The police asked us to cycle in groups today. Knowing that they would go a good speed, I asked Wendy, Paul and Ed whether I could team up with them. They kindly agreed to take me along and teach me how to cycle in a pack—something I’d been avoiding so far for safety reasons as I wasn’t comfortable being so close to other riders.
I knew husband and wife team Paul and Wendy from New Zealand, as well as Ed from the US (who helped me with my puncture on day 1), are some of our strongest cyclists, but I had highly underestimated their speed. Don’t know how I managed to keep up with them, or rather they kindly slowed down for me. Would they enter the race, I bet they would win. Anyway, that’s not the point of today’s story.
The point is twofold:
First, I experienced for the first time the benefit of cycling in a group. I wouldn’t have been able to go that speed on my own. However, that was to be expected.
Second, and more importantly, I was greatly inspired by Paul and Wendy. What a prefect husband and wife team! What more could one hope for in life than finding such a perfect companion to enjoy such adventures throughout life? I should add that Paul is our oldest rider, I think, aged 65— what an inspiration!
Stage 6: Police Camp – Luxor (Egypt), 106km
Road & traffic condition:
Still great roads. Somewhat more traffic in Luxor, but still very manageable.
Overcast. Few raindrops late afternoon.
Burgers for lunch, and BBQ for dinner.
Cycling 100km has become easy—it’s all relative. But after 6 days on the bike, we’re all happy to relax and have our first rest day tomorrow in Luxor. It’s also nice to see some greenery again after crossing through the desert, having reached the Nile.
Highlight #1: We always get up in the dark and pack up everything to be ready for breakfast by sunrise. That might sound hard, but we’re all wide awake anyway as it’s impossible to sleep through the early morning prayers at 5am, if the barking dogs haven’t woken us up earlier. This morning, I’ve had to get ready in a dark tent because I hadn’t charged my headlamp properly, then had 3 local guys help me out with their phone lights while packing up my tent. Last afternoon, I repeatedly told them to leave me alone when they wanted to help put up my tent; this morning, I was all too keen to get their help. Charles claims all lights were on me, I insist they were on my tent. 😉
Highlight #2: Paul and Wendy, followed by Ed and myself, were the first to reach the outskirts of Luxor this morning. The police wanted us to wait until all the other riders had arrived. Highlight: Negotiating with the police in very very basic Arabic that they should let us proceed, then getting our private police escort into town!
Highlight #3: I chickened out from camping in a hotel courtyard and got myself a room instead, like several other riders did. It might be hard to believe, but taking my time to wash all my clothes with hot water felt really nice!
Highlight #4: Found my mini-pump in my saddle bag—whoops! I swear it hadn’t there the last 5 days . . . my fault, sorry for bothering the local guys for nothing.
Highlight #5: Strolling along the Nile and visiting Luxor Temple together with Phil and Murray—check out our cool selfie 🙂