Home» Adventure » Bicycle Ride through Lesotho

CHAPTER 1

A hundred kilometres of cycling lay ahead of me, so I decided it would be best to leave Maseru early in the morning.

I munched down two pears and an apple I had bought from a hawker the afternoon beforehand, filled my two empty 500ml Coke bottles with water and fitted them to the bags on my bicycle, and I rode off.

The air felt so fresh. Even the smell of smoke from the early morning fires seemed nice.
Once I hit the main road, Kingsway, with the National Geographic magazines adding to the weight of my luggage, I realised I was not the only early riser in Lesotho.

People were making their way to work on foot. They were a mixed bunch: some men were in traditional clothing, which in Lesotho is a blanket, a woollen hat or a straw Basutho hat and gumboots. Sometimes men carried sjamboks.

There were women dressed in jeans and modern shoes; others wore more traditional long dresses. Then there were all the people in various uniforms: security guards and school children.

Off Kingsway, in Moshoeshoe Avenue, named after the king who was the founder of the Basutho nation, informal traders were removing the plastic covering they had put over their stalls the night before.

Some were stoking fires on which they would cook mealies and meat that they would sell to passers-by.

A couple of children started running alongside me, trying to chat while I was having to concentrate on keeping on the very left of the road for fear of all the traffic.

Just as I felt comfortable enough on the road to give some attention to these children on my left and start a brief conversation, a minibus taxi appeared from nowhere and, to my right, a grown-up man started chatting to me through a window.

Well, at least everyone's friendly, I thought.

As I turned into a bigger, busier road I realised more and more that simply for my safety I owed it to myself to keep my eyes on the road.

The traffic sped by so fast.

A brief nod of the head would have to be enough to return people's greetings.

People stood waiting for lifts in taxis, which would come to sudden halts in front of me.
They chatted on their cell phones, waved at friends in cars passing by. Occasionally I would pass another cyclist but these folks were few in Lesotho compared with other countries.

Not surprisingly so. Lesotho is horse country and it's famous for its special breed of horse, known as the Basutho Pony, which is well suited to galloping about in high, steep mountain country.

Some years ago, horses would have been a fairly common sight in Maseru. But that was no longer. I never even saw one. In fact, I was to see my first horse about four hours' cycling out of the capital city. Maseru and much of Lesotho had become very modern.

It was perfect cycling weather. The rain was threatening but it never actually fell, except for a few drops here and there.

Image: Duncan Guy, CC-BY-SA

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Tell us how life has changed in your home area. Have things rapidly become more modern compared with only a few years ago?

Comments

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  1. 1 Jan. 2011
    56. Katpill says

    Its gud 2 tell a story abt culture,places&contries. It make me feel proud even if im nt a sotho person bt im close 2 them

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  2. 21 Dec. 2010
    55. Keo+ says

    Boring so far

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  3. 13 Dec. 2010
    54. **mrs+bow+wow** says

    Yah i lyk diz st0ry n its nt basutho its bas0tho..am als0 a s0th0 gal..its gud 2 ryt diz 9c wrds kethabile

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  4. 12 Dec. 2010
    53. Mr+Million+dollr+boy says

    Im nt sotho bt i lyk ths stry and sotho pple

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  5. 1 Dec. 2010
    52. Malcom+W says

    Hey ke BASOTHO nt BOSUTHO.:e

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  6. 30 Nov. 2010
    51. Sexy+boy says

    In 20 yearz tym der ws roads of dust but nw in my area we had nice btiful roads

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