eliot & drew bike through india for 3 months, trying to inconspicuously do some good in the world.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

sidi

i've decided to name my bike. i noticed alot of guys who do these long trips give their bikes names, from girl's names to physical descriptions to stand-bys like "old reliable." after some thought, i'm naming my bike Sidi.

Sidi Mubarak Bombay was an African dude who was captured by Swahili tribesmen and sold for a few bolts of cloth. He shipped off to Zanzibar to serve an Arab merchant and traveled to India. When his master died, he was freed and decided to go back to Zanzibar where he served in the Sultan's army.  He ended up back in the African mainland, where he met up with a bunch of honkeys from england, namely John Harring Speke who was trying to find the source of the Nile (spoiler alert: it's Lake Victoria [kind of] or Lake Tana, depending on if you're following the White or Blue Nile). He agreed to go with him and the two set off speaking nothing but Hindi to each other since it was the only language they shared. Later, when Henry M. Stanley (the guy who fought on BOTH sides of the civil war - i kid you not) went looking for Dr. Livingstone (of "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" fame), Sibi was chosen to be in charge of the whole caravan - including some 200+ porters. 

it's tough to find much information about him other than he was apparently incredible nice (if occasionally temperamental), super helpful and one tough hombre - he was constantly fighting off banditos, tribesmen, and slavers during his various expeditions. he fought in armies, he worked as a slave, he travelled the world and he helped out dumb white dudes. i would ask the same of my bike. 

Specialized Crosstrail Sport -  I christen thee "Sidi."  Long may we ride together, wild and free. Arise a knight. 



ps - my back-up choice was "Varthema" which, in addition to sounding like a kingdom full of tolkien-esque dwarves, is the name of the first european non-muslim to ever make Hajj to Mecca. An explorer in his own write and an entertaining writer, he just didn't seem to have just the right spirit. Something about pretending to be something you're not bugged me. Hence, Sidi. 

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