Early Morning Bicycle Rides

I loved the early morning in Togo. Cool and quiet, it was a great time to go out for a bicycle ride.... which, once I (finally) got my Peace Corps bicycle, was one of my favorite activities. I lived in Sotouboua, about 30 miles south of Sokodé... and if I could get up early enough on a Saturday morning, I liked to bike the entire distance.

Traffic on "La Route Internationale" was generally light at that time of day, and only an occasional car or truck passed me by. In the little villages along the way, I'd draw some wide-eyed stares from the children, on their way to fetch water or fire-wood.

If I started out early enough, I could experience the sunrise during my ride: the day would start out grey, then turn golden as the sun first rose, and then finally grow bright and hot. Bicycling, of course, can keep you cool: your motion generates a breeze, at least until you have to go up a long, steep hill.... of which there was one near Sokodé. I remember hating that hill, but it made my arrival in Sokodé, where I could be assured of some cold water at my friend Richard Young's house, that much sweeter.

(Richard Young, by the way, is now a Catholic priest living in a small town near Atlanta. He has foresaken drink.... but still smokes like a chimney.)

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