air travel

Bicycling to Entebbe Airport

by Spencer

That was the most stressful airport departure of my life times ten. And I’ve missed two flights.

If I had to guess, based off people’s reactions, no one has ever bicycled the 40k from Kampala to Uganda’s Entebbe Airport, taken the bicycle apart at the security check point, placed the pieces on the scanner bed, then made a box out of scrap cardboard, and somehow gotten the bike on the plane without paying the prescribed fee.

Also I was running really late so they had me skip all the lines which was really awkward especially as it rained on the ride in so I was drenched in water and sweat plus bike grease. But still, it worked!!

edited 1/1/2015

The Drama Continues!!

by Spencer

For the next couple weeks, we’ll have an additional guest, Richard, left, of New York City. The plan is simple-ish: He’ll meet us in Mpulungu, Zambia, where we’ll all catch the ferry across Lake Tanganyika to Tanzania. We’d then cycle for two weeks, up from northern Tanzania, through Burundi, to Kigali in Rwanda. But of course, nothing can go according to plan! The airline has lost his bicycle!

The ferry only leaves once every two weeks. There are no flights. The bus takes twice as long. Will Richard get his bicycle in time to make the ferry? Will he too end up hospitalized? Will someone zip down one of Burundi’s famed mountains into an oncoming truck??? Stay tuned! The adventure continues!

Speaking of, in Burundi they drive on the right side of the road, right? Anyone know?

Into The Heart

by Spencer

Bicycles are special items. If you’re taking one on a plane, you’re delivered to a special line where the wait is especially long. So you wait. One dog gets boxed. And another. Forty minutes later, I’m at the ticketing counter (finally) to be informed that no United will not honor South African Airways bicycle policy as we’re at a United ticketing desk and they’re going to charge us $200 per bicycle, we can’t do anything about it and it doesn’t matter what South African Airways said. ****.
The months to follow will not be PG. There will be ******* **** experiences week in and week out for months. Stepping on the plane, that became startling apparent. I did a rethink. I signed up for this? Why? Is too late to back out?
I’m already more sleep deprived, anxious and exhausted than at any time in my life. I forgot necessary equipment in Wisconsin. Some equipment I need and just didn’t have the time to buy.
There are so many things to worry about, so many unknowns. Is there a bridge at that border crossing? Will I get robbed and loose necessary equipment? Am I physically capable of biking thousands of miles?
But at this point, there is no time for regrets. The journey has begun. We’re sitting on tarmac in Dakar. People speaking French wearing bright green “security” vests move up and down the aisles. Passengers deplane, more get on. It’s an interminable blur, my body fighting the flipbook jump through a dozen time zones as we wait wait wait wait seemingly forever. Cabin doors close and two flight attendants in parallel aerosol spray the whole cabin, passengers included. Again, but zesty fresh scented, we’re airborne, crossing the equator to meet a new day in South Africa.