With a short leg on the paved road before heading onto the dirt, we made our way out of Mazabuka for our next stop, Monze. As promised, we really did turn off the main traffic route and made our way along the unmapped dirt roads, encountering deep sandy patches, rocky bumps, 90 degree temperatures, and the occasional cattle crossing. Cycling in this terrain proved much different than most riders’ usual training on road bikes. And though challenging, it was undeniably one of the most beautiful days of the ride – allowing for a unique experience of the countryside and endless opportunity to stop and interact with villagers.

Along the route we came across one friendly face after another and enthusiastically received as many waving hands as we could from children and those passing by. Each village continued to amaze us with their hospitality, with a warm welcome from almost everyone we’ve met. Some particularly great stops included impromptu football at our lunch break, a peek into one village’s bicycle repair shop, and a brief serenade by an incredible make-shift guitar. We even had some Zambian riders joining us for short legs of the ride – and one sporting a World Bicycle Relief Buffalo Bike!

So though a difficult day for riding, the group arrived in Monze with great stories of the afternoon and a whole new appreciation for a comfy bed and nice night’s sleep!