Maseru’s main roads are paved and jammed with traffic. But off the main roads, the neighborhoods are all connected by an amazing network of dirt roads, trails and paths. Often, the best way around town involves some really great mountain biking. Rob was generous enough to bring me and Ken a couple of his personal bikes to use while we’re here, and shortly after landing, we got to it. Tumi met us at our hotel with about 10 of his kids, ranging in age from about 8 to 16. We headed out thru a bustling downtown and within minutes we were on singletrack! There’s something absolutely incredible about riding fun, technical singletrack through a neighborhood. We dropped down some steep terrain to the lake and cruised around it to get to Tumi’s house
He must have the best lot in town! Perched atop a rocky cliff overlooking the lake, he has started building a house for himself, his wife, and two children. As is typical in Africa, he buys building materials as he has the cash, stores those materials on his plot, and when he collects enough to erect a wall or a roof, he does. We asked him how he scored such a prime spot, and he responded that most local people are terrified of being so close to the cliff. We explained that in California, people pay a lot of money to be so close to the water and his wife responded that “yes, for some reason, white people love to be near the water.” Sounds like a great post for stuffwhitepeoplelike.com!
After seeing his home, we rode over to the site of his new shop. It will be located on the property of Mr. Sello, his equivalent to a godfather. Mr. Sello owns a security company and has offered to let Tumi locate his shop on the grounds in front of his office. As luck would have it, this is a prime location on the main paved road connecting many neighborhoods with the center of town, and gets a ton of drive-by traffic. We spent some time with Mr. Sello and he gushed about how proud he was of Tumi and how great the cycling club is. There seems to be a feeling in the town that anything that gets kids engaged with a healthy activity and keeps them from getting into trouble is a wonderful thing. Sound familiar? Some things are truly universal… After planning the layout and some other details of the shop, we headed over to see Tumi’s mother. She wasn’t home, but her house was truly impressive. It was small like all the others on her road, but she had finished the front with a nice stucco pattern and painted it purple, had a beautifully manicured garden with blooming roses, and a trellis over the entrance to her front yard. She obviously takes great pride in her home and places a high value on hard work. We hope her sense of presentation and her strong work ethic will help Tumi make his shop as attractive as possible and wildly successful.