- By Vin Cox
16th Feb 114.2 miles.
Quick start due to traffic flowing at my speed, then the wind started.
I stopped for lunch properly, which was big and great for 5 Dinar (£2.50).
Nice moment when I stopped for water & to fix tyre: Stranger bought me coffee & cake after I fixed my bike – he was impressed I was riding in the storm.
Only 6mph at one point today!
Filthy, simple but friendly hotel £7.50 with hot shower.
114.2 miles @14.1mph
The sandstorm was insane. Cycling was brutally hard and extremely dangerous for hours. Just watch this short clip and you’ll understand:
The hot shower in the hotel was en suite (or more accurately; in the corner of the bed room), but the toilet and sink were shared, dirty, and the loo was just a hole-in-the-ground with a water hose to wash your bum clean. I had to push a bit to be allowed to take the bike to the room, which is odd in such squalor. The final thing I had to do in the hotel was ask for some clean sheets on the bed; it looked like the last few visitors hadn’t showered before bed. They did think I was a fussy foreigner for that. The top blanket on the bed was a beautiful hand-made and patterned wool carpet.
I noticed increasing numbers of “Fuel Stops” at the roadside which almost defy explanation: Basically, there’d be what looked like a homeless person’s cardboard and rag shelter, and a large stack of assorted containers (mainly old drinks bottles). A hand written sign would alert drivers to the crazy low price of the fuel which I assumed to be stolen (selling for about 20p a litre!). The guys in this business lived rough, guarded their fuel with their lives, made a pittance, and were in great danger all the time. I saw one guy filling up a lorry from his pile by hand!