Cycle Kenya Cancer has affected many people that I know personally. It has been 10years since my own mother died of cancer at the age of 56 and this was my way of doing something about it. I signed up for the challenge not knowing anyone else taking part but the actually cycling was just one aspect of the challenge I was doing. There were the social aspects of going on a journey/adventure with 90 otherwomen whom I did not know and to cope with the climatic and standard of living, and quality of facilities and services in Kenya. My own children did not want me to go but I knew that it was something that I had to do and I wanted to show them that it is sometimes good totake risks and to challenge yourself even when you are very nervous aboutit! I know that my mother would have also worried had she still been here but she would never have stopped me from doing it. It was definitely an adventure and something I will never forget.
This does not show exactly how60’s /70’s this building really was!
However once outside itlooked more developedand slightly more modernas I had originally expected
Until I saw the buses and ourluggage on the top!
As we left Nairobi itwas almostimmediate how thestandard of buildingsand infrastructurechanged – I saw verylittle evidence of adeveloped captial cityon the way out ofNairobi on the firstday.
We passed the‘Birmingham’ of Kenyawithout seeing muchevidence of theindustrial side of it
We stopped off on the first day forlunch next to a gift shop and cafe.
Some of the wares at the gift shop – Ibought an ebony crocodile here
We arrived at our first hotel –The Green Hills in Nyeri wherewe got ourselves organised andour bikes fitted.
It was fairly basic but muchbetter than I had anticipated so Iwas quite relieved
I didnt know about theswimming pool until wewere about to leave!
We then gotchanged andwent on awarm up rideto see if thebikes were OKup to BadenPowell’s Grave
We all had a rather‘apprehensive ‘ mealbefore hearing moreabout the challengeahead!
Day 3 – Nyeri – Nyahururu Day 1 of Cycling – 98/99km
We past views of Mount KenyaWe passed some fairly grim looking places
We stopped off at a local church forlunch which once one of the mostimpressive in terms of the quality ofthe building I saw all week
The local school children waitedoutside the grounds patiently-some more sombre than others!
This was the massive difference I noticed withall the Kenyans – they started off very seriouslooking until you said hello (or Jambo!) andthen their faces would light-up and be reallyfriendly – often shouting ‘How are you?’
They all sang to us then the trip organiser gavethem two carrier bags of the things we hadbrought over for the schools such as pens, pencils,colouring books and small play equipment
This wasthe firsttime Icross theequatorandwatchedthe localsshow ushow thewaterwouldchangedirectioneitherside
We stopped atThomson’s Fall Lodgethat night which wasalright but had a ratherlong power cut whichwas strange as it meantthat everything wasPITCH BLACK – Isuppose that it whythey had told us to takea torch!
Day 4 –Nyahururu - Nakuru Day 2 of Cycling – 57km
Today was a really niceride through many teaand coffee plantationsand we stopped at onepoint at the top of the riftvalley – this is Jo who Icycled with most of thetime
It was a bit precarious atthe edge of the cliff!
Whilst it had been funcycling down we had tocycle up the other side ofthe rift valley
We stopped off in what was achildren’s play area which also hada bar (it was more a shed wheresomeone sold bottles of beer!The photos on the rights showhow there would always be twobowls out – one with normal(clean) water in it and the otherwith dettol so that we could washour hands before eating – therewas always a team of locals to dothe washing up!
Then we transferred by bus to the Soi Safari Hotel next to Lake Beringo However it was quite eventful when a section of the road had been washed away in the previous wet season!
We eventually got to the hotel thatnight which had Ostriches and a seaeagle in cages in their grounds.
We decided togo on a boat tripon Lake Beringoonce there tosee if we couldsee some hipposand otherwildlife – we didsee one hippo, acrocodiles andlot and lots ofbirds.
Our guide was “Jeff” asseen on the previousslide. However at onepoint he had to stop heguided tour to answerhis phone! – I wasamazed how everyoneseemed to have amobile phone.However I later learnedthat they are oftenpaid via their mobilephones as they do ntohave bank accounts etcand can pay for thingswith their mobilephones – it alsoexplained why I had anamazing mobile phonesignal in the middle ofno-where! –Muchbetter than the signalback in the UK!!
The staff of the hotel did a traditional song and evenmade us a cake due to it being Valentines Day! Theysang and danced all round the room and wereincredibly friendly and good fun!
I did have to share the room with acouple of other guests!
Day 5 – Kabernet - Eldoret Day 3 of Cycling – 85km
This was the most challenging day of the ride crossing the Kerio Valley and climbing the Elgeyo escarpment . We transferred in the morning from Beringo to Kabernet. Then started tih 18km of downhill which was fairly steep. After about 28km we encountered a very serious climb on windy roads through a pretty forest with lots of butterflies. We were given the opportunity to take up eith the Bronze (6km), Silver (17km) or Gold (23km) Hill Challenge. I made it to the Silver Challenge which I was pleased with as it was more than many did and was more than my original intention! We then spent the night at Eldoret.
I had stopped for a toilet stop but saw this andthought better of it!
I took very few photosthis day as wasconcentrating on cyclinguphill so much!
Day 6 Eldoret – Kakamega Day 4 of Cycling – 92km
Day 7 Kakamega - Kisumu Day 5 of Cycling – 53km
After we finished we got a taxi to the Lake and went out to see more hippos! It was alovely trip as we saw the contrasts in wealth so clearly with big hotels near the shore tothe locals doing their washing and bathing in the Lake water – you could see some hadeven collected their water from the Lake – a really scary thought as it was not thecleanest of Lakes I had seen.
This is one of my favourite pictures – they all looked and seemed so happy jumping off the rocks into the Lake.DrinkingWater?
Some has a celebratory swim in the swimming poolonce we had finished
Thanking the ground crew for all theirhard work
Evening View of Lake Victoria - just before theelectrical storm which plunged us into darknessand from our poolside seats to inside!
Day 8 Kisumu - Nakuru No Cycling!!On our transfer by bus to Nakuru we stopped at an old colonial coffee and tea plantation house.. You could see how grand it once was as it had not been altered and despite being in a state of disrepair you could see and imagine how grand it once was.
In the afternoon we had the chance to take part in a game drive through Nakuru National Park.
Here the staff sang and madecakes for Henk (tour guide) andRosie (the trip doctor) whoseBirthdays were today
Day 9 Nakuru - Nairobi No Cycling!!On our transfer by bus to Nairobi we stopped at the David Sheldrick Elephant orphanage where we saw their current elephants. Most had arrived due to poaching from nearby parks and some from bordering countries.
After the orphanage we stopped off in Nairobi City centre atthe Cancer Care Offices for the Faraja Project. We heardsome of the success stories but also some of the problemswhere women had been unable to accept treatment as theycould not leave their families (their children) behind andthose that had attended treatment but then could not findtheir children when they returned.One thing that stood out was how plush the office andsurrounding were when they were a charity trying to fundessential cancer treatment – even when doing such avaluable thing the contrasts in wealth were very muchapparent. It made my lunch that they served that day ratherbitter – I think I’d rather have done without.
I became slightly obsessed with toilets on myjourney and as soon as I got into the Ole SereniHotel as it was so nice and ‘normal’ I took aphotograph! The one on the right was one of the‘posh’ wash rooms I came across whilst cyclingduring the day.
These on the left were on the lines of the usualstandard of toilet but even this one above was again adefinite ‘upmarket’ toilet as it was whitewashed andrelatively clean compared to the ‘usual’ standard oftoilet (I only went in one and could not get closeenough for long enough to even take a picture!!!).