Reflections & Gratitude

Dakar at sunset

Looking back now, with only a weeks distance from the trip, and with a new challenge in Turkey coming up next week, this was certainly a splendid trip. I’m still not entirely sure as to “Why Dakar”, it certainly wasn’t anything to do with lunatic fly-ins and their rally. I guess it was more the challenge of seeing if I could ensure that that old bike could make it down there, that it was self sufficient, by and large and to see the subtle changes in landscape and people on the road between North Europe and Sub Saharan Africa for a change. To kind of connect them I think, which you don’t get when you fly! It’s also technically the only feasible land crossing of the Sahara that is currently possible by an average biker or traveller, so I guess that appealed as well.

It was also a pleasant surprise to have Justyna along, and a superb and uncomplaining traveller along the journey she was. My last hurrah leaving unemployment, and her last hurrah leaving Maersk for greener pastures. I would like to say thanks to Justyna, for the insights and thoughts along the way as well – this is the first bike ride where “Sweet Home Alabama” (Glenn’s favorite) was not the theme tune – Cockburns, “Birmingham Shadows” was the theme tune for sure. However I also need to also say thanks also for your French language skills, it made things a lot easier on many occasions. Also a special thanks to Nick Glenville and Willem van der Sanden at Maersk Logistics in Dakar and Nouakchott respectively and to the gang in the Damco air freight departments in Dakar and Amsterdam for getting the old girl back to Holland in good shape. Super job done at short notice.

I’ve found bike rides to be a great place to think, hours on the road with nothing but your thoughts enclosed within a helmet to keep you company, regardless of whether anyone is with you or not. Crossing the void that is the Sahara in such circumstances only sharpens the experience. There is a peace and tranquility about both the desert, and riding that I had not expected. It’s good for the soul …. well …. mine at least!

Time for a Pastis I think 

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