Limping into Francistown 24-25 April

50km to Nata
110km (plus 100km in a bus) to Francistown

19,163km of cycling so far.

It’s now Sunday the 27th April and I am sitting in Tati River Lodge in Francistown waiting for my wheel to be repaired. I’m bored. The campsite is completely empty.

I also have to admit to catching a bus again to get here but I had no choice.

After a great morning at Elephant Sands, a wonderful campsite with amazing people, we rode just 50km into Nata and stayed at a terrible campsite, Riverside camp. It was deserted and it should be. The ground was covered in spikeweed! I didn’t notice until trying to ride into town for food. I had 8 punctures in my front tyre and 3 in the back. Alex had managed to avoid the spikes and spent much of the evening laughing at me as I swore and cursed while trying to repair the inner tubes.

Then I said goodbye to Alex for a third time in Nata, and tried cycling towards Francistown. My rear wheel had been making bad sounds for days and rubbing against the frame. It was like riding with the brakes on. At 110km the wheel would barely move and I took the wheel off and found the new piece in the rear axle had completely worn down. Two hours trying to get the wheel straight and rolling did no good. I could have camped for the night with little worries as there were no lions in that area, but I knew I would still need to take a bus in the morning.
After an hour in the dark, a bus stopped and we managed to wedge Silver in and get to Francistown.

Saturday was spent walking around the industrial area with a wheel in my hand. I found a bicycle spares place who had a 36 hole rear axle which will have to do (silver has 40 spokes in her wheel) and they gave me a number for a mechanic. The guys at the lodge gave me a lift to the mechanic in the back of a pick-up truck, and after leaving the wheel in a dark workshop I would never have found without clear directions, I took a taxi back.
The driver went on a detour to buy Chibuku (beer) and actually stood and drunk it in front of the cab before getting back in and driving me to the lodge!
Oh well….TIA (This Is Africa)

Hopefully I will have a working bike tomorrow. The next part of the ride is to Palapye, then west to Martin’s Drift, to cross into South Africa.

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