Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012 - Morning Commute to Work

It is 6:15am – the sun has risen behind the grey clouds and something incredible is about to happen on Mkadini Rd in Dar. He, the Incredible Kris, was born for this.

The Incredible Kris (TIK) glanced to the sky while he closed the gate to his house. The start button is pressed on his mobile and the timer starts counting catching every hundredth of a second. With tremendous force TIK engages the pedal on his newly acquired mountain bike. The lightweight body aluminum rims, shimano gear and disk brakes should enable TIK to break the legendary commuting time record. His is off on the first nicely paved road, conveniently inhabited by the former Minister for Roads. TIK triple checks the traffic on a larger cross road which enables him to jump the first stop sign at lighting speed. Four African (as in large) speed bumps are sufficiently mitigated by the front wheel suspension. A small group of people walking on the road are avoided by a few inches as TIK jumps down a small hill to meet the beat up dirt road stretch which, with the help of heavy rain and gravity, has large parallel bumps. TIK forces the bike to progress over this challenging terrain without compensating on speed.

As the Oysterbay Secondary School is passed children in uniforms notice flaming lines following with wheels of TIK as, with much dexterity, he avoids the minefield of deep pot holes in the tarmac. When passing Trinity Hotel, where he stayed during his first week in Tanzania, a fellow biker appears in front going at a much, much slower speed. TIK passes the biker who almost stops in awe of such eminent velocity. A bajaji is the next victim of TIK. As it is slowing down with a possibility of a right turn, TIK moves to take over this vehicle which best can be described as three-wheeled scooter taxi with a roof. Will he get on the inside or outside? TIK moves to the outside but a large oncoming Toyota Landcruiser forces a last minute change of plan as the bajaji is passed on the inside. Reaching Coco Beach TIK finds the dirt track between the main road and the beach. Many commuters regret seeing their car being passed by a bike on the side dirt path as morning traffic builds up lining up two straight rows of bumper-to-bumper cars. TIK gets a glimpse of the sun rising over the ocean and the usual 25-30 larger container ships waiting to get into one of the most inefficient ports in the world (FYI USD 20,000 per ship per day). If he could look further TIK would see the island off of Tanzania, where significant offshore gas reserves were recently discovered.

A lonely biker ahead breaks down to cross one of four small trenches disposing water from the main road. TIK catches up to the biker just at the crossing of one of these trenches. Kris changes direction and with a nifty move jumps over the trench at the widest spot and races to cross the main bridge going in to town. Now on Ocean Road TIK is on the sand between the coconut salesmen and the beach. On the narrow path a man is walking, which allows for optimal speed. He apparently refused to step aside into the grass as TIK races towards him: “Want to play chicken?” (No, Mary, he did not!)

Out of the sand and down the last stretch, TIK is welcomed by a nicely paved road, which cuts through the Gym Khana Golf course. Every muscle in his body begs to stop as the Incredible Kris sprints the last 500 meters with the aim of flying at the end (flyv og vind!).

Start to finish: 17 minutes and 48 seconds, and more importantly only 13 hundreds of a second.



Holly said...

Wow..Mario Kristoffer Andretti!

Holly said...

Ok..maybe not Mario, but definitely Travis Pastrana (famous dirt bike racer)!

Sarah said...

best post!