills (and often winning), shouts of Muzungo. Kiki - a team Rwanda cyclist is our mechanic and everyone knows him - he is an excellent mechanic - mended my clicky gears!
    Great company- great chats.
    Tonight Bosco - who drives one of the support vehicles told his story, about when he was young in the genocide in Burundi. Take a look at it is well worth the look.

    then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth Isaiah 58:14
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  • Day3

    Getting acclimatised

    May 25, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    A day in Kigali, no proper cycling today although we did set the bikes up and have a little ride out - the cobbles certainly have a way of checking all is tightened well - it wasn't, but is now - hopefully!

    After we took a trip into Kigali, starting with the genoide memorial. Difficult to fully describe, over 250,000 people are interned there, no words really suffice. 24 years on and it's still raw. We came to Rwanda for a night in 1996 and looking back I don't think I understood the full magnitude of what had happened.

    After a great lunch at the Ubunwe Grande Hotel with amazing views over Kigali, it was a spot of shopping- African style ! Great fun and great people. Have to say we avoided the ‘clean meat place’ - so no Sunday roast I am afraid!

    Tonight had a talk by an amazing visionary who was behind the project to replace Burundian cows with friesian cows that produce loads more milk, lifting families out of poverty. His latest project is to produce organic stevia- a natural sugar substitute- and giving the producers free chicks to fertilise the land, a brilliant but simple idea. Lots of opposition from sugar producers and GM stevia seed manufacturers, but he is persevering and succeeding! Tomorrow we cycle!

    Psalm 67 1-2
    May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us—
    so that your ways may be known on earth
    your salvation among all nations.
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  • Day2

    Touchdown in Rwanda

    May 24, 2018 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Arrived! And the bike's here also! Safely at the Scripture Union guest house rooming with Simon.
    Bike built and ready to go - except that my tiredness and diet of airplane food probably isn't condusive to any sort of exercise, let alone riding.
    Rwanda is really full of hills! On way here came down a 1:4 cobbled Street - thankfully don't think we're cycling that one.
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    John Wells

    Looks hilly is it warm?

    Hugh Wells

    Yes hilly - about 25 degrees, so ok