Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Planning Update

Financial Hiccough!

While I’ve been down in Cape Town, training and hanging out, I’ve had an up and down ride of another kind, which, fortunately, has ended on the up!

I spent last weekend cycling the gravel farm roads between Stanford and Gansbaai.  Beautiful, undulating countryside, perfect for getting some hours in the saddle, with short sharp climbs and some nice decents.  The proteas are coming into flower and some of the orchards are in blossom.  The fields are green with lucerne and with the occasional yellow of canola.  Myself and my good friend Grant covered 100kms over the two days.  No single-track so I could look around without breaking my neck!

But there was a dark cloud hanging over my head called Luanda.  The expense of passing through that city was threatening to end my Angola journey before it had begun.

Thanks to some very generous sponsors that problem has been solved.  I have paid the tour company that is arranging my transit through Luanda and, most importantly, arranging for my letter if invitation – a crucial document for my visa application.

A New Plan

I’ve decided that the 30 day tourist visa is not going to give me enough time to cover the almost 2000 kilometres I had planned.  By the time I’d factored in rest days and built in a safety margin for side trips, mechanical hitches and possible sickness the daily average I’d have to cover was too high.

I want to have time to talk to people, to take photographs and to make recordings for my video diary.

I now plan to fly from Luanda to the regional town of Kuito.  That gives me somewhere between 600 to 700 kilometres to Cuito Cuanavale, and about the same again to the Namibian border (as a maximum).

A bike tour is about taking time to get to know the country, not racing to cover maximum distance.  I’m feeling a little less pressured not that I’ve changed my route.

Start Date

The start date is a bit of a moving target at the moment.  Once I get the letter of invitation and put in my visa application I will book flights.  Probably the end of September or early October.  Watch this space!

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