Trying to get 10 bikes and 3 support vehicles all going in the same direction and as per plan is like herding cats

Today’s ride from Salima to Nkhotakota will be a bland day, one of the Tour’s more unforgettable days, Alastair told us at his route briefing. He lied. Impossibly, every day on Tour has been better than the day before. 

Yesterday’s 130 km took us through the 1,000km barrier, in just 7 riding days. There have some ugly murmurings from the group reminding me that I promised them a daily average of 120 km. So far we haven’t done less than 140 km. I laughed and asked them, is it not a good thing to be above average? Had they had the strength, they would have thrown me with something heavy.
Trying to get 10 bikes and 3 support vehicles all going in the same direction and as per plan is like herding cats.

I led the riders out of Kuti Game Lodge yesterday. We saw Giraffe, Impala, Zebra and Waterbuck on our way out. My Garmin malfunctioned, I think it could be a flaw in the software system, and it re-routed us through some single track, a cotton field and stretches of soft sand that allowed the riders the opportunity to practice their falling off their bicycles techniques. And yes Alexandra, your dad was one of them but no he wasn’t hurt.

Fortunately I went to Allan Wilson and was able to fix the flaw in Garmin’s system and we were back on track.

Meanwhile back at camp, the support vehicles weren’t going anywhere because the hotel receptionist told them US dollar notes printed prior to 2013 are not legal tender. The best the support crew could come up with were notes printed in 2009. Bummer dude, he told Reinier.
After an hour of non-progress, I was phoned for advice and suggested they sell Gideon and use some of the money to settle. Meanwhile could the other two vehicles get on the road so long so they could feed us breakfast? Linda and Jen revved the Land Rover towing the kitchen trailer and hit the road. Unfortunately it was the wrong road and they went off exploring the wrong part of rural Malawi.

Meanwhile back in the peloton, Alistair and I got caught up in the search for Linda and Jen and got disconnected from the other riders. Thankfully Jen was able to send us a Live location pin that confirmed they were nowhere near us and that they were in fact lost. How we got lost before technology I do not know.

Alastair and I pressed on unsupported while Ryan and Bill tried to track down the missing girls. By now John and Reinier had somehow solved the out of date bank notes problem and were on the road finally, on the right one.

Alistair has heard all my jokes more than once. So he adopted a pet, a handsome puff adder that apart from being slightly dead, was in wonderful condition. Alistair named him Puff and tied him to the back of his bike, to talk to and to scare away begging picanins.
Shortly thereafter I was riding behind Alistair when his arms starting windmilling violently. At first I thought he’d broken wind virulently and was trying to get rid of the evidence. But it was worse than that, we’d ridden into a swarm of bees. Embarrassingly, I accelerated away from Al like he was standing still. We emerged on the other side of the swarm unscathed. Alistair looked hurt that I’d abandoned him at speed. I told him I was going for help but he didn’t believe me.
Alistair started riding slower and slower, like his brakes were on. Alas. Puff the Puff Adder’s tail had slipped into the spokes and he was now badly injured. I was appalled at Alistair’s total lack of empathy for his pet’s wellbeing and felt sorry for every hamster he’d ever owned.

On the road, bill and Ryan and John and Reinier found us and pressed on to look for the other riders, now far in front. And then eventually Linda and Jen caught us up. Jenny screamed when she saw Puff and that was the last we saw of them.

As we rode along the Valley floor, I was amazed at the lack of development, despite the myriad of NGO signs, proclaiming their good work. Plan were especially proud of their Open Free Defecation Zones all over.
I worry for Malawi. The demographics must be scary with every 2nd kid seemingly under 6. I don’t know how many kids Madonna can adopt but it’s not enough. People are forced to grow low yielding drought resistant crops like cotton and cassava next to one of the biggest water lakes in the world. Alas.
Alistair and I feasted on delicious doughnuts and cold cokes on the road whilst the others enjoyed espressos at the splendid Nkhotakota Beach Resort. We all met up at our night stop at the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. All’s well that ends well, apart from poor Puff who was by now very saddle sore and road weary. Alistair released Puff back in the wild but I worry for him.
We had to wait at the Park gate for our hosts Dave and Erica Robertson to escort us to our splendid campsite.
Nkhotakota have just relocated 480 elephants into the Park and they are a bit jumpy apparently.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is an oasis of pristine flora and fauna, a sad reminder of what Malawi once was before overpopulation and deforestation. But Dave and Erica are wonderfully committed conservationists and are part of a big step back in the right direction. Please put Nkhotakota on your bucket list.
At the end of another long and epic day, there were several worthy nominees for Dick of Day. And yes Alexandra, your Dad was one of them for falling off his bike yet again, this time whilst crossing a wooden suspension bridge. But in the end my fellow Old Legs picked on me for being unlucky enough to have a Garmin with a glitch. They are loyal like a bunch of snakes. Alas.

Tomorrow we ride 130 km up alongside the lake to Kande Beach. Please follow us and please support our cause.
Go to http://www.oldlegstour.co.zw and follow the donate prompts.
Until the next blog, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.

Today was Alan’s 43rd birthday. To hang on to his claim of being middle aged, he now has to push through to 86

To celebrate, we sang him the happy birthday song and presented him with a stainless steel coffee mug with the Old Legs logo on it. Alastair gave Alan an extra special gift; a 30 kilometer long 1200 meter down white knuckle, roller coaster descent called Golomoti, all wrapped up with viscous switchbacks, sweeping curves, breathtaking views of Africa’s Rift Valley stretching away as far as the eye could see.

Before we started the descent, Al singled out the members of the A Team, Jaap, Hans and Alan for an extra safety lecture. Ride safe, he told them and with zero safety barriers, resist the urge to clock 80 k.p.h. plus.

I paid strict attention to Alistair’s clear and well enunciated warnings because I’m a wimp on a bike. I go down hills only marginally faster than I go up them. Plus my bike handling skills suck to a point where I have to come to full stop before I can deal with an itchy bum.

So I could only marvel at Alan’s bike skills and daring do as he whizzed past me at 40 kph plus on one of the sharp sweeping curves with the sheerest of precipices one handed whilst filming a multi-faceted instructional video on I) why you shouldn’t use cellphones whilst in charge of a vehicle II) the importance of paying strict attention to warning signs and III) how to turn your Camelbak into an airbag. I stopped marveling and commenced panicking when Alan’s bike stopped on a penny as soon as it hit a set of well signposted Rumble Strips. Alan continued on without his bike and, obviously pushing for maximum degree of difficulty points, did a two and a half pike with a half twist before landing flat on his back on his Camelbak, bursting it instantly. It all happened just twenty meters in front of me. Opting for the more traditional form of dismount whereby you stop the bike before getting off it, I rushed over to Alan who was clearly shaken by his high speed dismount and nominated him for not just Dick of the Day, but Dick of the entire Tour. Because Zimbabwe is a true democracy, we’ve posted Alan’s instructional video up on Facebook and invite you to watch it before voting. Please pay especially close attention to Alan’s Yeehah in the audio seconds before engaging with the rumble strips. With regards the video content, please do not try this at home, or worse still on top of a big, bloody mountain,

Once Alan had popped his dislocated shoulder blade back into position, making me nearly vomit, we suggested he put his bike on the trailer for the day or for the week, depending on what the Doctor at Mua Mission said. Alan said Hell No followed by some expletives, chewed down on a bucketload of Paracetamol and anti-inflammatories and climbed back on his bike and commenced peddling towards our night stop in Salima, 80 km away, in a world of pain. Hah, I said. If you think that’s pain, wait till your wife see’s the video.

Malawi is described as the warm heart of Africa, not only because it is bloody hot, but also because the people are so friendly. As we rode out of Dedza early this morning, a buxom lady rushed out of her house, blowing me kisses. Thinking about it now as I write, I think she might have been a prostitute.

But there were an absolute multitude of happy, friendly, smiling people thronging the Valley road, waving and welcoming us, whilst mostly asking for money. In amongst the happy, smiley multitudes were two absolute shits. The first was a five year old anarchist called Usain,
as in Bolt, who sprinted on to the road with his cohorts when he saw Alistair and I riding up and threw me with a rock. Alistair and I almost employed Alan Rheeder’s Express Stop and Dismount technique before setting off into the bush and through the village in hot pursuit of Usain and his cohorts. We were on 2 x 10 speed light weight frame mountain bikes, the anarchists were 4 and 5 year olds on foot. Alastair and I never stood a hope in hell of catching them.

When we’d finished laughing, Al and I resumed riding, just in time for another little miscreant, obviously a close friend of Usain, to rush out, pull his pants down and present us with a warm and welcoming Brown Eye.

As mentioned, there are an absolute multitude of people living in Malawi. The country has approximately the same population as Zimbabwe but less than a quarter of the area. There are almost as many churches and mosques as there are people, all competing for Malawian souls, although I’m guessing they’ve already all given up on Usain and his anarchists. And then there almost as many NGO’s and Aid Agencies, all frantically flat out erecting road side ‘What A Good Job We’ve Done’ billboards. Unfortunately from what I can see the most marked impact they’ve had on the people is their vocabulary. ‘I want money’ is easily the most commonly used phrase in Malawi. In NGO speak, Malawi must translate into bottomless pit. Alas.

That’s not to say we didn’t see incredibly hard working people. I started wilting badly in the Warm verging on Bloody Hot Heart of Africa after our lunch stop. We still had 40 km riding into the setting sun to Salima so Adam dropped back to draft me into camp. Adam had just dragged me up to 27 kph when the road in front of us was blocked by a guy riding a Gideon bike loaded to the hilt and beyond with 150 kegs of charcoal. How he was able to balance the bike and load, I have no ideas. And embarrassingly, I struggled to accelerate past him. Thereafter feeling tired felt out of place so I waited until I got into camp when no one was watching.

We had beers around the campfire, Alastair handed over the Dick of the Day necklace to Alan for his spectacular dismount already mentioned. Adam put in a stiff challenge by forgetting his passport in the secure lockup on top of his blanket in his room at Dedza. Adam knows how to play Dick of the Day and made a note of all those who conspired to vote against him.

We’re staying at Kuti Game Reserve, just outside Salima. It is a beautiful piece of pristine bush and is the perfect pit stop. The mosquitoes agree. Attracted by my delightfully lemon scented mosquito repellant, they’ve turned out in force and I lie here seriously worried about blood loss. If I get a blood nose tomorrow, I don’t think anything will happen. I am also forced to add global warming to my growing list of things to worry about and now know for certain that the ad agency executive who first penned the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ phrase wasn’t hunkered down at the time in a Minus 20 Sleeping Bag, suitable for the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Temps inside my bag hit 90 Celsius last night and I think my underpants and their contents have melted. Alas.

I’ve received many enquiries about Molly’s puppies. We will be holding a Great Dane dispersal sale shortly, with details to follow although the words shortly and Great Dane should not belong in the same sentence.

Also following on from yesterday’s blog, thanks for all the offers to sponsor a rider per kilometer. When we get to Moshi, we’ll post our final confirmed mileage plus the payment options as follows –
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour.
Or you can transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or via their Ecocash merchant 139149.
Monies raised will support pensioners country wide. The nicest sound an Old Legs rider can hear is the Kaching of the charities cash register.

Tomorrow we pedal 140 km from Salima to Nkhotakota Bay with the promise of our first swim in Lake Malawi. I wonder if Alan will do a belly flop?

Until then, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can, making sure to pay strict attention to road side warnings.

Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.

We rode out of Mozambique today and into Malawi, chasing down a target of 125 kms and 1700 m of climb

To start, I personally found the chase easy, even with brutal climbs that hurt your legs and didn’t stop, and figured a lunchtime finish to be on the cards, leaving the afternoon in Dedza for lazy. Alas.

My plan went about as well as Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s romance. Some riders struggled, I dropped back to help them. It got hotter with the sun right in our faces, it got steeper and my afternoon of lazy got long and The borders were slow and confusing and eventually i rode into Dedza Pottery Lodge at 16.00, fatigued to the point where I almost applied hemorrhoid ointment to my burnt chapped lips. Same difference really.

There was so much up today, the optimist in me thinks we must be into the foothills of Kilimanjaro but as they say in Germany, I believe his pig is whistling . The optimist in me is a bloody fool.

Dave rode in a world of pain today. I’ve ridden thousands of kilometers with him and always behind him. Today roles were reversed, courtesy of his wounded bottom. I told him better to take it to the ride medic but Dave is scared Adam will sew a button on it.

Apart from the hustle and bustle of Tete, all we’ve ridden through in Mozambique is poverty, on today’s ride especially. For 90 kms, the only economic activity I saw were kids on side of the road, selling and buying stolen diesel to and from passing truckers. I saw no farming to speak of, no shops, not even bottle stores, certainly no factories or places of formal employment, just tens of thousands of poor people mostly seated, doing nothing that I could see to break the chains of poverty . It was especially sad that thousands and thousands of children who should have been busy learning at school but weren’t, lined the roadsides instead to watch, wave and cheer us on. Those poverty chains will remain firmly in place for at least another generation to come. Alas.

But that’s not to say the people we saw weren’t happy. They were all smiles, all day long. Apart from the one chap I was riding next to who shook his head sadly in sympathy when he found out I was from Zimbabwe. He used to work in Bulawayo long ago he said, before it got bad and hoped that things would get better again .

I need to pay tribute to our support staff. Jenny, Linda, Bill, John, Reinier and Ryan all looked beyond exhausted when finally arrived at Dedza Pottery after struggling for 4 hours to clear the cars at the border. Without their help, the riders would be knackered and still back somewhere between Mukumbura and Tete. And yes this is an obsequious (a word I learnt yesterday riding next to Alistair) attempt to suck up in search of Dick of the Day immunity going forward.

I did my first penalty ride on Gideon this morning and am in no rush to do another. Despite the fact he is a piece of precision sporting equipment imported all the way from China at great expense, $55.00 all in, a kilometer on Gideon is hard work.

Nik Bellwald a.k.a. Crash also rode his penalty ride on Gideon for crashing on Day 2 and for not telling his wife and daughter that he was okay, crashed again on his penalty ride on Gideon. But don’t worry Alexandra, your dad is fine. Although Gideon got scratched.

Al Watermeyer is yesterday’s Dick of the Day. After shopping for donuts at a roadside market, he was seen throwing away the blue plastic packet with scant disregard for the environment and the whales. What a Dick.

And whilst on the subject of Dicks, back home Jenny and I are now proud owners of 7 Great Danes. Molly and ex- boyfriend Alfie had 6 puppies yesterday. Apparently mother and puppies are doing good. Alfie is proving to be a real ‘Wham Bam, Thank You Mam’ cad though and so far hasn’t sent Molly no flowers, no dog biscuits, no dog food, no nothing. What a Dick.

Tomorrow we ride 135 km to Salima, mostly all downhill thank goodness and then onto Lake Malawi. The first 7 days of the Old Legs Tour are behind us and 20 to go.

Thanks to Andy Pattenden for sponsoring Adam ten cents a km. Follow his lead and help us help others.

Go to http://www.oldlegstour.co.zw and follow the donate prompts.

Until then, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can.

Eric Chicken Legs de Jong

I don’t know if Joie de vivre, French for feel good, is cycling terminology but if it isn’t, it should be

I had a best day ever in the saddle today. I left my flu behind in Tete and my legs came to the party for the first time on Tour. Viva antibiotics and vitamin C.
And also viva Jaap who had me pump my tyres up an extra bar plus he taught me a more efficient pedal stroke. Rather than pedal up and down, Jaap had me pulling back on the pedals with my cleats, creating a cyclical motion, like when you scrape dog shit off the bottom of your shoe, he said. And what a difference it made. Today was 158 kms big, with 1870 m of climb and not a single piece of dog shit on the bottom of my shoe at the end of it. Normally that ride would all but kill me but today it was Joie de vivre all day long.

The feel good started as we rode ten up and in single file across the Zambezi River on the old suspension bridge just as the sun was rising. It was epic, yet another best ever on a bike moment. Put it on your bucket list.

The scenery out of Tete is a bit on the bland side but the people are so interesting. We shared the busy road with coal truck after coal truck, their loads all destined for China. In a crazy economic oxymoron, riding into Tete from the opposite direction was a non stop steady stream of bicycles, loaded to the hilt and beyond with bags and bags of charcoal, as in tropical rain forests worth of charcoal. Fast forward twenty years and I can’t see too many trees being left standing. Maybe by then they’ll be able to cook on Electrite generated by coal. I can’t but think that Africa’s leaders are cocking things up hugely, for our children’s children.

95 kms into the ride and after lots of upulating, I still had enough left in my legs for my testosterone to slosh all the way up Grace, an aptly named bitch of hill. I launched my attack 2 km from what I thought was the summit, telegraphing it somewhat with a ‘Last one to the top is a rotten egg’ taunt. I should have gone with more pedal and less taunt because Adam chased me down just meters from the hill top finish. Hans and Alan placed third and fourth.

I more than extracted my revenge on Adam though in the General Knowledge Challenge Quiz. Adam scored a miserable minus 1116 points versus my winning score of 4 million and 7 points. Adam is crap at General Knowledge. He didn’t know Spiderman’s real name, he didn’t even know where my mother was born. The only question he got right was his granddaughter Savanna’s birthday.

On a roll, I was also able to win the coveted Dick of Day accolade by falling off my bike spectacularly right in front of a large group of spectators gathered to watch us lunch. I’ve learnt a lot from Nik Crash Bellwald.

My legs might be okay but my lips are knackered,burnt by sun. I’ve spent thousands on therapeutic lipsticks and balms and still my lips feel like they’ve been stuck in a microwave stuck on high. Even if I found my Fisherman’s friends , I wouldn’t be able to give anyone mouth to mouth. Alas.

The route today flirted with the Malawi border on and off all afternoon. At the top of Grace, we were able to stand with one foot in Malawi and the other in Mozambique while catching our breath. And it struck me then, like a shovel in the face, how far we’ve pedaled in just 6 days. I’m 750 kms plus into our 3000 kms best adventure ever and I don’t want it to end. When it does end, Mark Johnson is likely to be riding stark bollock naked. The ability to lose kit is very strong within him, which is strange because ordinarily he is an organized guy. I think he’s been corrupted by my kitbag.

Our campsite for the night is on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, 115 km short of our border crossing into Malawi. The people around us are very poor and do things tough. We rode past a guy late this afternoon pushing his bike up a long steep hill, fully loaded with 6 x 25 liter water containers. That’s 150 kgs of dead weight on his bike and still he was able to smile.

And spare a thought for the poor Zimbabwean truck driver who has been broken down 3 km down the road for the last three weeks waiting for his boss back home to send money for repairs. Things move slowly in this part of Africa.
Happy to see our Zim flags flying as we rode past him into camp, he cheered us loudly from his bust truck.

Mod cons like TV and electricity haven’t made it to this part of the world yet, as evidenced by the 50 or more kids who gathered to watch us set up camp. I felt like a Kardashian.

I’m directing this next bit specifically at everyone out there who had or has a granny and or a grandpa i.e. you!
That we are 10 men with combined age of 555 years (for the purpose of this blog I’ve given CJ an honorary penis ) riding 3000 kms, climbing 34000 meters in 27 days to reach Mt Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest free standing mountain can be considered epic. Accept that I’m bound to have use my Leatherman more than once en route and our mission can safely be upgraded to dangerous. Surely all of the above is worthy of epic financial support. And even there we are able to offer huge value for money feel good. Sponsor us just 3 cents a km and the hundred bucks raised pays for a cataract op. Just 10 cents a km pays for a month in a nursing home for a pensioner. To help us make a difference, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour. In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant 139149.

In closing, I’d like to send hugs and kisses to my grandchildren Jocelyn, Cailyn and Coltan. I bet you guys wouldn’t have laughed at me when I fell of my bike.

Until tomorrow’s blog from Malawi, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.

A harsh grind from start to finish

Yesterday’s ride from Cahora-Bassa to Tete was a harsh grind from start to finish. It was already hot when we started pedaling at 8 o’clock, late because of the hour it took us to drive +/- 30 kms from the fish farm to the turn off where we’d left off riding the evening before.

Cramming all 10 riders plus 12 bikes including Gideon and the spare bike, into the 3 already full support vehicles was never part of the plan but somehow we managed.

We were supposed to chase down 166 kms with 1300 m of climb before hitting the Tete rush hour traffic. So rather than stop for a cooked breakfast, Jenny and Linda packed us boiled eggs and sandwiches to eat on the run. But alas a brutal headwind put paid to all our planning. We should have been flying kites instead of riding bikes. The wind was that strong I rode past the same tree 3 times.

When Nik got on his bike first up in the morning, I thought he’d manage only half a day at best. But his legs got stronger and stronger, to the point I couldn’t catch him to tell him to take it easy. We’ve decided to change his nickname from Crash to Stubborn.

We also decided to modify the English language and have removed undulating, replacing it with upulating.

When eventually we stopped for lunch at one, we’d only ridden 78 kms. And we knew that after lunch we’d be sharing the road with an endless procession of 30 ton coal trucks,a bike riders worst nightmare, There was no way we were going to make Tete before dark so we reset the target to 140 kms and sent all 3 vehicles ahead to Tete to offload luggage etc at the night stop so they could come back and fetch the riders.

Thankfully the wind fell off after lunch but by then the morning grind had done for my legs and I really struggled. Hans, Jaap and Alan from the A Team dropped back to help us but our pace fell off dramatically nonetheless and even the new reset target of 140 km looked dodgy.

For me the worst point of the afternoon was when I looked down at my GPS to see that we’d dropped down to below 200 m above sea level. I hadn’t even noticed the down hill bits. And worse than that, I knew that we were going to have to climb back out the Zambezi Valley. In need of motivation, I asked Mark Johnson to share some of his daughter Holly’s motivational messages that hang from his handlebars with me but he couldn’t read them through his tears. Like I say it was a tough day.

When eventually we hit the 100 km mark, sanity prevailed in the form of Al Watermeyer and we in the B Team stopped chasing our shadows and we stopped for a coke instead at a roadside store. When he found out we were headed for Kilimanjaro, the storekeeper thought out loud that we were mad. We got back on our saddles to chase down the last 40 km but by then I was wobbling badly. So to try and make me ride faster, Adam sung me a song about a woman who ate a spider, a bird, a cat, a dog, a cow and a horse. On a normal day I can ride away from Adam’s singing before the woman eats the cat but wobbly, I was a captive audience and I listened to the song all the way through to the woman eating the horse. Alas.

Ten minutes after sunset, just as we’d clocked 136 kms and 10 hours on the road, we saw Reinier and Ryan in the support cars. If my Fisherman’s Friends weren’t missing in my kitbag, I would have kissed them I was that happy to see them.
Stephen Jacobz, the General Manager of the Tete Ferry Sun Hotel ex Marondera also came perilously close to being kissed. Stephen and his team rolled out the red carpet for us 5 star comfort complete with hot showers and best ever beds. If we’d had to put up tents at the end of the longest day ever, I think the rest of the Team would have dragged me back on to the road to be run over by a coal truck. I was lucky to get away with just a Dick of the Day nomination. The only thing that saved me from DOD was a formal request from Alexandra Bellwald asking that dad Nik be awarded Dick of the Day for scaring the life out of her and her mom with his crash. But anymore after dark finishes, for sure I will be toast.

Our rest day wasn’t very restful. Four days on tatty roads took their toll on the trailers and cars and most of the day was spent on repairs and maintenance. Because I was educated at Allan Wilson, I was able to supervise Mark’s spanner work which wasn’t bad for an Ellis Robins boy.

The central locking on the Patrol was a casualty of the tatty roads, ditto the car fridge in the back. The prospect of driving through the rest of Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania with a car that didn’t lock and warm beers was unbearable. So I asked Stephen if he knew a Mr Fix It guy who could help. He was able to introduce us to Wellington, ex Bulawayo and now a Tete resident for over a year. Despite not having gone to Allan Wilson, Wellington is a Milton old Boy, he was able to sort out both car and fridge.

Whilst he worked on the car, we spoke about home at length. Wellington lives in Tete not through choice, but through necessity. He can’t earn a living in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city but he can in Tete. Just 20 years ago, Tete was a dirty little town on the Zambezi River. Now it hustles and bustles like nowhere in Zimbabwe. That is wrong on so many levels. As a result, Wellington, now one of the scatterlings of Africa, hasn’t seen his wife Yvonne or 2 year old daughter Zoey in over a year. He is angry and sad that he is missing out on his daughters childhood.

Wellington,Stephen and so many others deserve better of Zimbabwe’s leadership. They are Mozambique’s gain and Zimbabwe’s loss. Alas.

As a small gesture of our appreciation, we were able to give Stephen an Old Legs Beaded Bike Guy trophy. As a bigger gesture of our appreciation, we were able to give him a brand new Zimbabwe flag to fly proudly alongside the Mozambique flag on the banks of the Zambezi River.

We also popped champagne corks on the River tonight to celebrate the arrival of Savanna Selby, Adam and Linda’s brand new granddaughter. Congrats Derek and Sarah. Welcome Savanna.

Stephen and Wellington are lucky in that they are young enough to escape Zimbabwe’s economy. Please spare a thought for Zimbabwe’s pensioners who can’t and go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour. In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant number 139149.
For donors in South Africa struggling with the Just Giving platform, you can send donations to Bulawayo Help Network via Alan Rheeder, ABSA Bank, Acc Number 4059154002, Branch code 632005. Donors should send proof of payment to alanrheeder@gmail and Alan will facilitate the transfer through Mukuru.com

Please follow us on Facebook or on http://www.oldlegstour.co.zw. Please also follow young Mike Passaportis on the other side of the world as he hikes the grueling 4200 km Pacific Crest Trail to raise money for Zimbabwe’s pensioners and support him on https://www.gofundme.com/pct-hike-for-zane-zimbabwean-charity

In closing, today’s Swahili 101 –

Pole. Hapana Swahili usiku wa leo. Mimi nimechoka sana. Sorry No Swahili today. I am too tired.

Tomorrow we’ll overnight at a school or a clinic or similar somewhere near Candie, +/- 140 km in the general direction of Malawi. Until then, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can.

Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.