Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Ambitions of realising our African dream were dashed at the first hurdle, when we were unable to satisfy ourselves as to the security of our pallet of Denny sausages once it would hit the Dark Continent. Undaunted, the months of planning paid off and, at the first attempt, on 1 April 2010, we nailed it!

The Road to Killyman Giro

Killyman, just outside Dungannon, Co Tyrone, was our target for the day. Given that the Tango & Cash team headquarters is in Antrim, lapping Lough Neagh in an 80 mile drive-by seemed the only sensible option, setting out at 10am.

Next up, our choice of bicycles for the trip – two pre-war clunkers with rod brakes; a gents’ Triumph Roadster and a ladies’ Raleigh of similar specification, both in truly appalling condition – perfect! The only preparation they needed other than dragging them out of a farm shed was pumping up the tyres, and hey presta, they stayed up!

The weather was sunny but cold, perfect for our new 100% acrylic sports cardigans. We had fine views all day over Lake Victoria, but we had to keep on the move to escape the attentions of hungry lions and rampaging zebra!

We thought our party was well and truly over when the pedal broke off the Triumph just after Ballyronan. Cue much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

We were lucky to stumble into the yard of Jim Clements, a local farmer with a big heart and an even bigger welder! Jim was great craic with plenty of bike stories of his own, and it was with some regret when, after half an hour, we were back on the road and bearing down on Killyman.

The "Killyman Giro" in the bag, we were happy boys to reach the village Post Office for some provisions, as we had been battering into the wind for 40 miles and needed some energy food. Hula Hoops, Cream Eggs, a six-pack of Blue Riband wafer biscuits, washed down with some great craic with the Post-Mistress, were just the ticket to put us back on form, and we set out for a feed in Portadown with the wind on our tails.

JP’s in Portadown put the GTX back into our Castrol.

The legendary Rowan McMahon, fresh from a batch of tax returns, turned out to wish us luck on our last 30 miles.

Given how far we’d come, a broken chain at 5:20pm outside Lurgan we hardly even considered to be a minor inconvenience, and we were soon back on the road.

Still smiling after 82 miles (well, not really - this photo was taken at mile 6!). We were tired boys when we finally hit home at 7:15pm.