Monday, January 11, 2010

Traffic (blog update)

Here you go Mike, sorry no pictures, no one has taken any yet. 

How to describe Cairo Traffic?  People in Cairo drive the same way you or I would walk through a shopping mall.   Drivers treat the roadway as one big promenade, zigging and zagging where they please, sometimes in the middle of the lane, other times between lanes.  On my trip into the city from the airport I counted a dozen times I thought we were going to hit another car and crash.  But our driver, like most Egyptian drivers, have a keen sense of the boundaries of their vehicles and are very comfortable driving with other cars surrounding them less than a hands width away. 

There is hint of logic to they way drivers negotiate the (very) crowded roadways, but just a hint.  They honk and flash their lights in a semi-secret code that tells other drivers to move left, hurry up, or watch out.  Learning to drive in a city of 8 million people with roadways designed to carry 4 million have given them a 'spidey sense'  about when to yield and when to push into traffic aggressively.   That's why I say driving in Cairo is akin to walking around a shopping mall, on the day after thanksgiving. 

So imagine in all this chaos seeing your newly arrived bike, packed snugly in it's cardboard box, the one that will be your constant companion for the next 4 months and 12,000 kms, go flying off the roof of your taxi and into the madness of Cairo traffic.  Yeah. 

If you have a hard time imagining that then just ask Patrick Cantwell.  The Aussie rider and his partner were in a cab from the airport when the straps holding their oh so precious bikes to the roof broke.

Fortunately for Patrick and Wayne their bikes were OK.  Patrick's front wheel was damaged but repairable.  Rod, another rider at the hotel, helped him to get it rolling and we'll have our mechanic complete the repair when he arrives on Tuesday.   No matter how much you prepare.  It's hard to prepare for everything that could happen to you on the Tour d'Afrique.

Paul J McManus
Tour Director, Tour d'Afrique Ltd

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