Leisure Cycling: Inspecting the Kampala Northern Bypass Route

PC: Florence Auma

Soooooooooooooooooooo…………. It’s been a full month and some weeks of not stepping here

Let me admit: as much as I thought I got a lot of time on my hands during Christmas holidays, somehow I found myself doing a lot of social media – there is a lot of memes posted I never wanted to miss out on different social media platforms.

And of course, the other thing was being with family.

The latter involved lots and lots of eating which I could never stay away from considering my hyper-disposition to binge eating – don’t judge me

Back to rationality, we all know about the consequences of unhealthy eating habits.

You never see how giving in to that craving messes with your waistline until you meet a friend from 3 years back that greets you with an “Oh my God, you gained weight!!!!!” – some people’s guts 🙄

Over the years, I have learned what the rule of thumb of health living encompasses and the consequences of this, is the ridiculously immense feeling of being out of shape around the days after the festivities.

And somehow, this feeling always engenders ideas that involve planning strenuous exercises to shred off that extra fat

Last year for example, I found myself enduring a 15 km run on the 1st day of the year that happened to be a dehydrating hot day

Yep, I know – what was I thinking?!

To answer that , I could only think of the cholesterol from the chicken skin that I never eat during the rest of the year, amidst other guilty pleasures I only indulge in during Christmas holidays.

Having grown a strong affinity for cycling in 2020, I decided that that year should end with riding my longest journey in the name of “shredding Christmas fat”

My first thought went to the Kampala Northern Bypassyes, to and fro

A Map showing the Kampala Northern Bypass Highway

Truth be told, my adventurous self has always wanted to do a Tour De Contournement Nord

Yep, I know me some French 😉

Anyways this would be the analogue of Tour De France but via the Northern by-pass, a highway in central Uganda of about 23 km long.

Doing a cycling tour for that long has always been on my bucket list and well, a small step towards participating in the actual thing: La Course by Tour De France – A road cycling tour that gathers all sorts of female professional cyclists to participate in a road cycling race in a day (She is a dreamer, isn’t she?!)

Now before I go any further, let it be known to thou that in my cultural context, women are considered too fragile and weak a sex, to take on such grueling activities like cycling on any kind of busy road, let alone for FREAKING 40 – SOMETHING KILOMETRES

Around Christmas time, a friend of mine that stays a couple of metres off the highway told me about her wine business

Well well well, it is about time to have our dreams come to fruition, starting from inspecting that route!” I thought to myself as I remembered my cycling ambitions

It sounded like a solid plan and in fact, was looking forward to my inspection tour like nothing ever before – I mean I could be the next female Lance Armstrong, without doping issues of course 🤗

The Sunday after Christmas seemed a perfect day to go for my trip, as cycling on a weekend is always the safer option

Yes, I fret too – even though I may pass as Wonder Woman😅

Cycling on the northern bypass over the weekdays can get a megalophobic individual easily piss their pants because of the number of trucks (of all sizes) and the speed at which they move – the most fatal for anyone that attempts to cross their lane.

Tik tok on the clock: it was Sunday

Super excited like a kid about to receive candy, I set off at about 10:30 am

Little did I know that I needed to have done some marathon preparation, before setting off

After a few minutes of ignoring the consequences of the above, I noticed I was going off may lane.

Okay, what ghost is tryna ride my bicycle without my consent?!” I wondered as a stopped to check the condition of my bike.

I was so excited about my voyage that I couldn’t notice that the handlebars had been twisted at an angle that made them appear to face a direction away from the road – wow!

This definitely was my brother🤬!!!!!”, I mumbled in frustration as I worked around putting the handle bars in line.

Within a couple of minutes, I fixed the bike and was ready to hit the road again.

There was nothing going to stop my enthusiastic self that day.

At least, that’s what I thought

Until I was slopping from Masanafu via Sentema Road to join the Northern By pass

My bike hit one of the metallic protrusions uniformly distributed in the middle of the road (recently learnt they are called Raised Pavement Markers)only to rip out four spokes in the rear wheel of my bike

Not one or two, but FOUR!!!!!

My goodness, I could swear I wanted to rip out that goddam protrusion of a marker!!

I mean, why did the freaking marker have to get in my way?! 😡

Yes, it was in my way – don’t argue with me.

One of the broken spokes

I was tempted to think the heavens were prolly warning me about worse adversity ahead.

While cycling, spokes are key in evenly distributing torque from pedaling and weight of the entire system (cyclist inclusive) throughout a wheel

You surely don’t want them messed on one section of the wheel – let alone when on a highway, as that only gives the rear wheel a non-uniform spin.

And luckily for me, the faulty spokes were away from each other by a difference of at least 60°, which only gave me a slower speed and noise from broken spokes rubbing against each other.

“Phewwwww!!!” I sighed in relief as I checked how much damage had been done.

Surely the gods were rooting for me so there was NOTHING going to stop me from getting back on the road.

As I rode – as always, I got cheered on by some of the people I met along the way (because I am a female cyclist) and for some reason, this felt like spectators standing by the roadside inspiriting me to reach the finish line – I wish this kinda treatment for any soul out there

A collage showing me cycling through traffic from work at the Mulago roundabout. PC: Jesca Nantume

This low key enlivened me to keep on track.

In fact, I found myself stop by a road side to buy some plants that I don’t have at home, as I thought looking at beautiful plants in my bicycle basket would help me rally on, in case there were no spectators to cheer me.

Roadside plant shop

I won’t lie, I had spoke issues but have you cycled downhill a very steep slope before?!

My goodness, it’s euphoric!!!!

One thing for sure is there is quite a number of these as you approach Ntinda towards Kyambogo, especially along the stretch off the Northern bypass towards Naalya.

Without holding the brakes and letting all my muscles loose, I descended down all these slopes and yes, there is definitely SO MUCH LIFE in that (of course, if you’re careful enough to have your eyes open not to fall in a pothole😅)

I score 85% on the Extraversion scale so trust me to scream my head off out of excitement.

Did I get the wine from my friend, yes I did – which was great wine btw!!!

And that was the beginning of yet other delights I could undulge in

Even when Nimbus Clouds showed up daring to mess my day, my energy was still in full swing to face the rain – probably the reason why the clouds freaked out and didn’t produce any rain😎

Threatening to rain

My “Wine” friend stays in the jurisdiction of Namugongo Shrine which you can tour freely with no constraints when a national, of course.

Inside the Basilica’s compound PC: Florence Auma

Along my journey, I was able to appreciate a lot of sights I can say remind me of what the Ugandan raw streets look like.

Off kyaliwajjala roundabout

Furthermore, as I was exhausted from all the excitement, tour to Namugongo and bike issues, a friend of mine – Diana – unexpectedly saw me on my way back and was just as excited to see me as I was (I hope you know how excited I can get)

With all that ecstasy in the ambience, there was no way she was letting me go on my way before visiting her place – which I was very much open to, considering I needed actual rest and refreshments before I could continue with my voyage.

On top of having a beautiful home, Diana was super welcoming and her kids too, both of whom have bicycles.

To top it all, her girl is so good at cycling and possesses fancy cycling moves I never did while I was her age.

Abby, Ashley and Jayden(the first two being Diana’s kids) cycling and showing me their cool moves, Ashley doing so on my bike.

By the end of the day, my heart was super full and I actually went back to the same route the following weekend

If you are in Uganda and you have a bicycle, you will definitely love this!

I consider the above as practice for the actual Tour De Contournement that I can’t wait to have and I am yet to have.

In case you have any questions or comments about this post or the previous ones, please share them in the comments section below.

Otherwise, HAPPY NEW YEAR 🎉🎊🎇✨!!!

14 Comments

  1. I haven’t ridden a bike in a really long time. By reading this, I can imagine how fulfilling it is to ride 40 km on the road while enjoying all that is around you. I can tell how challenging it is for some ladies to step out of their comfort zone and challenge a society that considers women fragile and too weak a sex to do certain things. But you’ve managed to pull it off! That’s so cool. Thanks for sharing your experience inspecting Kampala Northern bypass route. Have a great year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking time to pass by – means a lot.
      My ultimate goal for this is not only to share my experience but also be proof to the “not emancipated” sex that anything they put their minds to do, can be done regardless of sex. I am glad this post brought it out!

      Also, have a great year too🙃!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can hear and feel your excitement as you travel on your bike, you go girl!! ❤️ Great FUN post, you have me giggling with the downhill thrills and I feel your frustrations with the broken spokes! But oh my, those children on your stop to refuel and refresh your body, they are adorable! Such lovely photos and videos as you share your experiences. Happy New Year!! Your enthusiasm is addictive!! ❤️ ~Diana 🤠

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Firstly, you have such a beautiful voice, Brenda! 😍

    Secondly, I always enjoy reading about your cycling adventures. Your energy is contagious, mammy! Happy New Year❤️✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwwww babessss!!!!

      This made my day!!!

      First of all, thank you for reading all of them – I now consider myself as someone that has made it in life😅
      Secondly, I didn’t think anyone would notice that I sang in one of those videos. Thanks for the compliment!😊

      But mostly, Thank you for passing by!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Riding downhill is such a thrill (but having to cycle back up again not so much… especially on a bike without gears I don’t envy you hahaha)
    Looks and sounds like this was one fun and fulfilling adventure I suddenly wish I had a bicycle just me and the road and the wind and the road and the wind and the road 🤣🤣🤣

    I used to dream about the tour de France when I was growing up, I must have forget about it along with the childish strange dreams I used to have, young me would probably look at me dude what happened to you….

    I wouldn’t reply though, busy trying to work off all the holiday food might

    ~B

    PS yes we noticed the singing🤣🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha Beaton Beaton Beaton

      First of all, yes yes yes I know😅, going uphill with my gearless bike is a different story. But you see, I needed to make you envy me so I couldn’t spoil my plot. But looks like that didn’t work😏😅

      About the adventure, yes and yes and yes….I am about to release a song about my feels when on my bike and you have just given me lyrics to add to the song 😄- which brings me to the singing bit. You see, that was me practising, wait when I release an album of me singing on my bike. Boy oh boy, I can’t imagine what will follow afterwards because I am still contemplating its magnitude 😅

      Okay serious business, thanks for passing by – means a lot😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you add lyrics I want my name in the song writing credits 🤣🤣 so I have name on a chart topping Cycle Track
        Lol
        You are welcome and hope you are safe
        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Heeeeeeey welcome back!!!!!
        The internet was so quiet without you guys we about to launch a search party and ask them to switch it on!!!
        Glad you are safe we were getting such weird news about that side
        ~B

        Like

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