Tan-Tan to Akhfennir

Cycling away from Tan-Tan we pedalled towards the enormous hill that almost growled in our general direction. But somehow we were in high spirits, our time with Mustapha and his family had been a perfect start to our desert journey.


We had decided to cycle as far as possible and to set up camp just before sundown. But by lunchtime we were making great progress and having covered a solid 60 kilometers we spent the afternoon heading towards Akhfennir, according to signposts only 40 km away.

However, some 40 km later we were met with a rather bleak looking checkpoint.

‘How far to Akhfennir?’, we questioned with smiling faces.

‘Another 20-25 km’.

The smiles slipped from our faces. The thing is the idea of
wildcamping never really bothered us, but when you have been cycling along blissfully imagining the cold wash and hot fried fish at end of your day, suddenly the thought of a bread/cheese triangle supper seems less desirable.

We gave each other a glance. Did we really want to cycle another 20 km? Well, whens food is at stake the answer is always yes!

The fried fish was worth every sweaty moment, freshly caught and served steaming hot we took no time in demolishing a rather over sized salty monster.

Mikaela got invited to fry the fish herself

We ate with Boujemaa, a friendly local park ranger who welcomed us to the town and offered us a place to sleep.

‘This is the best fried fish you will find here’, we we in full agreement with our generous host who had already insisted on buying us drinks and naturally pouring us a strong glass of sugary tea.

Fully fed we crashed soon after dinner, legs and bums aching after a long day in the sun. We were invited to join Boujemaa for some breakfast and set up so beautifully for our day of cycling we hit the road, with a small audience of supporters cheering us from the roadside.



6 responses to “Tan-Tan to Akhfennir

  1. Grim and Grumps

    Well it is not getting worse as l imagined, you are still experiencing fantastic hospitality, of course you should listen to your stomaches, food is what keeps you going, glad you didn’t have to eat cheese triangles for dinner. Just in case you haven’t read the last message about your birthdays, y0ur mother is putting £30 in your account for your two birthdays from us, you could maybe find a room in a nice hotel somewhere??? or is that not possible, we have been into the forest to see the lovely vista of trees at this time, then we had a cream tea while we had a quick look at Burley, forgot that it is half term!! we enjoyed it very much, the weather is supposed to be getting nasty now, but maybe not here in sunny Bournemouth. Lots of love to you both keep cycling(not dancing)XXXX

  2. I love your marquee in the sand strung between the 2 bikes…. it looks HOT and glaring sun… I hope your shades are doing the trick! yippee for the fried fish… there should be more where that came from as you proceed along south with the sand on one side and the sea on the other.
    Take care & lots of love xxx

    PS Lesson: the signposts are not accurate… add on 20 and you might get a nice surprise next time!

  3. I just sent a msg, but it seems to have evaporated!

    I love your marquee in the sand strung between the two bikes! it looks HOT and glaring sun (I hope the sunglasses are doing the trick). Yippee for the fried fish – there will hopefully be more where that came from as you continue south with the desert on one side and the sea on the other!

    Lesson: signposts are not accurate so add on 20 km and you might get a nice surprise next time!

    Take care and lots of love xxx :o)))

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Tan-Tan to Akhfennir | music cycles -- Topsy.com

  5. Hey Guys

    Looking good! I wish I could experience those sights, tastes, sounds and smells with you…. particularly tastes.

    Good to see you’re not letting a trifling 20km get between yourselves and a hot meal 😉
    I actually really miss that feeling near the end of a long ride, thinking of what awaits you at the end. I’ve not managed to go riding at all since Uni started 😦

    Anyway, I replied to your bike questions, but I’m reposting it here in case you missed it.

    All the Best


    The dry chain lubricant is only for dry, dusty conditions. You are right to stay with the wet (sticky) lube in rainy conditions. If this changes, and there is excessive dust in the air then you should switch to the dry lube; the wet lube will attract the dust and you end up with a chain coated in abrasive paste! With the dry lube you will not have this problem, but you will have to reapply much more frequently (possibly even every day).

    For cleaning the chains (you will need to when you switch from the wet lube), remove them from the bikes using the gold ‘powerlink’. You squeeze the two halves in towards each other, and then slide apart.

    They can then be degreased in pretty much any solvent, and then rinsed in water. Then let them dry a bit before applying fresh lube. If reapplying wet lube, I would suggest relubing with the chains still off of the bike so as not to coat the sprockets in lube. Remeber to give a thorough wipe down to remove excess lube from the outside of the chain.

    I’m glad to hear the tyre choice worked out well with regards to puncture resistance. How do you find the grip? Keep them nicely inflated all the time and with a bit of luck you won’t have a single puncture!

    About your finger numbness – it sounds to me like you are placing excessive pressure on a nerve in your palm. Try moving your hand to so that the bar rests on the thicker bit at the base of your palm. So if you are currently holding the bar in the little ‘valley’ of your palm, hold it closer to your wrist (hope that makes sense).
    Also, you may be holding on a little too tightly, so a looser grip might also help.
    You should find that once you get up to a decent speed (say 15mph) the bike will need very little input from the handlebars to continue going in a straight line. If you are not supporting your upper body with your hands then it is possible to completely remove your hands from the bars. I wouldn’t advise this of course, but I quite frequently remove my palms from the bar, and leave literally the tips of my fingers touching for minor steering corrections. Doing this from time to time (if you are comfortable doing so) should help with any numbness.

    As for the gears, the barrel adjuster on the gear shifter can be fiddled with. This will fine tune the ‘indexing’ of the gears. If the gears are ever so slightly out of index, you will hear excessive noise as you pedal. The tricky part is telling which way you need to turn the adjuster.

    For the rear gears (right hand shifter)
    Step 1: Inspect outer cable sheaths for obvious external damage (kinks, tears etc.) If you find damage, the sheath will need replacing for gears to run smooth.
    Step 2: Select the highest gear (9th).
    Step 3: Assuming there is no apparent problem riding in this gear, slowly shift down one gear at a time. If the bike is reluctant to shift down, or once you have shifted there is excessive noise, the direction to turn the adjuster is anti-clockwise. If at all possible, turn the adjuster while still riding in the problem gear. The gear should shift if it was stuck, and the noise should disappear. If you shift all the way down with no sticking or noise, do not touch anything yet.
    Step 4: Select the lowest gear (1st).
    Step 5: Assuming the is no problem riding in this gear slowly shift up one gear at a time. If you experience any of the problems mentioned before, the direction to turn the adjuster is clockwise.

    If you cannot find an adjustment balance between upshifting and downshifting where all your gears run fine, then it is likely you need to either clean or replace the gear inner cables. You can do this by undoing the bolt anchoring the cable to the derailer. Next remove the outer cables from the frame stops. This will enable you to coat the exposed parts of the inner cable with wet lube, and slide the outer cable (sheath) up and down the cables. This will relubricate in the insides of the outer cables, resulting in smooth, crisp shifts!

    Hope this helps xx

    • Hey Mr B!

      yep we got your message, printed it an I’m thinking of getting it laminated! thanks for all the detail, I fixed the gears yesterday and they seem better, but we haven’t ridden them properly yet. I’ll be looking into sorting the lube out soon I think, but we’re still using dry as there is still a chance it might rain!

      Otherwise bikes are amazing. I also moved the handlebars up by 2 spaces yesterday as I think that’ll be more comfortable, let’s see. Also had to raise the saddle a wee bit as I’ve been having some knee issues.

      Hope uni is good and you get some spare time for riding soon!

      cheers x

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