Day 2

Posted by on Jan 15, 2013 in Blogger3 | 0 comments

Ola giveth and Ola taketh away

Another early start (they’re all early starts) saw us on the street eating a luxury breakfast of fresh baguette (dry) and musli by 6am.  The baguette is a rather wonderful hangover from Cambodia’s period as a French Protectorate and as such is pretty damned good fresh from the market at that time of the morning.  The musli is a result of having Ola as our leader.  The musli was however lacking its addition of fresh banana, as perplexingly, despite having checked the entire market, there were none to be had anywhere – “oh yes sir, we have no bananas…” etc.  Have you ever walked the length and breadth of a Cambodian street market wearing lycra?  You get some looks, I can tell you.

So, to the cycling:

  • Today’s route was the sort of mix that only the asymmetrical reasoning of Ola Nilsson could manage.  An average start of real roads, transformed into the most fabulous stretch so far – kilometre after kilometre of a partially constructed road.  20 meters across, flat, stable underfoot (wheel), and virtually ours for the stretch.  You see, Ola giveth.  Then, after lunch, 25+ kilometres of sort of off roading that a Land Rover would, well, actually take in its stride, but as you know, I’m on a bike.  Ola taketh away.  To be totally honest there were moments where it was a little bit fun, but my hands, wrists and forearms are now ruined.
  • I totally forgot to mention a major part of the trip so far, the “Hello, hello!”.  Children run from their homes, adults become excitedly inquisitive, adolescent girls burst into fits of giggles and young men (the same the word over) are sullen and try to play it cool.  The “Hello, hello!” is literally what we say to all and have shouted back to us.  On some stretches the domino effect of the kids in each house hearing the one before and running out to see 8 northern European fools in matching bike gear can result in kilometres of concurrent greetings and waving (not always so easy on some of these roads). Yesterday was particularly intense, but today kept a good rate – at a guess, I’d imagine we’ve said “Hello, hello!” to maybe about 332,476 people so far, at a guess.
  • Today also appeared to be a confirmation that the Singing Cyclist, is an actual entity.  Yesterday saw its birth.  It was a painful labour, involving the butchering of everything and anything I could remember at least two lines to, in an effort to distract myself from the pain growing in my legs.  Today saw an early return well ahead of when the true brutality the day had kicked in.  I’m hoping to find all participants breaking point – today John caved with Bring Me Sunshine (I regret I couldn’t reach him for a double hand slap).  Showtunes are admittedly not proving a huge hit to date.  (Dad, the famous Green Book has had a good shout for obscure folk infused numbers, eg. Last Train and Gone).
  • We had some rain today!  But only a little.  Generally it was excellent biking weather, remaining overcast.  This was most probably because I’d been banned form singing Here Comes the Sun.
  • By the way of a quick insight into the group psyche, a strong contender for the random moto of the trip is: “It’s not long, but it’s thin”.
  • Today’s fall count:  Zero
  • Today’s pain level:  High (stated in the knowledge that I may have anew frame of reference by the end of the week).
  • Today’s fatigue level:  Irritable to grumpy.


Thanks for all the messages of support and donate if you can:


Ps. We also visited an orphanage this afternoon.  In the fear that all my whinging was damaging the credibility of our bleeding hearts, we set off to visit Cambodia’s only orphanage for children with HIV (a significant problem here).  The work of this NGO is remarkable, inspirational and above all else, effective.  Although only founded in 2006, they’ve saved the lives of hundreds of children, created a fantastic living environment and attracted the attention of some big donators in the process.

Find out more about them here:

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