The beginning…

If you’ve landed on this site – you likely already know that in January 2012 (3 months from now) - I’m going to be embarking on an adventure that can only be described as epic. 

 I’ll be spending the first half of next year riding my bicycle the length of Africa – from Cairo to Cape Town. 

On January 14th, 2012 – 75 riders from all over the globe will be mounting their bicycles to set off on the 11,718 km journey that will take us through ten of the most beautiful countries in the world, on one of the most mysterious and intriguing continents on the planet - Africa. 

The trip will take us 120 days in total – 94 riding days, 24 rest/heal your bum days and two ferry travel days. We will travel through – Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia before reaching our final destination - Cape Town, South Africa.  For those good at math – you’ve likely already worked out that I’m looking at an average of 125 kms per riding day.  And this is true, except for the day when we do 205 - ugh!

The idea really is quite outrageous to be honest.  No, no really….by bicycle…11,718 kms!!!

So - when you’re done laughing…read on… 

Tour d’Afrique is the organization I’ll be going with.  They are a Toronto based company – http://www.tourdafrique.com.  They plan out the route, provide/cook the meals and carry our camping gear.  (As if four months of biking isn’t insane enough, it’s nicely paired with four months of camping.)  We are allowed to snag a ride in the support vehicle if our weary bodies can’t bear to be on a bike seat for one more second.  But, in saying that, there is a friendly competition amongst the riders to see who can bike EFI (Every F$%$’n Inch) and not ride in the support vehicle.  Suddenly I’m not feeling so competitive…

Furrowing your eyebrows – ‘I didn’t even know she was a cyclist’??? It’s true – I’m not. I have spent years of my life traveling the globe - by bus, train, boat, camel, horse, rickshaw, jeepney, etc. – I have never, ever, ever thought about biking…until now. I have a bike, I think I used it once to pick up wine.  I heard about this trip, giggled and thought to myself - who signs up for something like that????  Bunch of nutters!!!  The next day - I paid in full and now I can’t wait to get started. 

Why do it by bicycle?  Why not! I don’t expect this to be an easy journey – nor do I expect to be blogging about a great lion chase mid-Kenya.  But I couldn’t think of a better seat in which to view Africa - front and center. The trials and tribulations that come with travel in general, let alone travel by bicycle, will certainly lead to a healthy balance of comedy and calamity!  I will look forward to the day when my day is so normal that I can simply blog…’Bike worked great – butt doesn’t hurt’!

Someone asked me recently – If I was doing this as a personal journey.  (I think if you asked my parents that same question – they’d say something like ‘hasn’t her whole life been a personal journey’ - with shoulders shrugged and eyes rolled).  For me – it’s more of an educational journey.  What is Africa??? I can’t answer that question right now – but I’m hoping after 4 months of travel though some of the most beautiful parts of the continent – I might be a little wiser as to the answer.  Africa to me is beautiful, mysterious, intriguing and wondrous all at the same time.

This ride is, of course, not without purpose.  I’m going to use the energy and intrigue that people have when they hear ‘that girl over there, she’s biking across Africa’ to create awareness of an incredible organization very dear to my heart – UEnd - http://www.uend.org/.  More specifically I’ll be partnering with UEnd to create a project focusing on ‘Ending Energy Poverty in Africa’.  I’m currently working with a brilliant group of people (ALL of whom will be named and thanked specifically) to get the project up and running….details will be posted very soon in an upcoming post.

I welcome you all to come on this journey with me.  I will be blogging as I go – and sharing my crazy adventures, my unexpected mishaps and most of all what I learn about the question ‘What is Africa’ with you.  Feel free to laugh, cry, learn and just follow along with me – as I discover Africa by bicycle. 

Next up…bike shopping!

  1. carlabikesafrica posted this