Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Bike to the Dike or Danny's First Bike Ride in Guyana

"The contents of this [blog] are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or the Peace Corps."

So I bought a bike yesterday. I figured that although it was pretty much my entire month's living allowance it would be worth it. My walk to/from work is just long enough that I lose about an hour from my day(which is pretty short since it gets dark here at 6p). Plus I wanted to use it to ride to the ocean and explore more than I would be able to do by running. 
Sugar Cane field

Today would be my first expedition. I was planning riding the road along the Berbice River until it ended. I google mapped it and it seemed to be about 25 miles or so. So I prepared myself for a 50 mile ride. On a mountain bike. I packed plenty of water, sunscreen and sandwiches and headed out. Within three minutes, my chain snapped! I then had to walk it to the store where I just bought it yesterday, had to argue with the salesperson who was trying to charge me for "servicing the bike"(i.e. fixing the chain that apparently has a lifespan slightly shorter than a fruit fly), and wait about 40 minutes to get a new chain put on. 

Okay so I'm finally off! I was sailing smoothly for about 15 minutes or so until I hit a small pothole and my seat pivots 90 degrees so now the tip is facing vertically right into my crotch. Suffice it to say this is not a pleasant feeling. I quickly re-positioned it and continued riding. Then pothole and SMACK! This went on for about 5 more times before I got off my bike, pulled out my leatherman and tightened the nuts(on the bike-keep your mind out of the gutter). I then was able to look around and enjoy my environment.

Finally no cars!

As I rode away from New Amsterdam, the area got nice and nicer. 

The road isn't exactly right on the river but there were some times that it was pretty close and it was pretty cool to see the rapids as the water moved quickly to the ocean. Also of interest were the kokers. A koker is the gate at the end of the canal. Much of coastal Guyana is below sea level and protected by dikes. At low tide the koker can be opened and water will drain from the canal, through the dike and into the sea. But at high tide the koker needs to be closed or the land will be flooded with sea water. It was pretty cool to see these rickety things were the only things keeping Guyana from being flooded. 
The Berbice River
After a while, I turned around and was greeted with an unpleasant finding. I had been riding with a tailwind. Guyana is blessed with nearly constant wind which is the only thing that keeps the temps somewhat tolerable. Unfortunately when you have to ride directly into this wind, it becomes unpleasant. My ride home took almost twice as long. And during this time, both my saddle and handle bars came loose. Oh well, I guess you get what you pay for. 

Next purchase is going to be a bike tool to tighten them up enough that I don't get any more nut bails. If I can fix the bike, I'd like to ride into Suriname. That would be pretty cool and totally doable. I just have to get a Visa to cross the border. 
Horses, goats, and cows-more plentiful than people in this area. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow awesome post Dan but please be careful leaving the confines of Guyana..The ride less the problems sounded amazing!