Dangerous Traffic as Veyt Leaves the DRC
Jelle Veyt has completed his journey through the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a 25-day cycle from Kinshasa to the southern city of Lubumbashi near the Zambia border.
Along the way, he cycled “a few good roads and many terrible ones” that required him to push his fully-laden bike through sand and mud. He hopped from one diamond city to another as he made his way south-east, first from Kananga to Mbuji Mayi, and then on to Mewne Ditu.
The long stretches of bad roads could be gruelling: “Sometimes I feel strong, other times I’m exhausted pushing the bike. Sand everywhere, pain itch, dry mouth, pedals hitting my shins, blisters…it’s a struggle.” In each town and village, he also had to contend with inquisitive locals. Crowds would watch everything he did, leading Veyt to prefer pitching his tent away from population centers.
The most dangerous stretch of his journey was on the approach to Lubumbashi. The road had improved but the better road surface meant that cars and trucks were much more common, and much faster. Veyt saw crashed cars and trucks: “Having the mirror on my handlebars saved my life many times.”