… 24 hours to go!

The days since our first post have been some of the busiest of our lives. Between all the deliveries, route planning, haircuts, emails and packing, we surprise ourselves in finding time to eat and sleep!

The most significant recent development wasBrendan builds a wheel the completion of our amazing bicycles. My friend Brendan put them together, to call him a bicycle mechanic is true blasphemy; Brendan is an artist. When we put the idea to him, he had already assembled our bikes in his head and knew all the parts we needed. Well almost, he was disappointed that we had to halve the budget he hoped for (pfff went the dreams of Rofloff hub gears!). Nevertheless, we now have dream touring bikes.

We were persuaded by one of Brendan’s colleagues that clip-in pedals were the way to go (when he said “…up to 40% more efficient”, the idea was sold). So now we have to get used to the clip-ins. I by-passed the getting-used-to part of our clip-in experience and instead learnt the hard way- during a moment of intense boredom in the opticians, I decided to screw the cleats into my shoes to pass the time. Later on that evening, not taking heed of the warnings from Mikaela, jumped on my new bike on what would be its maiden voyage from Islington to Waterloo station. Six to eight metres later my shoes automatically clipped in and in a moment of panic I attempted to unclip, but instead my fully-loaded pannier-clad bike and I took a tumble. Not surprisingly, it did not take long for Mikaela to see the humour, I’m still not laughing.

On a side note, Mikaela finally succumbed to my diabolical ways: while walking through the supermarket, we ‘accidentally’ ended up in the biscuit aisle. After some deliberation, she uttered the words I’d been longing to hear, “well at this point, it won’t make a difference how many biscuits we eat.” Whoop!

Backstreet BoyAlso, following my first visit to the hair dressers in about 3 years, I ended up with clippered hair. As the hairdresser cut away I visited multiple decades, first a cropped 1970s cut, followed by a revisit to the 90s with a pair of dashing curtains and finally a brief moment of mullet-dom  before settling with the piece de resistance (semi-baldness). Waves of guilt washed over me as the poor saturday worker repeatedly swept my hair from the floor and onlookers gazed in horror at the lake of locks.

Though it seems we are readying ourselves for an exciting, epic trip, I don’t think we’ll ever be as ready as we’d like (or Mikaela would like). Bring on Portsmouth!

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8 responses to “… 24 hours to go!

  1. Jokes! Wicked guys. Where are you going first? What is your route? How long will it take?

    x

  2. We are going from Portsmouth- St Malo then through France (and Spain if time), then onto Morocco. Following the coastal road through Western Sahara we’ll travel through Mauritania, cross the border into Senegal and shadow the River Senegal. Then we’ll cross from Senegal into Mali passing through the Kayes region and into Bamako. We have tickets to Festival Au Desert (6th, 7th and 8th of January) so aim to be in Bamako by Christmas to arrange our onward route to Tombouctu… very exciting! X

  3. Went to Kokeb’s yesterday, called your house to see if you were still around but as I heard you’re in Farnham already, GOOD LUCK!!!! x

  4. argh stupid thing doesnt tell you when your comments been posted lol whoops

  5. Just found this amazing trip plan of yours. I am envying you so much that I think I will grab the bike in any moment and just head to Mali. Have a great time and keep posting as much music as you can.

  6. Very best of luck on your trip! I’m the chairman of a charity in Hay-on-Wye (in Wales) that handles the town’s twinning with Timbuktu, so think your endeavours are fabulous. I look forward to reading more. We’re helping on some healthcare and education projects in Timbuktu.
    With very best wishes for safe and enjoyable travels
    George

    • Thank you for your kind support, I had no idea Tombouctu was twinned, great stuff and would love to hear more about the projects in the area. Do subscribe to the blog to get regular updates and keep in touch so that we might speak more when we reach Mali! Best wishes, Mikaela and Imran

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