“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring” – Desmond Tutu
One of the big things I have been extremely keen to do since even before we arrived is to get on my bike and explore! I was advised that the safest thing to do is to go out with a group of people. I waited patiently until Sunday as there was a group going out for a ride. As it happens, it was only just two of us that went out. What an awesome experience that was. Yes, I have been driven around Tamatave numerous times and seen the sites as a passenger in a car but going out on a bike was a totally different and amazing experience.
One thing worth mentioning is that cyclists must carry ID (passport or certified copy) as well as a cycling permit! The permit cost all of 30p but we must have one as there are many police check points all over the place!
Oh yes, I think you also need to carry a copy of the receipt for the bike too!
Anyway, we headed out of the housing village straight into town. We cycled to Bazaar Be (Big Bazaar) where we did a quick stop to say hi to someone my cycling partner knew. While cycling around town we went past several churches where there was standing room only with quite a large crowds spilling onto the street! We cut across town and past Ocean 501 which is a lovely beach Restaurant / Hotel where we had lunch the first Sunday we arrived.
After Ocean 501 we headed out of town along route 5 and past the “new” Hospital, past the local Airport (which is more of a glorified bus station) and past a busy market area. We then headed off road and along the bumpy track which leads to Ivoloina Zoo park and along a wide river (I cannot find the name of it, but it is a fairly big river as you can see below!). As we rode, we went past a couple of small villages where people were busy going on about their daily life. We also went past the local church which was broadcasting its hymns through loudspeakers at full blast to ensure the whole village and surrounding area shared in the experience!
We reached Ivoloina and had a quick break in stunning surroundings!
After our break we headed back to route 5 and then headed towards a massive market area. As a bit of an adrenaline junkie, it was such a buzz cycling in the midst of totally disorganized chaos. Pouss Pousses left right and centre, cars, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians carrying chickens, turkeys and goodness knows what else. Simply awesome! After some time the crowds thinned out and we were leaving town along route 2 which heads towards Antananarivo. We peeled off the main road and ended up heading back to the housing village.
I then headed off to the beach and met up with a bunch of people to enjoy cooling off in the pleasantly refreshing waters of the Indian Ocean!