Former Peak Cycles employee, Ben T, has traveled to Ghana for work/school. Read a little about his experience biking on the dark continent…
I’m now in the most quit mining town of Tarkwa. I am staying at hotel located on a hill right in the middle of the town. People are beginning to know me in town as well. A white person is called a “Bruni” in the local language and most people know me as the bruni with the bicycle. The biggest challenge is learning everyone’s name.
It such a good thing that I decided to bring my bike. I’ve had the opportunity to go out and explore by bike on “real” bike rides as well. I’ve almost completely worked out a loop that circles around the north end of town along the tops of the ridges that I’m calling “Ride the Ridges” it consists mostly of small foot paths and very poorly maintained dirt roads (impassable by car, most too overgrown to bet through by 4×4). I go through the heart of some small villages where children yell “bruni! bruni! bruni!” as I cruise on through. At one point I had developed an entourage of nearly 25 chasing children yelling “bruni! bruni!” and any other words they knew in English (including “give me money”). I stopped and gave out countless “high fives” in lou of cash donations which seemed like an acceptable substitute.
One of the nice things I’ve noticed about riding here is that water is readily available, and I’m not talking about the consistent afternoon deluge. Countless people walk around with buckets on their heads selling 500ml plastic bags of water. The bags are sealed and the water is perfectly safe to drink. Most people will buy one and walk around sucking on the corner. I don’t recommend the “suck on the bag” technique because although the inside of the bag is fine, the outside has been handled extensively by filthy hands and been sitting in a bucket full of cold stream water for who knows how long. I’ve found however, a quick tear of the bag and transfer of the contents to my camelbak works nicely and is satisfactorily sanitary. The going rate for one 500ml bag is 5 peswas (which is literally about 3 cents), so a 12 cent investment will easily fill your camelbak. Not too bad!
Sorry so long.
International Political Economy of Resources
Colorado School of Mines