cattle gambia

So that was Africa.

Grey tarmac on a sunny afternoon, an aeroplane on a runway. And this plane will take us back to England, covering the miles we pedalled in two months in less than seven hours.

And we’re flying high above our tyre tracks, too high to see what we saw, too fast to think what we thought. Too many clouds over our eyes. The skyway versus the highway. Two wings versus two wheels. No contest.

No contest indeed. The bicycle wins every time.

The open road and the mountain climbs. The plains of Spain and the coastal breeze. Moroccan goats in rubbish bins and ferocious dogs in the hills. That thief in Laayoune and the kids with bricks. Baobab and toubab in Senegal, the Bangul ferry and the happy birthday, the smiling coast of the Gambia and Medina Salaam. WYCE and the bikes and the compound. RIP Charlie. Radio Syd’s Guesthouse and Banjul beach. This was an adventure. And the bicycle was the vehicle for that adventure.


This plane is transport. Faux friendliness and functionality coated in plastic and speckled carpet. Trolley dollys and delays. There’s no delay on a bicycle. There’s no such thing as a late arrival. You roll in, you roll out, no boarding card, no duty free.

Just free.

The plane refuels in Las Palmas. On the bicycle we refueled in Portsmouth, Santander, Llanes, Ariondas, Casablanca, Agadir, Dakhla, Nouakchott, Thies,  Brikama and every nook, every cranny inbetween with a corner shop selling crisps, nuts, chocolate, pasta, fruit. Four pistons in flip-flops and crocs, moving parts coated in olive oil. The engines cooled with orange juice.

The aeroplane sells you the dream on arrival. The bicycle is the dream on departure.

It seems it’s time for the dream to depart.


13 thoughts on “Goodbye

  1. Oh no. The end! Was thinking you might continue and go to the cape or the other side to patagonia and north again. Thank you for sharing your trip. I know when I biked across the united states, I felt so accomplished, satisfied in a genuine way and then there was little melancholy after such a great time. When I returned home, I had to have all the windows open even as winter approached as I missed knowing what the ‘air’ was doing. One got used to the barometer of feeling that ‘air,’ the moisture changes, the light changes of the environment. Being closed inside my house felt too closed inside the house. Again thank you for your posts and letting us look over your shoulder and listen to your thoughts. keep me on the list. My little journeys can be seen at Welcome home. Z

  2. Throughout the turns ‘n’ twists of your journey, and the ups ‘n’ downs of your experiences, your evocative blogs often moved me to grasp in virtual alarm for a crash helmet. So it’s with a mixture of relief and sadness to read that your blogs out of Africa will be no more for the reading. And also no more for the comment’ing, except to say….

    Put up a yellow ribbon
    Tear-down the missing persons poster,
    Ring the bells and clear the way
    Welcome home C & J.

  3. So poetic, well written. All the best from Nouakchott (in a few days back in Dakhla). Tony-withoutthedog-onthewaybackfromSierraLeone

    • No Synchro? Hopefully you found a good home. Enjoy dakhla and say hi to Titus if he’s still in residence. Enjoy to run back home!

    • Hi Tony, good to hear from you. Obvious question – what happened to Syncro? Hope all’s good in Nouakchott. Say hi to TItus in Dakhla. I’m missing all that travel stuff already and we’ve only been back just over a week. Don’t hurry back, you’re missing nothing in Europe. Safe travels, Chris

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