Before I left England, I had envisaged being one of the toughest sections of my Take On Africa bike ride would be crossing the Sahara. I expected extreme heat and long lonely stretches of road with nothing to do but cycle and not much to look at either. I thought the fierce sun would be too much and besides the physical stress it would be a mental strain to cope with the monotony. I was very wrong.

The road that follows the Atlantic coast from southern Morocco, through the Western Sahara and Mauritania turned out to be one of the most enjoyable sections of the journey (in retrospect at least) and much easier than I had imagined. Yes, it was hot. Very hot. It was a long road and you had to look closely to see any real changes to the surroundings, but it was all the more interesting for it. But I also got lucky and had the company of Lars, another cyclist…