The highs and lows of cycling in Morocco
Seasoned Santos Rider Bram just returned from a cycling adventure in Morocco where he faced the heat of the desert and the highs of the Atlas mountains. Beforehand he was anxious. His main goal was to stay safe and healthy so he rode slower, rested more and ate well. Instead of focusing on how far he could go, he wanted to make it an awesome experience. In this Santos Story, he lists his ups-and-downs. What were the unforgettable moments, and what were the challenges? Check his top ten lists to find out.
Ten cool things about cycling in Morocco in random order
- Hospitality: I was regularly offered couches and food
- Food: I ate an insane amount of tajine, got frequently offered a warm meal and fresh watermelon at gas stations, and msemen is my favorite
- Road options: great variety ranging from perfect tarmac to the most terrible bumpy downhills
- Nature: anything you can think of including mountains of all sorts, desert, coast, rivers, oases, lakes, forest and plains
- Wildlife such as monkeys, birds, lizards, scorpions, weird squirrels and snakes
- Lack of aggressive dogs ❤️
- Resupply options: almost every village had at least a place where to buy bread and water
- Bike shops: in all of the slightly bigger towns for the most needed maintenance (if it works it is true mentality)
- Starry nights: low light pollution. I spent many hours looking above, enjoying shootings stars and the Milky Way.
- Costs: relatively low costs for services and dining out
Ten not-so-cool things about cycling in Morocco in random order
- Me-time: it is hard to be alone; you can't imagine a place where no-one's nearby (many times I had to shorten a lunch break because it became uncomfortably crowded. Wild camping was hard to do full in full stealth.
- Price negotiations: with whatever, they try to earn money. Got better and better at negotiating.
- Begging: the begging of small children. There are many of them; stubborn and sometimes very rude.
- Water taps: from time to time very unhealthy quality
- Traffic: most of the time it's fine, except the fact that traffic from both sides never brakes, so when passing me simultaneously it's crazy dangerous!
- The heat: sometimes I was close to passing out
- Communication: without knowledge of French or Arabic, sign language it is.
- It's a all about the money and Europe: when a conversation lasts longer than a minute, they start talking about the cost of the bike, how much I earn, if I can take them with me to Europe etc.
- They talk: it doesn't matter where you are and what you're doing; they start a conversation.
- Wind: causing sandstorms and frustration with camping and riding
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