Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Man with the Eggs on his Head

This past Saturday I did an amazing thing in Accra - I went on a large-group bicycle ride with about 500 other cyclists.  Coordinated in our blue Cowbell (the milk-powder brand that sponsored the ride) t-shirts, we rolled through the streets of Accra, a living mass.  Police held traffic at intersections, bystanders lined up to wave, and we were jubilant in our momentary take-over of the city's traffic-ed streets.

While most of us pedaled sedately along, as is wise in a group that size, some young guys couldn't resist the occasional show-off trick.

But the best riding-trick of the day was The Man with the Eggs on his Head.

This man did the whole 15 kilometer (about 10 miles) ride, start to finish, with at least 12 cartons of fresh eggs (count 'em for yourself!) balanced on his noggin.  That's talent.

For most of the ride he was the leader, in fact, setting the pace for the rest of us down Accra's uptown Oxford Street shopping strip, around the double-wide Ring Road to Nkrumah Circle, then straight through the Saturday market-morning madness of Accra Central.

And what's more, if you take a closer look at this photo…

…you'll see he's doing it all with half a handlebar!

About two-thirds of the way through the ride, I started trying to make my way to the front of the pack to get some close-up photos of this extremely balanced individual.  It was tough going, though, as we were riding bunched-up on confined streets chock-full of fellow cyclists.  Clipping another guy's pedal or running into someone's bike tire was a constant worry, and I was having trouble moving forward.

I finally found The Man with the Eggs on his Head, though, in the middle of a pack just behind the leaders.  "Ah, I've got him," I thought, and whipped out my camera.

But the moment I started snapping he took off through the crowd, intent on regaining his place at the very head of the column.  I tried to chase him through the mass of cyclists, but simply couldn't keep up.  He was faster and more maneuverable through the crowd than I.

He was so intent on getting back to the front that, at one point, he got off his bike, pulled it over a street-center median, and rode forward against the car traffic on the other side.  All with those eggs still balanced in the airspace above him.

It's not every day a biker has the privilege of getting beat by a guy with 36 dozen eggs on his head, and riding with only half a handlebar to boot.  I had to simply applaud and give up my chase.

Too bad he didn't drop them.  We could have all had a nice egg scramble off the frying-hot pavement of tropical Accra.

I'll feature more writing and photos from this ride soon, but for now, I just wanted to give this guy his due.


Anonymous said...

Great story and so typical of Ghanaians skills. Very resourceful!

Alek Nowak said...

Haha, it seems we must have indeed brushed somewhere! :D