Home » Ethiopia Bike Trip

Ethiopia Bike Trip

001 – Sun Rhino Rims and Alpine Spokes

Preparing for Ethiopia 1 – Sun Rhino Rims and Alpine Spokes I'd gone on three cycling trips before I decided to go to Ethiopia. The first was a short weekend trip when I was a ...
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002 – Rocky Mountain Route 66 & Arkel Overdesigns

Preparing for Ethiopia 2 – Rocky Mountain Route 66 & Arkel Overdesigns I had my wheels. The next step was to find a stock bike with the frame I wanted. The guys at "Two Wheels" ...
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003 – My Marmot Peapod Tent

My Marmot Peapod Tent I was just as picky when it came to picking out a tent. When I cycled in Canada and the US, I literally lived inside my tent and assumed I'd do ...
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004 – Departure – Toronto International Airport

I'd planned my trip to Ethiopia for so long that when I finally left, it felt very dreamlike, as if I was only acting out the stages for flying to Africa. But there was no ...
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005 – In Transit – Rome

I'd specifically requested an aisle seat, but when I boarded I found my seat already occupied. An elderly and rather fleshy Italian couple had sat in the first two seats, leaving the window seat open ...
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006 – Arrival – Bole International Airport – Addis Ababa

It was 1:30 in the morning. My flight was the last of the day, perhaps the only flight of the day, and with my usual affinity for the tail end of any line-up I was ...
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007 – Heading Into Addis

I don't think I've ever seen a city wake up so fast. One second the road was empty. The next it was chaos. The holes in my grand plan quickly became apparent. I knew of ...
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008 – The Palm Hotel

The front of the Palm was in fact a lively bar. Behind it was a dingy room with wobbly tables and equally wobbly chairs. They called it a restaurant, but it had none of the ...
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009 – Traveller as Baby Bird

My first full day in Ethiopia began with a savage hunger, and I timidly entered the roar of activity in the small room that served as the Palm's restaurant. People poured in and out and ...
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010 – Alfa

Fortified with my first Ethiopian meal I sat in the restaurant to see if Alfa was going to show up. I'd met Alfa the day before when I arrived at the Palm. He had been ...
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011 – The Tall Man and the Fat Man

When I left Alfa at the taxi stand, I started out walking back across Abiot Square towards the Palm. On the north side of the square there was a small tourism office and I stopped ...
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012 – Eggs and Ethiopian Coffee for Breakfast

I woke up the next morning more tired than when I went to bed, and set out to see if I could use a sit-down toilet I'd noticed the previous afternoon. I hadn't seen any ...
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013 – Tiru Gondar And The ‘Only You’ Bathroom

After breakfast I went back to the Palm's small office to talk to the owner about my desire to find a quieter place to stay. I knew I just wanted to simply move next door ...
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014 – You You

When Dawit stood me up on the trip to the market, I took the plunge and unleashed the powers of my "Route 66" mountain bike with its Rhino rims, Python tires, Snakebite tubes and 24 ...
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015 – Abiy and Dereje

Beside the hotel was another small building containing two billiard tables. When I discovered them by peering through the open window, the roomit was crowded with men playing a game I'd never seen before. Five ...
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016 – Too Black

On Sunday, Sisay, the 17-year-old cousin of Zebachew, took me to Lion Park and the National Museum. The first was his idea, the second mine. To get there we took one of the truck taxis ...
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017 – Something Incomprehensible

I took another long ride around Addis the next morning. I retraced the route Sisay and I took to the Lion Park and then kept on going. Occasionally I'd turn off onto little side streets, ...
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018 – A Family Tree

Afternoon was a time for taking more pictures of the Tiru Gondar family. Zebachew, Sisay and Tadele traded sunglasses and jackets amongst themselves to achieve just the right note of affluence for the camera. It ...
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019 – The Bunna Enfelal

Standing at the front door watching one of the last cloudbursts of the rainy season, Getachew asked me if I'd like to join them for their daily coffee ceremony. One of the younger girls of ...
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020 – Giving and Accepting

I'd taken all the photographs assuming that I'd give them to the family, but now that it came down to it I didn't know how to go about distributing them. There were pictures of two ...
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021 – Bira effellegallo

Most nights I was extremely tired and not good for much so I went to bed early. I liked the early nights. It meant I got a good night's sleep and I was woken gently ...
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022 – The Bunna Enfelal Take 2

I was sitting outside on the back steps the next afternoon. The family was going about their day. One woman was washing clothes over by the water tank. Another was spreading out red peppers to ...
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023 – That First Exuberant Profanity

My third attempt at cycling in Addis was as difficult as the first. I hadn't gone more than a half kilometre from the Tiru Gondar when a boy ran out into the street in front ...
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024 – Asa Belobelo – Eat Fish

Zebachew invited me to go with him to an azmari beat or traditional Ethiopian music house. I knew even before I came to Ethiopia that one night would find me at an azmari beat. It's ...
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025 – “You Like Fucking Priest”

I woke up early again to the banging-crashing-radio blaring-shouting-floor sweeping waking up sounds of the hotel and family. Of all the sounds it is the sweeping that I'll associate with this place. The sweeping went ...
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026 – The Swarm Gang

I met Allen the day I had my wallet stolen. I'd ridden my bike to the Piazza to get some pictures developed and on the way back I followed a road that curved high above ...
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027 – Tiger Spirit

Allen turned out to be a bit of a surprise. When I met him he was unshaven and wore a pair of jeans and a dirty t-shirt. From that (despite the lack of the signature ...
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028 – A Blessing In Disguise

The more time I had to mull over the wallet-snatching incident the more it seemed like a blessing in disguise. It told me more about the country in a moment than I might have learned ...
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029 – Opulence

It was a shower and shave day for me and I steeled myself for the shock and plunged my head under the ice-cold water. The flow of water was very meagre on top of being ...
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030 – Special People

The Ethiopian premiere of "Endurance" turned out to be interesting in ways that I didn't anticipate, but which I think Abiy did. He seemed to have misgivings from the first and it had nothing to ...
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031 – “Hyena! They eat you!”

I was about to crawl into bed around 10:00 p.m. I was fully packed and organized and overloaded. Suddenly Tadale saw me about to sneak into my room. "Douglas! Are you fine?" he bellowed and ...
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032 – Addis Abeba to Sululta

Traveller as Hunter-Gatherer I took it slow when I finally dragged myself out of bed. I had no definite destination for that day. My goal was simply to break the inertia that had started to ...
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033 – Muketuri

The Land The next morning the manager and the two young men watched with mute disappointment as one by one I carried my bags out into the street and attached them to my bike. Their ...
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034 – Gomando

"Father, father, where are you go?" Five minutes into the new day and I already had my first entourage of children. They didn't call me "ferenji", however. Not even "you you." It seems I'd been ...
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035 – Goha Tsiyon

Dula Deterrent The map of Ethiopia which I'd bought in Canada was proving extremely inaccurate when it came to the names of towns, their positions and the distances between them. But I'd learned to trust ...
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036 – Into The Gorge

It was still dark at 5:35 in the morning when I stepped outside my room. There was a hard cold wind blowing but the sky was clear. I could see the stars. Occasionally I heard ...
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037 – Debre Markos

A Close Look at my Tormenters The next day's cycling passed in what had become a familiar pattern. There were some enjoyable moments. These tended to be the ones where I could block out the ...
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038 – Slowing Down and Taking Pictures

Debre Markos was more complicated than most of the towns I'd passed through and it wasn't entirely clear which road was the one that led out of town and headed north. I stopped to question ...
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039 – A Night in Amanuel

The Toe TAL Hoe Tal The town that Azmo had sent me to was called Amanuel and it was as he said only 5 km away. But it was all uphill and I was soon ...
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040 – To Bahir Dar

"Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation" Inside the bus to Bahir Dar there was a big poster of Jesus on his knees looking heavenward and praying. A tiny angel hovered above him ...
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041 – The Ghion Hotel Crowd

In Search of the 'Real' Ethiopia I woke up in the morning without a very clear idea of what I was going to do that day. I didn't think I was going to do much ...
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042 – The Blue Nile Falls

Speciation The next day after a morning trip by bike to where the Blue Nile emerges from Lake Tana I returned to the Ghion to find Martin sitting in one of the lawn chairs on ...
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043 – Bahir Dar to Werota

Leaving Bahir Dar The streets of Bahir Dar were quiet and cold as I cycled through them. A group of men made swishing sounds as they swept up the road with large palm branches. Boys ...
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044 – To Infrance

The Escape of the Joads It was still pitch black when I was woken up by the Joads, their truck, and their rooster. They wanted to get an early start and started warming up their ...
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045 – Gondar

A Ghost in a Silent World The next morning my eyes snapped open at 4:30. A drunk man was wandering through the Nile Hotel banging on each door in turn, looking, as all Ethiopians seemed ...
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