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Old 07-12-2011, 10:16 PM   #1
Osadabwa OP
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Location: Nairobi, Kenya
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Cool2 2011 Dar es Salaam Tanzania Sunday Rides Collection



Rather than create a new Day Trippin’ page for every Sunday ride from Dar, let’s start collecting them here. The first 2011 Sunday ride was posted HERE, but from now on, they’ll be tacked on this thread and I’ll update this posting with a link to the new ones.

DEC 18 UPDATE: Look for the Dar Bikers banner below.

If you’re riding in Dar and have something to contribute: Karibu!
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I used to have a link to my African rides in my signature line, but every time I check it doesn't work. So, if you want to see Kilimanjaro, the Kilombero Valley, a bunch of short trips around Dar and another long one to Mozambique: go to my profile.

Osadabwa screwed with this post 12-20-2011 at 11:04 PM Reason: Added a new ride report below: Dec 18
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:54 PM   #2
Osadabwa OP
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Thumb July 10, 2011 – Where are you from? Dar. Where are you going. Dar. Aah no…

Thursday was a public holiday, so a few of us took the opportunity to hit the locally made Dar es Salaam motocross track. Like many in Dar, the makeshift track is a trespasser. Squatting on a vacant lot, the track has been cobbled together by local MXers who rip the place to shreds on Sunday evenings. It’s not really my thing (or my bike’s…), but it’s good to get out there to practice cornering on dirt, and Noball at least has learned to fly.


Above: Noball at the DSM track, testing his wings

The track day rejuvenated our desire to get out on the bikes, so Sunday we met at 8:00 and dashed toward the town’s riverbed exit – the quickest way to get away from the tarmac. Last time we took this route (HERE) the river bed looked totally different. It must be the construction season because this time people had been excavating massive holes in search of building sand, making it a chore to negotiate.


Above: Noball and Finnito navigate the sand mine craters in the riverbed exit

We climbed out of the river and up toward Pugu Hills, a regular Sunday ride spot. It’s getting harder and harder to recognize the track due to all the new construction and roadworks, but we made it. Pugu Hills is great because you leave the sprawling informal exurbs of Dar behind, but it’s always a bit frustrating to see how each year fewer and fewer trees remain. The track was an overgrown grassy snarl in places and an eroded, cattle tracked washout out in others, making for a good semi-technical ride just jarring enough to finish off Noball’s hand guard, loosened from the track.


Above: Finnito cuts through the ghost town, Noball uses his new Acerbis churchkey, a steep, rutted descent

From Pugu Hills on, I don’t know exactly where we were. The guys with the GPS’s were out of town, so the three of us followed intuition and common sense (which isn’t so common) to get out and back. Sans satellite guidance, we found some pretty good tracks even with Noball’s questionable internal compass, and ended up in some interesting places. There were water crossings, plenty of sand and scrub, the occasional dramatic overlook, a railroad crossing, and a few hairy, washed out descents. All in all, a really good Sunday ride… but next time we do it with a GPS so we know where the hell we’ve been!


Above: Noball acts as depth sounder before piloting the Orange Submarine across

Pounding through a deep sand filled double track, I was suddenly struck by lightning just below my neck donut… or so it felt. Frantically, I slammed on the brakes – trying not to take a digger in the sand as I do so. Finnito idled up nonchalantly as I’m dancing around cursing and pretends not to see the bee stinger pulsing African Killer Bee venom into my jugular vein, grinning at my antics behind shiny orange-tinted goggle lenses before finally removing it… thanks amigo.

Noball is a bloodthirsty, frightening man. Early in the ride, he sideswiped an innocent chicken, sending feathers cartoonishly erupting all over the road (he says the bird attacked him…). And later, while we’re blindly hunting and pecking for a route, he rounds a corner where a lone woman is walking. She takes one look at him (or was it a whiff) and goes absolutely apeshit. I don’t know what she thought was happening, but she dropped her basket and proceeded to run like hell back along the trail, laboring mightily in the deep sand, but in the same general direction as Noball! Realizing he was gaining on her, she pulled a Maverick “put on the breaks, he’ll fly right by…” only to encounter yours truly lumbering her way. Her eyes were like saucers.


Above: Finnito at the overlook, me at the railroad

After crossing the railroad on little more than a footpath, we emerged onto a tarmac road. A guy there was about to hop on a Chinese bike, so I asked him where the hell we were. As we’re figuring out which way to go, he decides to become Mr. Official. Almost as if it were an afterthought, he produced some sort of dodgy ID card (maybe for a security company) and waves it in my face with a stern countenance. You could almost see the how-do-I-get-some-money-out-of-these-Wazungu wheels turning:

Guy: [Very serious] Something something in Swahili, I want to know what you’re doing and where you’re going… something something… I know a velly important person…
Me: [Flatly] We’re from Dar, and we’re going to Dar. Mazoezi. Tunazunguka tu. Just messing around.
Guy: [Now standing in front of my bike] Ahh no, something something…
Me: [Intent] Oh yes! [Kicks XR400] Good bye!
Guy: [Self Righteous] I’m going to call somebody something something… [feigns dialing number for Tanzanian Special Forces, the President, his Mommy, somebody]

If power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, maybe the converse is also true. This guy couldn't corrupt his way out of a paper bag.


Above: A particularly hairy descent… but only if you go the way Noball did

The ride ended in a rush of Daladalas, taxis and diesel fumes out in Mbagala somewhere. We hadn’t gone far enough South to even need to cross the ferry. The big tar road back to the city can whip up a powerful thirst, so we ended up cooling our heels at Koko Beach with a few cold Safari’s (or in Noball’s case: Castle Light fafaksake) before going our separate ways. We were home by 2 P.M.

Dar Bikers (includes anyone passing through): 8:00 every Sunday at Total Station on New Bagamoyo and Morocco Roads. Call somebody to find out if somebody’s going, or send me a PM here if you're new in town. Don’t just wait to be contacted (Harry!). Soon we’ll have another GPS, so hopefully we’ll start unlocking more new routes!
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I used to have a link to my African rides in my signature line, but every time I check it doesn't work. So, if you want to see Kilimanjaro, the Kilombero Valley, a bunch of short trips around Dar and another long one to Mozambique: go to my profile.

Osadabwa screwed with this post 07-12-2011 at 11:06 PM
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:04 AM   #3
Danny von Der Insel
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Location: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - off road treasure
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Sunday Rides

A phone number is helpful ....
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:01 PM   #4
Osadabwa OP
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Cool2 The Lighthouse Loop: South Beach Day Trip



Wow. The last Sunday Ride I was on was five months ago. This one promises real bush bashing, a fall or two and solid helmet cam footage. Karibuni.

Finnito (CRF 450), Wryguy (KTM 450), Septennial (XR 400) and I (XR 400) went South of Dar to explore a few tracks I’d dreamed up using Google Earth that would take us along the coast to an old lighthouse. I’d zoomed in close to sketch out a track that followed what appeared to be cattle paths through the bush, attempting to find the funkiest line possible from point A to B while avoiding large paths and roads wherever possible. The track was incredibly accurate, but the ride ended up being rather bizarre. Every 200 Meters there was a junction, sometimes taking us back in the other direction, a product of my keenness to avoid big roads and the fact that when you’re on foot, you follow lines you wouldn’t necessarily choose on a motorcycle.


Above: The ride location… we didn’t entirely stick to the plan

Before we could even get going, we were falling behind. We left an hour earlier than usual to beat some of the day’s relentless heat, but that meant taking off without fuel since the petrol station wasn’t yet open. This being Tanzania, the three stations across the ferry were open, but out of petrol, naturally. So, we sourced our go-juice from the roadside at a whopping 3000 T-Shillings a litre, organized by a friendly if tiresome chap calling himself – I think rather optimistically – “Clever Head”.


Above: Finnito and his partner in fashion “Clever Head”, Wry in the bush, our petrol stop

The track zig-zagged along the singletracks and backlanes, testing our early morning handling skills and patience as we repeatedly missed turns and chugged over lumpy, open country. I must have looked like a crazy person nodding to himself along the ride, constantly checking the GPS in quick, jerky head bobs only to slam on my brakes and make a U-turn in the middle of a field. There’s no way a sane person would link together these paths again. It was a unique experience.


Above: The early morning tracks, some slow some fast, all ours. [2 min]

At one point, in the span of 200 meters, I took a three 90 degree turns, descended a hill and vanished into a riverbed with steep walls and stone drops. Finnito, bringing up the rear of the train, missed the memo and went spluttering down the path to whoknowswhere. Wryguy came down to the crossing, fell into it, and climbed out of it again before saying: “Hey, Finnito’s not behind me” and then realizing that it’s his responsibility to go back for him. So, he had to cross back over… and it took a couple of tries. Septennial and I enjoyed the cool air in the riverbed and marveled at the funky flowers that made us feel like we were in a clip from Avatar.


Above: Wry gets himself in, but has a hellovatime getting himself out again! [2 min]


Above: A Singletrack break, me and my river flower fairy, the dark river crossing

Back together again; we plodded ahead through the bush. The tracks were better there because there are fewer people and therefore fewer junctions. However sparse population also meant that the tracks were harder to find and they were in pretty rough shape in places. At one point, we hit a steep hillclimb, so overgrown with grass and bush I couldn’t see a line. I failed to clear it on the first try, hitting a stone in the grass and sliding awkwardly back down the hill, and Sep attacked a perfectly innocent bush, launching his XR on top of it as he bailed into the grass. The others approached, surveyed the situation, and gave it their best shot, but each has to be dragged up the last few meters. By the time it was my turn to try again, they were all exhausted and lying in the shade like so many panting cattle, so there was nothing for it but to clear the thing in a go. As you’ll see in the video, I was pretty excited and nearly got swallowed by the bush at the top. And later, the boys would have a laugh at my expense:


Above: Hillclimb victory followed by the humbling stump of justice


Above: The hillclimb and the Red XR that cleared it, Sep in the bushes at the top, Wry and Finnito waiting their turn

After the hillclimb, we were exhausted from the heat. It was only 10:00 A.M. but it felt like a sauna surrounded by all that foliage. The track was evening out a bit, but still had plenty of sections to keep you on your toes. At one point, I was so concentrated on the GPS, I made contact with a very sizable stump hiding in the grass. Nothing was hurt, but without somebody to help me, I’d still be there, pinned under the XR.


Above: More dense green riding, my heat-stroked mug, a sign saying what signs always say: “get lost”

After some dense bush riding, we emerged near the coast where new development had defined a boring grid of roads and outlined all properties with barbed wire fencing. We found the lighthouse, which consisted of a modern, unmanned thing and an older structure in ruins. That latter is maybe a relic from when ze Germenz were here 100 years ago, or maybe just another unmaintained Government of Tanzania monument to corruption. Since there was a sturdy fence, we didn’t get close enough to explore. No matter. There were plenty of sea views ahead.


Above: The lighthouse, bikers in the palms, Septennial and the seaview

Tired of the slow-roasting of the tiny tracks, we opted to blast down a bit of bigger dirt road to cool off and explore a few beach entry points I’d marked on the map. The first beach was near the road, and there was a vibrant fishing village there hauling all manner of thing from the sea. We saw several marlins and some tuna in the sand under the palms. Guys were repairing the iconic triangular dhow sails in the sand, as well as fixing fishing nets. It was a fairly idyllic scene we disrupted with our snarling motorbikes and happy, but decidedly ugly mugs.


Above: Helmet cam from the fishing village into the bush [2 min]


Above: the fishing village and a bunch of really ugly bikers

Farther down, we came upon another beach entrance. This one was 5 km long and completely unoccupied. There wasn’t another soul around, so we raced up and down the sand. Sep dreamed of his kiteboard, but this had to have been more fun.


Above: The beach run, an abandoned fishing boat

Between beaches, there were stretches of bush. The riding was good there, fast in the open and twisty in the mangroves. We were really enjoying this bit. I put the helmet cam on facing backwards to capture Septennial’s skills on the allwhite XR 400.


Above: Sep chases me to the beach [2 min]


Above: Bush biking between the beaches

The bush track led us smack onto another undisturbed 5km long beach. Once again, we raced to the end and back before locating yet another obscure trail to take us back into the bush.


Above: Finnito on the third beach

This entire area is an odd little peninsula jutting into the sea, and we were surprised to find a series of fast double tracks crisscrossing it until we came to the gate to a farm… and found out we’d been inside it for the past hour or so! I guess the last beach entrance must have been on their land. Cheers fellas! No hard feelings! Mark your friggin’ boundaries (though would we have heeded them?)!

After a warm Pepsi in a no-name village, we decided to take a known loop back through the deep sand to a beach lodge for a late lunch. With no rain for the past weeks, the sand was very grabby but a lot of fun to fight. Sep went ahead, and I tried to keep up:


Above: Septennial slicing up the sand


Above: Sep on a sandy corner, Wry and Finnito in the dust, on the ferry home

We collapsed around a picnic bench at Kipepeo for celebratory beers and some lovely food (except for Wry’s crappy Red Snapper, sorry mate) on the beach. Everything was sore. The heat had been relentless. Excellent ride.
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I used to have a link to my African rides in my signature line, but every time I check it doesn't work. So, if you want to see Kilimanjaro, the Kilombero Valley, a bunch of short trips around Dar and another long one to Mozambique: go to my profile.

Osadabwa screwed with this post 12-21-2011 at 10:17 PM Reason: Added a video
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:57 AM   #5
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Very cool!
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Ride Report: Canada North to South 2008 here
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Old 12-26-2011, 03:25 AM   #6
Osadabwa OP
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Eh? Good timing

Sunday was dry (report above), but Monday was decidedly not... Here´s a look at Dar es Salaam after a bad day or two f rains.


Above: 3 days of rains = serious flooding
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I used to have a link to my African rides in my signature line, but every time I check it doesn't work. So, if you want to see Kilimanjaro, the Kilombero Valley, a bunch of short trips around Dar and another long one to Mozambique: go to my profile.
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