Mediterranean Cycopaths

Kabylie – Grande and Petite

Target: Yakouren – Ziama Mamsouria (140kms)

Status: Exceeded (Actual 163kms to Jijel) – 622kms remaining.

Report: An early morning start was the order of the day and after scarfing down breakfast, we were on the road by 07:20.  What a treat was in store!  The day would be divided between steady climbs and mountain scenery in the Grande Kabylie region before bottoming out near Bejaia and a coastal ride from there.

Three mountain passes were the first obstacles set before us and the TC steam train huffed and puffed over the top of them no problems at all, but not before pulling in at a couple of stations for picture opportunities.  The fresh mountain air was doing us the world of good – just a pity about the hot, acrid, black smoke that is unfailingly sent our way by overtaking trucks.  A big descent and we hit the coast, before stopping for an early lunch at a quiet looking roadside cafe where we wouldn’t get hassled too much…

A very lengthy French/Arabic/English conversation later (with many new friends that kept turning up out of nowhere), 8 or 9 pictures, the obligatory exchange of email addresses and countless handshakes, we were finally back on the road.  Some topics of conversation covered at lunch included:

  • The (abundant) similarities between Australians and Algerians
  • North African Berbers empathy for Australian Aborigines; and deep appreciation of their music
  • Russell Crowe’s brilliant acting skills
  • Zinedine Zidane’s Kabylie heritage

After that half-time ear bashing we ran (rode) out for the second half feeling a bit flat, but soon received two massive boosts –

  1. A thick cloud cover was providing welcome relief from the energy sapping midday sun; and
  2. The coastal road, which we were worried would be similar to the ups and downs of the Rif, was relatively even and flat. 

It was a joy to ride on and the days distance was again extended.  If we can knock off 152kms tomorrow, we will have made up the day we lost due to our money woes in Algiers.

Scrotometer: It all sounds rather rosy above and I don’t want to give anyone sleepless nights by going into any more details about the effects of chaffing and spending so long on a bicycle day-in-day-out.  I am still searching for the root cause of why I am having so much trouble now when the last 12,000kms have been ok, so on this occasion I’ll just let the Scrotometer rating speak for itself: 2.9/10



July 9, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments