The Fat Kid Diaries: Weeks 59-60. Le Tour DeFatKid

250km in two weeks might seem fairly modest on the face of it, but my goodness those two weeks have been filled with memories and laughter to last a lifetime – a great boost ahead of a potentially tricky section ahead!

After a week in Accra hunting visas, exploring the city, meeting super cool and interesting new friends, and being treated to some incredibly warm, generous (and luxurious) hospitality, week 2 was all about catching up with the most incredible group of old friends whose mammoth effort in flying to Ghana for “Le Tour DeFatKid” and a 3 day cycle along the Ghanaian coast, will ensure that week 60 of Lettie’s Ride will go down as one of THE weeks of the expedition to date…and that from a stratospherically high base, is saying a lot.

As you can imagine, an enormous number of highlights and thanks to cover in this edition of the diaries (and as always, in no particular order, and apologies for the inevitable omissions), so it’s a long one, but hopefully one you’ll enjoy.

Ending: Sat 23 August 2014
Starting point: Accra, Ghana
Ending point: Busua Beach, Ghana
Approx. Km’s covered: 250 km

Some selected highlights:

  1. Sharing 5 days of Lettie’s Ride with a group of the most incredible humans on the face of the planet (this could in itself be subdivided into a whole other list of highlights, but for the sake of space, this will have to do for now!)
  2. Ice cold Club Beers shared with friends, new and old (which at times contributed to some of the challenges below!)
  3. The warm and generous hospitality and welcome, and the sheer awesomeness of my stay at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra – the contrast to the previous weeks of sweaty, damp camping could not be greater.
  4. Landing my Sierra Leone and Guinea visas in Accra with such relative ease, and the effort and personal service of the staff at both embassies an example to all.
  5. Exploring the beaches, castles and forts, and towns of the Ghanaian coastline, as well as the city of Accra. Ghana really proving a gem.
  6. A ‘meet and greet’ at Club 31, Accra Brewiers Ltd, home of Club Beer, and part of the SAB Miller family in Africa, and the opportunity to share a bit of the story of Lettie’s Ride to date with some really interesting and cool people.
  7. Being able to donate 10 bicycles to various youth and other charities in Busua and Accra as part of the Le Tour DeFatKid’s unofficial legacy program!
  8. Unfortunately not seeing as much as I would have hoped, but nonetheless, very uplifting for the Fat Kid’s spirits to see that both the Sharks and Springboks have gotten off to unbeaten starts over the first 2 or 3 weeks of their respective competitions.
  9. Getting the all clear on a self prescribed battery of mid-expedition blood tests!

Some challenges:

  1. Club Beer is undoubtedly one of the greatest beers on the planet, but that doesn’t make cycling any easier “the day after”; but nonetheless, a very small price to pay!
  2. Avoiding the temptation to extend my stay at Busua Beach…camping at a place exuding such ‘chilled-ness’ after a heavy week, does make getting back on the bike seem that much harder.
  3. “Peloton management” when 17 cyclists who’ve never cycled together before take to the roads of greater Accra…but we’re all here to tell the story fortunately.
  4. Trying to sieve through all the ‘noise’ relating to the Ebola issues in some of my upcoming countries, and trying to establish the actual facts of what’s happening on the ground…in particular relating the statuses of the land borders between these countries…some interesting weeks ahead that’s for sure.

African #HumanSpirit moment of the week:

  1. The spirit of friendship – old friends coming together from far and wide a reminder of the best of the Human Spirit.

Particular thanks to (as always, in no particular order, and apologies for the inevitable omissions):

  1. Oli (from the US), Carlos, Matt, Kyle, Skollie, Shrek, Japie, Zach, Glaisdog, Suggers, Schulzie and Zach for making the monumental effort to make the trip out from SA, especially with the bad press West Africa is getting at the moment to join Lettie’s Ride for a few days – it was absolutely humbling and such a privilege for me to be able to share the tour with you guys, and as mentioned before, it will go down as an undoubted highlight of the expedition to date.
  2. Matt and Kyle of Big Eye Branding, and Carlos Mendes, for putting Le Tour DeFatKid together – I’m sure I speak for the whole tour party when I say that your efforts resulted in a trip that none of us will ever forget.
  3. Adrian Landry, Sandra Dodoo, and the rest of the truly amazing staff at the Labadi Beach Hotel for the generosity, kindness and for making me feel totally at home…a wonderful and memorable few days.
  4. Dorian Straub and Game Stores, Accra Mall, and Mark Andrews and M5 sport in Durban, for sourcing and arranging bikes for Le Tour DeFatKid party, which not only saved the team a lot of transport headaches, but allowed these bikes to be donated in Ghana.
  5. Michiel Oerlemans, George, Moses, and everyone else at the exceptional Accra Breweries Ltd team for all the logistical assistance, the warm welcome, and THE BEERS! Le Tour DeFatKid would not have been possible without your generous help and support. 
  6. Fanie Thwala and Selai Khuele at the South African High Commission in Accra, for being so welcoming and supportive in so many ways – another shining example of the incredible people looking after South Africa’s interests in Africa.
  7. Kader Coulibaly, Peter Oduro, Joseph Blankson, Kojo Ghartey, Yaw Dwomoh and the rest of the DHL team in Ghana, and Michelle De Rek and everyone else in the greater DHL family for their extraordinary help logistically in Ghana and in getting my passport with latest visas to me in ‘rural’ Ghana.
  8. Steven Barry of G4S for your assistance in Ghana, and for the introductions to your colleagues further along route who have so kindly offered all sorts of advice and information.
  9. Lou Chennells for the ongoing support, and in particular in the ‘UK banking’ department…as always, hugely appreciated.
  10. Andrew and Jeff Kankuam of CIBC Marketing in Accra for not only bringing a team to join us on day 1 of our ride, but for all your help and assistance, and ensuring we had such a memorable time in your country.
  11. Craig Van Niekerk for all your support and friendship during your time at Absa…the Fat Kid wishes you all the very best in your next career adventure.
  12. And the same to Sechaba Makume at Discovery SA…all the best to you too in your new chosen path.
  13. Benj, our support vehicle driver…I wouldn’t be surprised to see this man behind the wheel of the Team Sky’s car in next year’s Tour DeFrance!
  14. Marilize Van Niekerk and the team at the Westin Hotel, Cape Town, Chris Pearson of Wildcon Events, Norm Bates, and Casper Bester of Chain Wizard for the various vital and much appreciated support.
  15. Mark Schulze, John Smit and the Sharks for the special and unique birthday present.

Something random I learnt (aka a FFF or ‘Fascinating FatKid Fact’):

  1. During the 400+ years of the African slave trade, somewhere between 12 & 25million Africans where ‘exported’ to various parts of the world…that from an estimated African population of only 100million. The scale defies belief.

What I will try never take for granted again:

  1. Just how easy ‘we in the west’ in the 21st century have life. Touring the forts that line the West African coast, that effectively acted as holding cells for the millions of Africans that where sent abroad as slaves, once again a reminder of how unfair the lottery of life can be.

Keep in touch:
Twitter @RonRutland

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Fat Kid on a Bike · On my bike · Somewhere in Africa, Planet Earth 0000 · South Africa

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