Day 1 & 2 of Rwandan Cycle tour

The morning I started the solo tour Jock and Kimberly gave me in detail all the bad things which have happened during there 8 year stay in Rwanda. Mob mentality, people hitting you with sticks, kids throwing stones. They’ve been amazing and were worried for me so making sure I was taking precautions. In fact Jock kindly lent a long tyre pump to double up as a weapon. With this on my mind I turned on Strava and hit the road at 0830hrs. Musanze is the densest populated part of Rwanda so hundreds of people lining the road going about day to day business, I past many wedding processions singing and looking amazing. However I was on edge and kept peddling and didn’t put my feet down until 110km later in Kigali. There were two 45 minute climbs, my start point was higher than finish and still managed 3,500 metres of climbing (a good day in the Alps)
I under estimated Kigali the capital it’s bigger, dirtier and busier than I thought and after an hour of riding around I was lost (the guide books says it’s totally confusing as well) I admitted defeat and hopped in a cab with bike on the back seat and was at the hostel in 10 minutes. The hostel I was recommended is more traveller based with plenty of NGOs and journalist in the mix so a good base for me. The bike was safely stowed in the storage cupboard with the Christmas tree and after showering and washing the kit I went to socialise. The people who new Rwanda laughed at my worries and one guy had come from Tanzania going through the border at night and hitched to Kigali. This put me at ease.

The next morning I was up and ready to head south visiting a genocide memorial (a church) and finishing in the wet lands. Having looked at more maps of Kigali I was confident I new my route out. Cycling through the city was quite peaceful as it was a Sunday morning and comfortably found my route. However as I was on a long decent which turned into a dirt track I looked at my compass which said I was heading East. Damn. I decided to stay on the road until I came to a paved mane road which thankfully I did. I was planning on heading East at some point anyway so I rolled with it. Kigali had ejected me in the wrong direction! I will be heading into Kigali many more times so I’ll tame the beast.
With my mind more at ease I enjoyed the second day a lot more, there was more flat and the climbs didn’t go above 5%. It was an easy 80km. At one point there was a stretch of road with no people (you can’t believe how densely populated it is here) this meant I could relieve myself in a bush. I arrived near Kayonza by the lake there was no one else there not even wifi so it’s very peaceful, maybe a little too much so. I’m now as far East in Rwanda as I can go on a bike as it’s all national park from here on in (not even my big tyre pump can help me) I’m sitting writing this in my notes on the phone, I’ve just seen an Otter and a Kingfisher on the lake. That’s proper nature not this half assed safari nonsense. Just saying.

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