Mountain biking The Congo Nile Trail

13th August
Musanze- Gisenyi
Mountain biking to start of Congo Nile Trail
Road food-0
Distance- 67km

I woke this morning with itchy feet. Today I must hit the road. I spoke to Kelsey at team Rwanda who says I can’t mountain bike on my own down trails and offers a guide. One of the original Rwandan team riders, Obed. As the morning goes on my body tells me it’s bloody knackered from the muddy mountain trek the day before. Not far to ride today though.

Obed and I roll out at 2.30, later than I would like but it won’t take long. We set off and start the two and a half hour climb which is longer as we’re on mountain bikes. Obed is happily chatting to the locals which keeps them off my back wheel. The rain gets heavier and heavier. We finally get to the top and it’s a 15km descent to the lake. The rain hurts my face, you can’t see the road for water and I’m pelting off the side of the mountain as fast as I dare. It’s cold but I’m secretly loving it. Drop like a stone. As we descend you can see a peachy haze of light below. I’ll take that as a sign it’s not raining in Gisenyi yet and I’m right. It takes us a long time to stop shaking when we hit town as only in minimal summer kit but I feel quite satisfied. I think it’s because I had that life in own hands feeling when coming off the mountain.

14th August
Gisenyi- Kibuye
Distance-106km yes off road!
Mountain biking Congo Nile Trail
4.619 metres of climbing
Road food- squashed jam sandwich stolen from breakfast, 2 samosas, nuts, cake and fresh milk served at cow temperature.

It’s dry thank god, we meet for breakfast at 7 and we’re served a banquet. Back on the bikes head up the hill for 40 minutes before seeing the Congo Nile trail turning. The road is bumpy, stoney and uneven so fun on a mountain bike. I’m enjoying myself I’m feeling strong and relaxed on the new bike. The kids are begging for sweets so some tourist must have thought it a nice idea to give them sweets at some point. The hills are very long and a lot steeper than paved roads. Obed asks people along the way to double check we’re on the right route. We keep going and going and the climbs get longer and steeper. Then asking someone who says we’d passed our accommodation 30km ago. Shit. I’m not turning back. Miles away down on the lake I can see buildings it must be Kibuye. It’s 3pm so we head for it. Luckily I’m feeling strong and can handle it. Nearly 9 hours off road and accidentally cycled half the Congo Nile trail. Feeling epic.

Watching a storm cross Lake Kivu which is beautiful and apparently it’s rained north all day. My brother contacts to say he’s having a baby. Two worlds hey.

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One thought on “Mountain biking The Congo Nile Trail

  1. Hello Nancy- I just got caught up on all your postings and I’m very impressed. I’m Kim’s sister and only visited Rwanda once a few years ago. She took me on one short mountain biking ride and I thought I was going to die. So the fact that you are biking throughout the country is amazing to me. I’ve worked in Africa by myself and I can relate to your comments about not laughing, but still being rewarding. Hang in there and I hope you have safe travels on your bike!!

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