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Celebrating ten years of the Tour d’Afrique bicycle race and expedition


Eric Aagaard Maria Abagis Luc Abiven Anna Adielsson Janet Alexander Maxime Allard Scott Allen Spiros Analytis Menno Arendz Bram Arets David Arman Joash Aswani Rod Atkinson David Atlee David Atwell Moira Atwell Juliana Austin-Olsen Stephen Avidon Georgina Ayre Gabriele Azzini Walter Bachmann Sarah Badgerow Marie-Claude Baehler Samuel Bail Wendy Bailey Roger Bain Ram Bala Jos Balk Robert Ball Jessica Barker Alex Barnett Pierre Bataini Brent Baxter Tom Baxter Hanny Bazuin Marius Bazuin Jason Becker Tom Beddingfield Jolyane Belanger Don Belbin Elizabeth Bell John Bell Maria Belloni Allan Benn Remy Benois Rebecca Berhanu Paddy Berkery Jean Bernier Bill Berry Claude Bersier William Beyer Xiao Biar Colin Biggin Christian Billet

Madeleine Billet Adam Birkan Werner Bitzer Aris Blok Hartmut BĂśgel Gabriele Bohrer Riccardo Bohrer Bruno Boilard Wilhelmus BonnĂŠ Daniel Bonnet Gilles Bonnier Philip Borden Dave Bouskill Frank Bradley Tiziano Branca Kim Bremer John Brewer Traci Brewer Stuart Briggs Mirjam Britschgi Lynda Brookbanks James Brown David Buchanan-Dunlop Carrie Buckmaster Tobias Buehler Heinz Buerger Sarah Bugler Bart Buijtendijk Irmgard Bush Jean-Jerome Calvier Andrew Cameron Alexander Campbell Malcolm Campbell Patrick Cantwell Joachim Carels Matthew Caretti Amy Carroll Clay Carter Edmund Carter Marc Cashmore Nate Cavalieri Jim Cavanaugh Philippe Chaumette Carlo Chierotti Gary Chomin Kim Lindberg Christensen William Claassen Allan Clarke Sean Clarke Tirtsa Coleman Trent Collins Earle Collum Alasdair Condie Gerald Coniel

Michael Coo Helen Cooney Debra Corbeil Catherine Corne Louise Cornelis Denis Corriveau Marc Cote Wilhelm Cotter Bart Couck Jennifer Crake Jerry Cross Shelly Currin John Davis Paul Davison Gert de Decker Jethro de Decker Mary de Decker Erika de Jager Henning de Jager Ton de Jager Willem de Jonge Philip de Koningh Laura de Somer Edmond de Troyer Simon Degelo Len DeMoss Scott DeMoss Kathleen Dempsey Martijn den Hartog Caroline Derouet Paul Deverill Conor Devine Diana Diaconu Edward Din Ruth Dobson Bernie Doiron Beryl Doiron Craig Dolwin Michelle Downer Eric Drent Esti du Plessis Eric Dufour Shona Duniam George During Natalia Dziegielewska Jan Eisenloeffel Omar El Naggar Sherief Elkatsha Anders Ellegaard David Else Guy Elyashiv Ashleigh Emerick Daniel Emerson Ernest Enns

Chris Evans Simon Exley Stefano Fabrizi Michael Fahey Tori Fahey Howard Fairbank Stephanie Falkenstein Mike Fantasia Dana Farrell Nicholas Fawcett Chris Fenar Ruth Ferlow Roisin Finlay Kerri Finlayson Liam Fisher-Jones Stan Flax Elaine Fletcher Carlo Fornera Jo Foster Herman Fourie Simon Francis Kim Frandsen Paddy Frankel Quentin Frayne Rana Freedman Adrie Frijters Paul Fritsvold Brian Fullerton Matteo Fusari Ann Gallagher Jay Gallagher Paul Gamsby Tim Gane Simon Gardner Judy Garnier Gisela Gartmair Eugene Garver Lindsay Gault Amanuel Gebremeskel Christine Gee Marcel Geerdink Ethan Gelber David Genders Craig George Wouter Gheysels Lorrie Gibson Charles Giles Sven Gladines Danny Gold Rick Goodfellow Alak Goswami Amos Gould Stephanie Gould Donna Green

Graeme Green Rhonda Green Gavin Greig Andrew Griffin Sarah Grill Johannes Groen Cyrille Grosjean Hardy Grune Shan Guo Ursula Haas Hendrik Haddorp Nels Hagglund Tom Hall Peter Hallatt Desmond Hann Vivian Hanna Catherine Hardee Muslim Harji Ayesha Harji Philip Hart Sascha Hartl Joerg Hartmann Sarah Haswell Urs Hausermann Kim Hawkins Basil Heald Kirstin Heiland Cory Heitz Michael Heitz Martin Heng Mark Hensel James Hilsinger John Hinch Jan Hodes Peter Hodes Brian Hoeniger Vanessa Holcomb Viv Horton David Houghton Jim Hsu Mark Hughes Miranda Huron Mohamed Hussein Charles Ibsen Gordon Irving Yuko Isuzu Emmerentia Jacobs Kathryn Jacobs Dylan James Andrew Jaycock Stein Jenssen Duncan Jerard Daniel Johnson Lianne Jones

Jos Kaal Hans Karel Harrison Keenan Maaike Keijser Paul Kemp Michael Kennedy Scott Kennedy Jamie Kerr Hojoong Kim Dennis Kipphardt Bram Klaassen Armin Koehli Andre Koene Paolo Koetsier Deon Kok Johan Kooistra Rebecca Krauss Victor Kroon Michel Kuijpers Ewald Kuiper Shuresh Kurjah Lucette Laflamme Peter Lamond Siobhan Lane Stuart Lane Huberte Lanteigne Luc Lassche Taryn Laurie Phillipa le Roux Guillaume Lebas Joan Lee Samantha Legget Anene Lewer Brian Lewer Ivo Limpens Alexander Link Richard Link Dianne Lizotte Jeff Lizotte James Lockley Joachim Loeffel John Lofty-Eaton Esben Lorenzen Joan Louwrens Erik Loy Daniel Ludwig Urs Luethi Alan Lunt Adrian Lutey Dirk-Uwe Lux Ian MacLeod Jamie MacRae Marcin Madry Jos Malherbe


Jim Malone Ayala Manolson Allen Marcoux Andre Marcoux Eric Maerki Nicholas Marr Ellen Marres Joshua Martyn Charles Masala Edwina Mattinson Joe Mattinson Chris Maund Sally May Carolina Mazan Peralta Fabrice Mazaudier Kristen McAdam Leigh McAdam Dan McCaughan Hermione McEwen Lyle McLachlan Leah McLaren Andrew McLellan Sandra McMillan Bruce McPhail Christa Meier

James Chang Neale Hans-Martin Neitzke Bill Nelems David Nelson Tony Nester Michael Netzsch Bent Nielsen Leana Niemand Eva Nijssen Katja Nordwig Ramses Nosshi Christina Oberg Megan O’Brien George Oertel Mike Ogg Mariana Olivieri Eric Olverson Andre Ormond Mark Orpen-Lyall Monty Orr Wolfert Otte Roderik Paul Otten Tim Padmore Niek Padt Ryan Paetzold

Anne Price Peter Prins Willem Prins Trina Prior Fred Promoli Bernd Prorok Michael Prudden Johanneke Punt Jane Radwan Michael Raine Micheline Ralet Sharif Rashedi Alice Rawlinson Arkadiusz Reclaw Richard Reingruber Ted Remillard Paul Reynaert John Rice Angela Riddell Martin Rietveld Judith Anne Rigby Arthur Rijk Rafi Rimoni Laurent Riou Yannig Robard

Stefan Schlett Lorry Schmidt Isabel Schmitt Ute Schneck Rainer Schoffl Christa Scholtz Henk Schoorl Geert Jan Schrauwers Lani Schultz Jurie Schuurman Graeme Scrivener Eric Secher Michelle Sephton Leigh Shafer Sunil Shah Kevin Sherman Bruce Shultz Douglas Sidialo Sonia Simard Sandra Simon Rae Simpson Fiona Siseman Vivian Slack Stephanie Sleen Edvard Sloots

Heather Sullivan David Sylvester Gergo Szanyi Markos Taddesse Deb Taylor Anke ten Brummelhuis Marjet ten Brummelhuis Paul ten Brummelhuis Patrick Thomas Tim Thomas Annalise Thompson Olivier Thudor Gunther Tielemans Robert Tindle Craig Tingle Carola Tize Evelijn Tjarks Olga Tjoa Stefan Tobler Steven Topham Russel Tregonning Simon Trevarthen Giles Trevethick Mike Tribes John Trijssenaar

Rudi van Wijk Cindy van Wyk Marcel van Zwam Jean Vedova Henk Vermaas Thomas Vernon Sam Vickery Kari Vigerstol Maarten Visser Hans Vlek Hilde Vollan Ruben von Furstenberg Andrea von Holdt Jenny Vonk Kees Vonk Mara Vorhees Terry Wall Christian Wallish Edith Ward Jacob Warner Rick Wasfy Ted Webb Knut Erling Wedul Beate Weiland Tal Weinberg

Celebrating ten years of the Tour d’Afrique bicycle race and expedition Maarten Meijer Nico Meijer Nicola Meltzer Marc Mentink Debbie Menzies Rudi Mertens Frederic Michalec Geoffrey Miles Mel Miller Scott Miller Jules Milner Ralph Monfort David Montgomery Kate Montgomery Shaun Moore Franziska Morger Alice Morrison Hillary Mumford Phillip Mumford Adrian Munday Randall Murchison Steven Murchison Andra Nadeau Jakobson Luke Naish

David Papenfus Geraldine Paques Bonnie Paridaen Matthew Paridaen Paul Paridaen Vitali Parkhomenko Martin Parnell Andrew Paton Jacomine Paul Svend Paulsen Ed Peacock Patrick Peeters Claire Pegler Chris Penney David Pennington Rod Pennington Randy Pielsticker Dieder Pijnenborg Daniel Pilliard Peter Pizer Kristian Pletten J-P Poirot-Crouvezier Paul Porter Mark Poston

Bridget Roberts Ian Roberts Peter Roberts Ian Robins Scott Robinson Brian Rodgers Clive Rogers Peter Rombaut Alexander Rottier Christine Rousseu Ron Rowland Isabelle Roy Kendra Ryan Matthew Ryder Eric Saastamoinen David Saevitzon Raj Salooja Lone Sand Martin Sander Rodney Sanders Jan Willem Sandker Michel Savoie Gerhard Schadwill Horst Schlenker

Frans Smit Chris Smith Frank Smith Matthew Smith Tim Snijder Julian Soles Pierre-Luc Soucy Daniel Spasojevic Paul Spencer Andrew Spezowka Erin Sprague Len Spratt Mike Stacey Jan-Peter Stam Francis Staunton Tom Stephens Adam Stickler Patrick Stobbs Richard Stooss Ruth Storm Robin Stott John Stowe Lloyd Strong Alexander Sudbury

Anthony Tuck Paul Tuthill Peter-Jan van As Maarten van Dalsen Frans van de Vorst Robert van der Geest Marielie van der Merwe Hendrik Jan van der Torren Freek van der Valk Martin van der Valk Rob van der Valk Jack van der Veen Hendry van der Wiel Arnold van Dijk Andre van Eeden Joya van Hout Siegfried van Houtven Bastiaan van Meeteren Rob van Moorsel Gwen van Mossevelde Gerrard van Putten Pieter van Rooyen Joseph van Veen Michiel van Wijk

Greg Wells Paul Westmattelman Jeremy Wex Tony Wheeler Anthony White Jonathan White Markus Widmann Chris Wille Alicia Williams David Williams Robin Williams Tiffany Williamson Antony Willis Cat Wirth Christine Wolfe Juliet Wolfe Paul Wolfe Naomi Lynne Wolfson Wayne Woodward Darrel Wratten Kevin Young Sherine Zaghow Yousry Zaghow Alfons Zehnder


Celebrating ten years of the Tour d’Afrique bicycle race and expedition E dited and designed by Cover photo by

David Houghton

Shanghoon


Dedicated to Alfons Zehnder

10: Celebrating Ten Years of the Tour d’Afrique Bicycle Race and Expedition, ˝2011 Edited and designed by David Houghton Published by Open Circle Press Research Colin Biggin, Michael Coo, Henry Gold, Shanny Hill, Brian Hoeniger Editorial Advisor Michael Posner Assistant to Mr. Houghton Hannah Spence Proofreader Peter Adcock Digital Imaging Van Hughes Production Manager Paul Schillinger Printing Colour Systems Incorporated Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of the contents is strictly prohibited without written authorization of the publisher. Open Circle Press: 56 Gothic Avenue Suite 2 Toronto Canada M6P 2V9. Tour d’Afrique: 196 Spadina Avenue Suite 407 Toronto Canada M5T 2C2.


CONTENTS

Foreword by Tony Wheeler

8

Preface by David Houghton

10

12

Discovery

18

Humanity

46

Challenge

70

Hunger

102

Conflict

122

Pain

140

Wonder

162

Humility

178

Bliss

204

Epilogue - The EFI Club

232

Photographers

246

About the Author

248

Contributors

249

The TDA Foundation

250

Introduction by Henry Gold

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


FOREWORD Tony Wheeler, Co-Founder, Lonely Planet

A

BICYCLE RIDE from Cairo to Cape Town? I read a newspaper article about the very first Tour d’Afrique, the year it kicked off, and I can still remember my instant reaction: crazy, doomed, hopeless, wonderful. In 2005, I was kicking around Ethiopia – comfortably in a 4WD – and one stop coincided with the Tour d’Afrique on a rest day, just as the circus emerged from Sudan. I talked with the riders and crew and decided there and then that I had to join in. Finding four whole months to spare wasn’t feasible, but the next best thing was possibly even better. I entered not one, but two Lonely Planet teams to ride the TDA relay-style. We ran a company-wide competition

and chose riders from our Australian, British and US offices. Then we threw in a selection of our most bicycle-obsessed writers (their travel obsession doesn’t need to be underlined). Plus, we added a couple of our foreign language partners, one from Italy (where cycling enthusiasm is a given) and one from China (now there’s a country that knows its bicycles). I kept one slot for myself, the Tanzania-Malawi ride. But sadly, I’ve got to report my ride ended in disappointment. I didn’t want to stop.

FO R EWO R D 9


Africa is a slap PREFACE

David Houghton

1 0 P R E FAC E


to the senses.

Raw, chaotic and coloUrful, Africa has always challenged us with its intensity. And for the past ten years, the Tour d’Afrique has similarly challenged cyclists. A journey of twelve thousand kilometers, the TDA stretches through ten countries, following a crooked line of dirt, gravel, tarmac and mud, week after week, month upon month. Along the way, riders are exposed to four hundred languages and dialects, the diverse landscapes of Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains, the Okavango Delta, the Sahara and Namib Deserts, as well as a thousand unnamed, unmapped, and often unforgettable points in between. Far more than a test of physical fitness, the Tour d’Afrique is an examination of tenacity, an unflinching audit of resilience and determination. It is a journey where hard-earned wisdom often triumphs over youthful exuberance: Tour d’Afrique riders are an average age of 41. Forty-five riders in their sixties have participated, and the oldest rider - so far, at least - was 70 years of age.

For every participant, the journey is filled with emotions, deeply felt and acutely remembered. In this book I have tried to capture those emotions in the words and images of the riders and crew. I extend my deepest thanks to everyone who contributed, sharing their exalted highs, desperate lows and unforgettable photographs. Ten years ago, Henry Gold didn’t set out to create one of the world’s most unique cycling adventures. He simply set out to start a bicycle company in Africa. But routes diverged along the way, as they often do, and within a decade, the Tour d’Afrique has evolved from a tenuous sojourn across a mysterious continent to the status of legend, respected as one of the world’s epic journeys. Six hundred and sixteen people can now lay claim to participating in this uniquely irrational adventure. It’s likely that each of them now look at the course of their life, as I do, as ‘before Tour d’Afrique’ and ‘after Tour d’Afrique’. Njama safari.

P R E FAC E 1 1


1 2 I N T R O D U CT I O N


INTRODUCTION Henry Gold Founder, Tour d’Afrique

This wonderful book was created to celebrate the tenth running of the most exceptional bicycle adventure on the planet. So how did it all happen? Where did it come from? How do random events eventually take on meaning and contribute to a story that neither I nor anyone else could possibly have dreamed of? I could begin with the tragedy of World War Two, when my parents lost their entire families. This planted the seeds of my lifelong empathy for the weak and the abandoned, which brought me to Africa for the first time in 1984. Or perhaps I could begin with the story of a nine-year-old boy, excited beyond his imagination after coming face to face with Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian runner, in Kosice, Czechoslovakia. Bikila had stunned the sports world a year before at the Rome Olympics and opened the athletic world to hundreds of African champions since. The more practical beginning of the story takes place in the early 1990s when I was the Executive Director of CPAR, Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief. While working in Africa, I saw prematurely old people, mainly women, carrying huge amounts of weight on their backs. Mountain bikes were becoming very popular, and I kept thinking that if someone would only produce a cheap, strong and rugged version for transportation purposes, Africa, like China and India, would be on its way to a better and easier life for many. Little did I

know that in time, due to several coincidences, I would become involved in an attempt to create such a bike, a project that did not take off. But in life, when one door closes, another often opens. Part of the idea of introducing Africa to the bike was to organize a bicycle tour from Cairo to Cape Town. Thus was Tour d’Afrique born, at least conceptually. In 1992, I met Michael de Jong, who was already involved in the bicycle business and had just returned from visiting Africa. He loved the concept of a cycling tour from Cairo to Cape Town, so we started planning it for 1993 or 1994. While in the planning stages, a major terrorist attack was mounted in Egypt. Chaos ensued - and we decided that it would be better to put the project on hold. Life continued and we both got busy. Mike was involved in a serious car accident, and years slipped by. In February of 2002, months after the historic terrorist attack of 9/11, another project of mine was derailed. I had just turned 50. I picked up the phone, called Michael de Jong and said, “What are you doing, because I’m free and I want to do the Cairo to Cape Town. It’s now or never.” His answer was, “Let’s do it.” The rest is history - at least our history. When we first started to plan Tour d’Afrique, we gave ourselves several objectives. Primarily, we wanted to create an ultra challenge, something unique and daring, something

I N T R O D U CT I ON 1 3


1 4 I NT R O D U CT I ON


no one had ever considered doing as a race -- in essence, the Mount Everest of biking. We also wanted to create a race with a different style, perhaps harking back in cycling history to a time when participants were not treated like prima donnas, but were largely self-sufficient. But we also wanted Tour d’Afrique to be a challenge open to non-racers and people of all ages. After all, we reasoned, just cycling Africa - every inch, from top to bottom - was challenge enough. Our secondary objective was advocacy. We believe that bicycles are a valid alternative to the ever-expanding use of automobiles and the damage they inflict: pollution, health problems, urban sprawl, social obstacles, land consumption and resource use. We thought that if we could cross a continent in 100 days, it would show people that they could bike to work half an hour each day - and we would all be better off for it. Another objective was to change the negative perception of Africa in the developed world and thus improve its economic potential. We wanted to open Africa to cyclists and change foreigners’ perspectives. We wanted something good, a dividend, to result from the event, no matter how small. And we also wanted to remind each participant that it is important to give something back to a place we enjoy. Thus did Tour d’Afrique Foundation, which donates bikes to health care professionals and promotes the use of bicycles come into being, helping to catalyze other fundraising causes and ventures in Africa. Looking back, it seems to me that our experimental ‘social enterprise’ has accomplished more than we had hoped would happen. I only need to listen to former participants to get a great sense of satisfaction. But I think what is more important is what this journey has given me and the many others who have participated. The long riding days across Africa enriched me beyond anything I could have imagined. The intimate feeling of getting to know the land, the way one can only when he or she uses their muscles to cover it, the intimate emotions one feels when one breathes and smells the places where all humanity began, the

sense of camaraderie with others that have made the trip, the wonderful people we have met on the way, the beauty of the spaces through which we have traveled: these are all feelings that I now carry in my soul, emotions that connect me to a time in my life well spent. I may have created Tour d’Afrique, but in reality, it has created me. It has made me a much better and much happier human being. I hope that everyone who has participated feels the same. As the Founder of Tour d’Afrique Ltd., it is my privilege to thank all of the people who have made this book possible, including David Houghton for putting this project together, and our intrepid company’s full-time staff: Michael Coo, Theresa Brown, Shanny Hill, Miles Macdonald, Brian Hoeniger, Sharita van Merwe, Cristiano Werneck, and Paul McManus. I also would like to thank the many, many contributors to the book’s content, and all of the tour support staff that we have hired over the years who have helped to make the tour such a great success. Our trucking partners, African Routes and Indaba, and their staff, also deserve recognition for their critical ability to ensure that the tour has run well and on schedule. Lastly, and above all, I want to congratulate the hundreds of participants who have had the courage to undertake the endeavor we call Tour d’Afrique. I thank you all.

I N T R O D U CT I ON 1 5


I hear there’s a clique Of riders who seek Roads long and rough For those who are tough Riders of the Tour d’Afrique ERNST ENNS


DISCOVERY


We are blessed to be here, humbled and inspired by this place. TIM PADMORE

Not only does everyone have to get to know their new family of fifty people. But they must allow time to adjust their bodies to this new lifestyle of riding huge distances and then sleeping on the ground. But sleep is often disturbed by the Symphony of Tent City (neighbours coughing, snoring, farting, deflating, unpegging, red-boxing and the odd desperate attempt of unzipping to get out of the tent before the gastrointestinal issues get the best of them), plus there is the background noise of dogs, roosters, donkeys, traffic with stupid horns and my personal favourite - the sunrise prayers! RANDY PIELSTICKER

I have found myself riding along savouring the moments with tears of joy and gratitude as I feel so privileged to be alive and feel so alive! The children move me as I feel how hungry they are for acknowledgement with a smile, a wave, kind words or a touch of the hand as we ride past. JAMES D. BROWN

D I S COV E RY 2 1


A lot of people have asked me why I like to ride a bike and travel, and particularly why I would ride a bike in Africa, particularly when riding a bike here is so difficult and at times painfully uncomfortable. The truth is that riding a bike anywhere gives incredible insight and perspective to a place and its people and culture. Further, the slow, gradual environmental changes one witnesses on a bike can be matched by no other form of transportation. How do I explain the daily routines of cycling through the African continent, the trials and tribulations, the countless joys and triumphs, the thousand things I see and hear, feel and smell, everyday, all of which leave some impression upon me? There is so much that could be said, a thousand little things that add up to a day in Africa. MONTY ORR

2 2 D I S COV E RY


The first hour of cycling is always my favourite. Empty roads, the cool of the dawn, the freshness of my legs. I can only hear the brush of my tires on the tarmac and the wind past my ears. HELEN COONEY


Africa seeps in and works her magic on the hearts of even the most resistant. JAMES D. BROWN

Africa during the daytime is a lethargic place, stifled by the sloth-inducing heat and humidity. The pace is slow and the energy level only begins to rise as the sun begins to set and cooler weather prevails. In the bush, the night takes on a different atmosphere and comes alive with the rhythm of Africa: hyena woops, donkey brays, cows moo, dogs bark and howl, villagers talk loudly, shout or sing, birds, insects, and on a few occasions, you can even hear the distant thumping of drums. DANNY GOLD

On the side of the road, a barefoot Maasai warrior tends a herd of goats with a spear. As we come closer, I see he is talking on a cell phone. LEAH MCLAREN

2 6 D I S COV E RY


It is the most wonderful thing getting up in the morning knowing that the only thing you have to do this day is get in the saddle and cycle. LEANA NIEMAND


There is beauty in the desert. It is a still, quiet kind of beauty and one easily missed. MONTY ORR

With no electricity, never mind lights, for 300 kilometers in all directions, the sky was magnificent. I would lie looking up, each star a pinprick of light in the pristine skies. Every once in a while a shooting star caught my eye and I followed it for its brief life. Sometimes when camping under a black velvet sky pinpricked with starlight, you ask some big questions and seem to understand them a bit better. But eventually you become aware of the smell of your unwashed body, the throbbing of your aching muscles and the clawing cold of night, which reconnects you to your mortality. MICHAEL KENNEDY

Each time we cross a border it amazes me as to how different things are when you have only crossed a river or a line that doesn’t really exist. MARK KNIGHT

3 0 D I S COV E RY


Each day is an adventure, and a great unknown. What one sees, hears, feels, touches and smells, all of it is unknown in the morning, but something savored by evening. MONTY ORR


I observe the bodies growing strong and the motivations growing wide. ERIN LEMPRIERE

On our second night in Malawi we stayed at Chitimba Beach, and truly rested on our one rest day there. This rest was necessary after seven long days of riding to get there, and a killer party the night (and early morning) after we arrived. Things got vague, of course, but I remember clearly enough: a dozen of us on the beach not far from the gentle rocking of the water, a distant storm in the night sky with flashes of lightning, the sky above us was clear with thousands of stars shining brightly, a gentle breeze, sand in my teeth, booze, and good times. It was the kind of night where everything seemed within our reach, we were all capable of everything, we were strong and fit, we loved each other, and we were sharing what could be one of the greatest experiences on the planet. MONTY ORR

In the middle of the Kenyan desert, we ran into an Austrian gentleman on a recumbent bicycle who, when asked where he was headed, vaguely replied, “North, and by the way, do you have any water?� MICHAEL COO

D I S COV E RY 3 5


What keeps Africa running is ingenuity. Most things we rely on are in short supply: money, tools, labour-saving technology, formal rules and effective central administration. The most primitive technology is skilfully used. Fragments of the modern world are recycled in clever ways. TIM PADMORE

3 6 D I S COV E RY


We have become a living organism that is moving south across the continent. TORI FAHEY

D I S COV E RY 3 9


The only clue that a world exists outside the hut village you’re in is the Coca-Cola signs. DANNY GOLD

I have become a devotee of the bike as a universal means of transport. We saw bikes used for carrying all manner of items, from huge sacks of charcoal to live animals, from stacks of fresh eggs to churns of milk. It still amazes me how much punishment our bikes were able to take. Except in a few cases, those bikes carried us over the severest of terrain, covering a continent - without needing much more than a little loving care when we felt able. A true friend and companion. ERIC OLVERSON

The overall journey is challenging and inspiring, full of stories. Each country is like a puzzle piece, and without each piece it couldn’t be the Tour d’Afrique. SHANNY HILL

4 0 D I S COV E RY


The road climbed through villages where the populace were dressed for church as it was Sunday. I stopped at one point outside a church where the congregation had spilled out onto the grass and sang with such joy and rhythm it was impossible not to be moved. They celebrated in a natural cathedral showing me, with a cynical view of the staid religion in the west, what real devotion was. Two hundred kilometers from a paved road I had one of those surreal African experiences. In the distance I saw a cloud of dust and a white stretch Cadillac limousine, complete with dark mirrored windows, bouncing and rattling down the road past me. Why was it there? Who knows? It rivals another priceless moment, when I saw a donkey pulling a cart with a satellite dish on it. Africa is full of these sharp contrasts. MICHAEL KENNEDY

4 2 D I S COV E RY


The spiky fingers of tree branches pierce deep into the belly of the liquid-gold setting sun and by nine all the lights are out. THERESA BROWN


HUMANITY


Forget the otherworldly landscapes and the wild animals, what really captured the essence of Africa was the people. DANNY GOLD

Whether by design or by accident, Tour d’Afrique participants find themselves wearing not only the cycling helmet but the hat of ambassador as well. The 11,000 kilometers are only a small part of what this tour is about. This tour is about bridging cultures. It is about growth and it is about strength. YVONNE DENNIS

What we have found in Sudan has been the polar opposite of what we are told about this nation by CNN. Expecting men with guns and harsh stares, we were greeted rather by wide smiles, handshakes and invitations for tea. Erik Dobrovolsky

H UMA N I TY 49


Some locals look at us and laugh. They’re lounging in their cool adobe huts wondering why the hell all these white people are trying to ride their bikes across the desert. RANDY PIELSTICKER

5 0 H UMA NI TY


You can’t help but feel happy when a young boy perched atop a donkey shouts, “I love you!” from a muddy river bank as you pedal by. ALLISON BARNES

The true highlight of my day came when we took a detour onto a local trail which led through bush lined with thorny trees and deep sand. Eventually it led us through a group of houses. From the houses, residents quickly emerged to cheer us through. After a few dead ends, we managed to find our way back to the route and the finish flag waited for us shortly after. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to take the road less travelled. LUKE McMURPHY

The feeling of being watched – not furtively, but openly and unashamedly stared at – reverses the notion of spectator and spectacle, tourist and attraction. LEAH MCLAREN

H UMA N I TY 5 7


I

n ancient mythology the humorous drunk was a figure to be laughed at, yet revered for his momentary words of wisdom. Though unaware of his faults it was his transparent judgment that made him a man of many words, some of which could hit home. Today I met the mythological drunk five kilometers from camp. I was sprawled out on the side of the road in the shade of a tree, a long cloud floating above me. As I stared at this cloud I had a vision. In this cloud, I could see something beautiful; the long wispy lines and delicate text of a cold Coke bottle. In this state of near bliss, I heard him, the mythological drunk. He approached me with the fiery passion only a drunk can have when he feels he has something important to say. He started trying to ask where I was going and why I was riding my bike. What came out was a spewing of slanted English words and a drunken slur. Still trying to gaze into my quickly disappearing vision of a bottle of Coke, I humoured the man with a few answers from my quickly dissipating reserves of patience. Out of his state of desperation for a friendly ear, this lowly drunk struck me with four words of wisdom that would ultimately carry me the final five kilometers to camp: “Just do your best.� With a gap-toothed grin and a repetition of that statement, I found my way back on my bike and pedaling towards camp. BUCKY BEYER H UMA N I TY 6 1


My bike is hungry for the road, my mind for the experience and my soul for the revelation that is Africa. ELAINE MORWOOD

6 4 H UMA NI TY


deep down inside I envy theSE PEOPLE for their simplicity. They work hard, but they are truly free. RANDY PIELSTICKER

For a couple of weeks now, I had noticed a lot of the locals shouting out what sounded to me like ‘baboon’ when I passed, often accompanied by a laugh or chuckle. Had I deteriorated so much? It didn’t seem to be happening to anyone else in the group, so I decided to ask Ali, a native Kenyan who was one of our drivers, what he thought. He told me what they were shouting was the Swahili word ‘Babu’, a greeting expressing love, affection and respect to a grandfather figure. Groups of children had also been shouting out to us “Good morning, teacher,” to which some of the female riders had got in the habit of replying with “Good morning, students.” It was beautiful to hear. ERIC OLVERSON

I’ve never ridden through more inhospitable terrain, nor met more hospitable people. SARAH BADGEROW

H UMA N I TY 67


Our greatest potential handicap is either having too little or having too much. ERNST ENNS

I had a drink with a local schoolmaster who had four kids of his own and had adopted two others. AIDS had made many orphans. He grew tobacco to supplement his income but still did not have enough money to educate all his children. What a horrendous choice - to pick which child gets educated - especially for a teacher. There are a lot of hard decisions to be made in Africa. MICHAEL KENNEDY

In the middle of nowhere, we walked over to a collection of huts set in obvious drought conditions, filled with people who had, in the real sense of the word, nothing. Even then, the people sat us down and served us coffee and bread. MICHAEL COO

6 8 H UMA N I TY


CHALLENGE


It was the best of roads, it was the worst of roads depending on which riders you ask. YVONNE DENNIS

Our camp that night is like a scene from the depths of Hades. A couple of mounds of volcanic boulders surrounded by more boulders and rocks with puff-adder snakes thrown in for good measure. Now here’s the odd part: I’m in a fantastic mood throughout this whole thing. Everybody else pretty much agrees that this was the worst road we’ve been on and I would agree. But nevertheless, I’m feeling great. COLIN BIGGIN

I started out in the morning with my head in the wrong gear. I told myself it was going to be an easy day and that is the number one thing you do not do on this trip. Every day is difficult. DAVE ATLEE

C H A L L EN G E 73


In the Dida Galgalu desert of Northern Kenya, a rider who had done the tour before told us not to worry; the southern section is much easier. He was wrong. Again in Zambia similar words were spoken. Let me set the record straight. Those enlightened souls were wrong. Dead wrong. No part of this tour is easy, no country is a walk in the park. Erik Dobrovolsky

76 C H A L L ENG E


M

ost TDA participantS start in Cairo and hope to go all the way to the end in Cape Town. This tough bunch can say they have crossed the entire continent. There is another, smaller contingent on the tour each year who either believe they could not endure four months in the saddle or are unable to, because of family and work commitments that allow them to stay for just a matter of weeks at a time. These are known as the sectional riders, and they quickly have to catch up to the pace of the tour, and the routines that the rest have become accustomed to. It can sometimes be difficult for the sectionally challenged to wake up so early, pack the tent, find their plate and cup, get some breakfast, fill their water bottles, pump their tires, put on sunscreen, put their gear away in their locker, copy down directions, get on their bike all before 7:30 am and then ride between 140 and 170 kilometers, only to unpack and set up all over again. For the sectionally challenged, it’s never easy and just as they start to figure out their routines, and just as we get to know them a little better, they are gone. A fresh group takes their place, and the challenges start again. SHANNY HILL C H A L L EN G E 79


You money. You money. I have visions that big caravans have come through before us and handed out stacks of money. TORI FAHEY

We had all been warned beforehand that the children are a handful, but before today we hadn’t fully borne the brunt of their energy or their enterprise. Shortly after lunch the ambushes started; riders were pummelled with rocks, hit with sticks and constantly accosted for money. During one particularly difficult uphill climb I was surrounded by a group of about 20, despite my best efforts to win them to my side by answering all their questions about my name, destination, country of origin, blood type, Social Insurance Number, whether I wore boxers or briefs (briefs, by the way), and whether I was so inclined to give them all the money I had. Erik Dobrovolsky

Near midnight, in the lights of one of the trucks, we get our first off-road experience, a rough half-hour ride through sand to our campsite. Less experienced riders struggle, fall, and struggle on. It is a good introduction to the days of riding ahead of us. TIM PADMORE

80 CHALLENGE


T

he day dawned warm, warmer than the previous, like every day so far. Shortly after the sun was fully in the sky I started off. We rode as a pack for the first 3km while the road was mercifully paved. Soon enough the reality of Sudanese roads reared its ugly head. Enormous ruts sucked my tires into their depths, corrugations threatened to shake the fillings out of my mouth and pits of sand reduced travel to a humbling grovel. All was going well for the first part of the morning. The

riding was challenging but I was feeling good. After 55 km the desire to reach the 60km mark and the welcome sight of the lunch truck began to dominate my thoughts. Riding with Tom, we joked back and forth and talked of our desire to sit in the shade and have a cold drink. We came upon a fork in the road. Logic steered us towards the right and our navigational handrail of the Nile. We passed through one town, then another, and it started to become more and more obvious that we had in fact made a wrong turn. We talked to the locals, or as


best we could with our few words in Arabic and their fewer in English. They seemed to keep pointing us in the direction we were going – so on we went. After clearing the series of towns and getting back on the main-ish road, my odometer read 70km and my thermometer read 41c. We had obviously missed the lunch truck – we were on our own, lost somewhere in the Nubian Desert. We had about half a bottle between us and a few energy bars to count as lunch. We passed by one town and searched for a drink of water, but none was to be found.

Just when the dark clouds of worry started to enter our collective thoughts, a mirage of riders on the horizon started to approach us. Like an apparition, our comrades were never a more welcome sight. They happily shared water, snacks and sandwiches. The rest of the day was comparatively uneventful – we stopped in the next town and skulled 7-Ups like we were being paid to do it. Camp arrived 10km later and the welcome completion to the hardest day of the tour - so far. Scott Kennedy


I

was flying along when I discovered that there was a bit of a cock-up with the instructions for the day. Everyone thought we were supposed to go right at a fork in the road when we were really supposed to go left. This meant that all the really fast racers who are always way ahead of me had gone the wrong way. They had already learned of the mistake and were turning around to go the correct way. Since I’m slower than them, I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to go the wrong way. Suddenly, I think I’m in the lead, and I’m feeling strong. Maybe today is the day for that stage win that I had largely resigned myself to never seeing. Since there’s a lot of free time to daydream when riding long distances, I began to think about my upcoming win. I’m not even halfway to lunch yet and already I’m counting my chickens. I figured I’d need to skip lunch to even stand a chance of doing this. “I’m too sexy for lunch!”, that’s what I’ll yell as I barrel by. The road is a miserable dirt and gravel nightmare, but that’s why I got the mountain bike. Occasionally there’s a nice little singletrack beside the road. Whenever possible, I hop on and start really moving. In addition to being easier to ride on it’s also cooler. I get to go into the little villages we pass by, sometimes a little too closely. I feel like I’m about to ride into someone’s house every now and again. The one drawback to riding the singletrack is the thorns. Inch-long daggers that can find the weak spot in any tire line the sides of the track. Big surprise, I wind up with a flat. While I’m fixing it, people start passing me. I get the front tire back on, only to discover that the rear one also has a puncture. So I take that one off and discover that it has three holes in it (how the hell did it not go flat first?) I put three patches on it, and by now most of the people riding have passed me. Guess what, the front one is flat again. Any thoughts of finishing in the top 20 are out the window. I put two more patches on the front tire and think I’m ready to go.

8 6 C H A L L EN G E

I’m riding along, about 2 kilometers till lunch, when the back tire goes flat once again. Maybe I can get DFL (dead fuckin’ last) instead. I decide to just walk my bike the rest of the way to lunch, eat some food, and then deal with my latest problem. At lunch, my friend Cat is telling me she won’t be riding the rest of the day. Since I ran outta spare tubes ages ago, and getting my bike back in working order seems virtually impossible, we agree to swap bikes. Cat’s bike is like riding a big fluffy tank. It’s got a big cushy seat, 29er wheels, ergonomic handgrips (with aerobars), and I’m pretty certain there’s a pillow for your head somewhere. It also weighs roughly a ton, the trunk (of course there’s a trunk) has everything in it I could possibly need, and quite a few things I can’t even figure out a use for, but might come in handy. So I head out, determined to finish the day. All thoughts of racing are gone, especially since the really fast racers are probably already in camp. I’m riding along on a singletrack that seems really awesome, it’s clear of thorns and smooth as can be. It does seem to be getting further and further from the road, though. I keep going on it. I’m making great time, who cares if I don’t know where I’m going. The track takes me through cornfields, sunflower patches and villages. It’s beautiful. Then midway through another cornfield, it abruptly ends. It has to continue on the other side of the field, why wouldn’t it? So I pick my way through and around the corn to the end of the patch. The path is nowhere to be seen, but I know roughly where the road is, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to connect back up with it. The idea of backtracking to where my singletrack ended doesn’t even enter my mind. The only logical way to go is forward, the fact that there’s no longer a path is just a minor hindrance. I am now walking Cat’s bike through fields of wildflowers and melon patches. That’s when I come to my first impenetrable thorn bush. It seems to continue for a good 100 yards in either direction. No problem, I know which way the road is


supposed to be, I should be able to go in roughly that direction and get around this. I do eventually get around it, but then find another one to deal with. It looks like I’m going to have to climb over the impenetrable thorn bush (ITB). If someone ever recommends that you climb over an ITB, punch them in the nose, because it’s an insanely bad idea. Especially if you are pushing the heaviest bike known to man. Now I’m bleeding profusely, but I’m on the other side of the ITB, should be smooth sailing back to the road. I walk a ways further, through another sunflower patch, and there’s giant thorn trees to deal with. I manage, after several tries, to get around them, only to discover yet more ITBs. I’m starting to get a little nervous now. I still know where the road should be, but how one gets to it is beginning to worry me. Also getting back to my nice, easy singletrack no longer seems like a possibility. So I wander some more, looking for some way through and discover bike tracks. I follow them for a while till I realize that they’re my tracks and I’m going in circles. Fuck! I am truly beginning to freak out a bit now. I’m not getting out of this one without some assistance. I shout ‘Jambo!’ at the top of my lungs. Jambo is Swahili for hello (it’s also just a wonderful thing to shout, next time you’re lost I would highly recommend giving it a try; you’ll still be lost, but you’ll feel much better). I yell it a few more times while wandering before I hear a very faint jambo in reply. I run through thickets and over brambles in my haste to see another human. I find a farmer, my saviour, and ask him if he knows where the road is. He doesn’t speak any English and I’ve exhausted my supply of Swahili with my greeting. In a horrendously bad game of charades I try to make him understand that I’m lost and need to find the road. I was mistaken - he does know one word in English, “Money!” “Sure, I’ll pay you when we get to the road.” And we’re off. He races through tiny paths that I never would have no-

ticed on my own while I struggle to keep up, pushing Cat’s bike. Eventually he realizes that I’m lagging behind, and he pushes the bike. I’m still having a hard time keeping up. What do they put in the water here to make guys so fast? I follow him through three different cornfields, a wildflower field or two, and a sunflower patch before we get to a village. My guide shouts out something in Swahili which I think roughly translates as, “Look at the idiot I found in my cornfield!” All the people in town dutifully come out of their homes to stare at me. With a rather sheepish grin I wave at them. We go through two more small villages and repeat the process. Any time I try to engage my hero in conversation he looks at me for a while before repeating his entire repertoire of English, “money”. Apparently chit-chat costs extra. We walk for nearly an hour before arriving at the road. I’m not certain if it actually should have taken that long or if he figured that I would pay more for a longer trip. Either way I gladly pay him, and I’m even tempted to kiss him - or the road. I can’t figure out which I’ll catch nastier diseases from, so I elect to keep my lips to myself. I bid my guide a fond farewell and ride off. I come to a town a ways up the road and see Knut, Hilda, and Gerald at a Coke store. I enjoy a Mirinda while telling them of my morning’s debacle. They’ve also had problems with flats which is why they’re so far behind everyone else. They thought they were the last people of the day and were quite surprised to see me pull up. We ride off to camp together and get there without too much more difficulty. I finally pull in at 4:30, several hours after most people have arrived (there was a time this morning that I actually thought I might win today). Now all I have to do is: fix my bike, set up my tent, tend to my wounds, and eat dinner. All so I can do something incredibly similar tomorrow. Why did I decide to ride across Africa again? DAVE ARMAN

C H A L L EN G E 8 7


I don’t know if it helps with the visualization, but our Tour Director described this section as “Ass Pounding Corrugation.” ANNALISE THOMPSON


in the desert, it is virtually impossible not to get sand in everything that you own. STEVEN TOPHAM

As to our cycling the roads of Africa, we were left in no doubt as to where we came on the scale of importance. Bottom. African drivers see cyclists as an unwanted nuisance. They will not give you space, it is up to you to get out of the way. Although this proved not to always be the case, it was an excellent rule of thumb that alerted us to the very real dangers that lorries in particular represented. Our motto was to be: in Africa, expect the unexpected. Unfortunately, expecting is easier than avoiding. ERIC OLVERSON

The thorns were everywhere. Small ones like tacks. Big ones like nails. After my tenth puncture, I stopped taking my wheel off and just nursed the slow leaks. TORI FAHEY

CHALLENGE 91


It’s a strange thing to fall in love with a country. It’s like falling in love with a woman. It sweeps one in a completely unexpected manner, unpredicted and for the most part against all odds. It can happen in the oddest places, under the most trying conditions and defy everyone else’s expectations. That is what happened to me today in Ethiopia. And today was a day when many people were seriously questioning why they even came on an expedition like this. It has been posited that it is through our greatest hardships that we form a bond that transcends logical description, a bond stronger than words can ever hope to codify. Perhaps that is the best explanation for why today I fell in love with a country that tortured me from daybreak to sunset. Or maybe I just have Stockholm Syndrome. Erik Dobrovolsky


ThIS TOUR IS NEVER THE SAME TWICE. RANDY PIELSTICKER

I was awoken in the middle of the night by a weird yelling in the tent next to mine. It turned out that a bush pig, a tusked animal about the size of a collie, had tried to break into a woman’s tent. She actually had to punch it in the nose a couple of times to make it go away. For some reason, all of us who had got up to see what was going on broke into uncontrollable giggles, including the victim herself. MICHAEL COO

This is still a very difficult expedition. Though we may now have almost full cell phone access, Twitter and other new technologies, the basic challenges of crossing the African continent remain unchanged. It is an adventure every day from the first to the last. HENRY GOLD

C H A L L EN G E 97


By the time we reached the tarmac just outside of Iringa I got off my bike and kissed the ground, Pope-style. I had looked forward to this moment for a long time. MICHAEL KENNEDY

1 0 0 C H A L L EN G E


HUNGER


THIS ISN’T LIKE ANY BICYCLE RACE I’VE EVER HEARD of. SOMETIMES IT FEELS LIKE I’m part of an eating competition. TORI FAHEY

The Sudanese showed up at our campsite in the evening complete with a couple of live baby lambs. After they’d showed the lambs all around and been good hosts by proving that the lambs were healthy and could run and jump pleasingly, they planned to slit their throats before our eyes and present the still-bleeding carcasses to us for us to dress, clean and cook. You can imagine how that went over. There’s no way any of us could have handled that, so we had to explain to our hosts that we would have loved to have taken advantage of their hospitality but if we didn’t get the lambs killed until the evening there was no way that we could cook them in time to go to bed at our usual early hour. The Sudanese accepted the wisdom of that position and instead provided us with some scrawny (but cooked) chickens. RANDY PIELSTICKER

The poor hotel didn’t know what hit them. Their buffet was picked clean by the locusts of the Tour d’Afrique and then we started on the bar! MICHAEL KENNEDY

HUNGER 105


Top 7 Ways to Piss off the Kitchen Crew: 1. Sit in the kitchen. If you ever find yourself asking us, “Am I in your way here?,” the answer is yes. 2. Ask “What’s for dinner?” 3. Leave your bicycle anywhere near the kitchen. 4. Ask “Where’s the soup?” The soup is in the same pot every day. That pot is in the same spot every day. Try to memorize that spot. 5. Ask “Is the soup ready yet?” If the soup pot isn’t in the soup spot, it’s not ready yet. 6. Ask us questions regarding bicycles. Our favourite: “Do you know where the good bike pump is?” We don’t ride bikes. We don’t touch bike pumps. We have no idea what the good bike pump looks like. 7. Leave your dish kit lying around the kitchen. I’m sorry. I haven’t seen your spoon. The next time I see your mug I’m throwing it in the bush. But fear not. It’s not all piss and vinegar on this side of the stove. Remember that guy who got that nice chunk of chicken? He got a choice cut yesterday too. If you’re looking for a more generous scoop tomorrow, here are a few simple and surefire tips. 1. Help out in the kitchen. (A) Peel garlic: we all love the stuff. But if you think we’re gonna spend all day peeling for a group of 80 you’re sadly mistaken. (B) Mix milk: mixing milk is not something that gets more fun with time. We’re a little over it, to be honest. (C) Chop onions, scrub potatoes, ‘tip and tail’ beans — it’s not all glory jobs in this kitchen. In fact, there’s no shortage of menial tasks. Help is always welcome. 2. Do a good job when your turn for dish duty arrives. Don’t whine. 3. Say thanks. 4. Buy us a beer. JAMES MCKERRICHER

1 0 6 H UN G E R


No, that isn’t the hand towel they’re eating. It’s injera, the fermented crepe-like flatbread that is the staple food of Ethiopia. Ground teff is mixed with water and allowed to ferment for several days. The resulting batter is then poured onto a traditional clay plate which is placed over a fire. When food is ordered from an Ethiopian restaurant, it almost invariably arrives served on a large piece of injera. The basic process is to tear off pieces of the bread, then use these pieces to grab bits of food. When all the bits are eaten, you eat the injera, which has soaked up the delicious juices. It is considered polite to feed your friends the best bits; the bigger the bit, the better the friend. JAMES MCKERRICHER 1 0 8 H UN G E R


“What is the local specialty?� should be in the phrase book of any adventurous traveler. To experience the food is to experience the culture. James McKerricher

110 HUNGER


For lunch, I ate 14 rounds of bread with tuna and tomato, then peanut butter and syrup, followed by a banana. I could have eaten more. ERIC OLVERSON

Regardless of wealth or social class, the central focus of Zambia’s diet is nshima, which permeates deep into the cultural pulse of the population. More than just white lumps of bland, tastebud-shunning maize meal, nshima plays a role in the folklore, rituals, hospitality and social customs of the country. There are up to 20 different terms for nshima, depending on temperature, texture, colour, who cooked it, how it was cooked, etc., etc. There’s even a term for nshima left over from the night before, nshima ya cimbala, which men are advised not to eat, since it is believed to cause weakness of the joints and to usurp sexual prowess! ALLISON BARNES

Before dinner, the cooks auctioned off a bag full of lost and found items. It was pretty funny to see how much people were willing to pay to get their own dishes back. TORI FAHEY

HUNGER 113


LEGS ARE SORE, BELLIES ARE FULL AND SPIRITS ARE HIGH. ALLISON BARNES


While Ethiopia may be the birthplace of humanity, it is more important to note that we have Ethiopia to thank for coffee. JAMES MCKERRICHER

Some of you may have a difficult time enjoying foods outside of your usual repertoire, especially those of animal origin. But for those with a more adventuresome palate, Malawi has just what the doctor ordered! Kapuku are a breed of field mice that grow plump on maize and other crops. The ‘original recipe’ is simple: boil the mice, salt them, then cook over a fire until nearly bone dry. Young men and boys do most of the hunting; batches are strung onto long mouse ka-bob sticks and sold in markets and roadside stalls. Kapuku are known for their rather detrimental distinguishing behavioural feature – they hide out in groups of 25 to 50 in a single hole, making them the favourite jackpot for hunters. ALLISON BARNES

Dan ordered eggs and toast, with a side of seven eggs. I think that’s a sign that our eating habits have stretched beyond the realm of ‘normal’. TORI FAHEY

1 1 6 H UN G E R


T

he Mopani or Mopane Worm is not really a worm but a caterpillar, which lays its eggs on the leaves of the Mopane tree; if given the chance, it will grow into the attractive Emperor moth. They are hand harvested in the wild using the pick/squeeze/toss method: pick the largest ones from the Mopane tree, squeeze them like a tube of toothpaste to rupture the innards and expel the bright yellow-green contents of the gut in a slimy pop, and toss them into a bucket. The worms are then boiled in salty water and sun-dried. Mopane worms play a vital role in the booming edible insect trade. As a food source, these plump caterpillars are a body-builder’s dream: less fat than an egg and nearly three times the protein content of beef! Depending on who you ask, their flavour profile ranges from, “not bad when fresh, but when stale like a cheesie, but without the cheese or the flavour,” to “very earthy and rock-like,” or “like eating dried wood,” and finally, “tastes like a dog biscuit.” You’ll just have to try one for yourself to decide. ALLISON BARNES H U N G E R 1 17


Malaysian Spiced Chicken on rice with purple cabbage coleslaw, serves 60: 1. Mix together 80 pieces of freshly butchered chicken with coriander, cumin, tumeric, paprika, and cloves. 2. Separately mix water, vinegar, sugar, pineapple, corn flour, and set aside. 3. Stir-fry ginger, garlic, onion, red peppers, lemon. Add chicken stir-fry until no longer pink inside, and nicely browned on the outside. 4. Separately make a smaller portion of Malaysian Spiced Chick Peas for the vegetarians. 5. Pour in the sauce you made in step 2. Cook on low for 20 minutes. Set aside until dinner time. 6. Cook 20 kg of rice, so that it finishes just in time for dinner. 7. Once the pre-dinner rider meeting is called, put the Spiced Chicken / Chick Peas back on the heat in anticipation of dinner (rider meetings are generally 15 min. before dinner). 8. Set out the massive pots, find some big spoons and start serving. ALLISON BARNES

H U N G E R 1 19


I eat huge amounts. I’m just amazed that it’s possible to eat this amount yet I’m actually losing weight. ALLAN BENN

We jam as much food as possible into our bodies before sunrise. Then we use our bicycles, to help our bodies make space for more food, often stopping halfway for ‘lunch’, which is a bit more like second breakfast since it is usually mid-morning. We eat again at camp, often alternating solid food with pop to wash things down. Those of us who had the foresight to buy snacks on our rest day have a strategic advantage in this round. Then it is nap time; gotta let the body digest before the next round. Dinner is the best and most elaborate meal of the day on riding days. I eat most of my dinners from my one litre dish, my ‘trough’. Fully loaded (heaping), this thing can hold more than a kilo and a half of food. If dinner comprises about 30 - 40% of my consumption for the day, that would suggest that I’m throwing back 4 kilograms of food each day that I ride (possibly more on my days off when my hands and mouth are unobstructed). That’s before considering calorie-loaded beverages. I ate so much at dinner that it probably could have fed a regular family of four. TORI FAHEY

Rick and Jenn consume a hamburger and fries, a chicken burrito with rice and beans, a plate of quesadillas, a chocolate sundae, apple cake and ice cream, and two Cokes. Rick informs me that he has lost 10 kilos on the trip so far. LEAH McLAREN

1 2 0 H UN G E R


CONFLICT


The children were insufferable. THEY threw rocks, used whips and tried to pull riders off their bikes. And those were the well-behaved kids! CHARLES GILES

Within our time in Ethiopia many cyclists have experienced the peculiarity of having stones thrown at them by children. Bizarre in one right, explainable in another. Occasionally the gap between wealthy tourist and half-naked child brings such a degree of miscomprehension that stupidity ensues. Though the purpose of traveling by bicycle is to slow down and step beyond the doors of a Toyota Landcruiser; it is still too quick a mode of transportation to bridge the distance in understanding. Days, weeks or even years are necessary for a foreigner to understand the intricacies and beauties of this culture. Let’s hope a few stones don’t deter any curious souls from riding a bicycle here, or from taking the time to learn. MILES MACDONALD

No bruises from child-propelled missiles, but my arm aches from all that waving, and I seem to have sunburn on my gums. DAVID ELSE

CO N F L I CT 1 25


“Sir, I am sorry to tell you that the children have taken the bulbs from your vehicle,” says the headman of the village. ”What?” I exclaim. “What bulbs?” Walking around the crowd of Malawian kids and adults gathered in our bush camp I look at the back of our support vehicle. Sure enough, from the bottom of the two rear brake lights are dangling two sets of bare wires. I couldn’t believe it. One of the few dozen kids hanging around our campsite had reached underneath the bumper, unscrewed the bulbs and taken out the connecting wires. Astonished, I turn to the headman to give him a stern talking to, but he interrupts me and says: “Sir, you requested security from 5 pm, it is only 4 pm, so this is not our fault!” PAUL MCMANUS

1 2 6 CONF L I CT


When you are camping with the same people for several months and can hear every conversation, every movement, every fart, it’s nice to have a bit of personal space. TORI FAHEY


We were given a sheet of paper, to help us if we got lost. The paper said, in Sudanese: ‘Have you seen any foreigner cyclist? Can you tell me which way they went?’ Well, I did get lost one day and showed this to a local who beamed and confidently pointed me in what turned out to be the wrong direction. Eventually I realized this and turned back, and when I retraced my steps the man was still there. It turned out he spoke quite good English. I asked him why he had sent me that way. He said there had been some foreign cyclists. One was two weeks ago and one seven months ago! MICHAEL KENNEDY

1 3 0 CO N F L I CT


THIS TOUR IS MADE UP OF 96 DAYS OF RIDING. BY ABOUT DAY 60, MY BIKE AND I GOT REALLY BORED OF EACH OTHER. ANNALISE THOMPSON

Ethiopia. Three weeks in a country filled with a chaotic, uncontrollable energy, some good, some bad. Three weeks of people running at you from all sides, frantically, even desperately screaming at you. Screaming things like “where are you go”, “You, you, you, you, you”, “give me birr” and “give me money”, screaming, laughing and dancing as you cycle past. Add to this kids throwing rocks at you, or pretending to throw rocks at you and chasing you and trying to grab things off your bike. After two weeks of this with frayed nerves and temper shortened, thoughts of violent retaliations slowly begin to creep into your brain. CHRIS VAN WANING

Put a bunch of intense, competitive, goal-oriented endurance riders in the African bush for a couple of months and what do you get? A whole lot of conflict, gossip and drama – and some fantastic dirty jokes. LEAH MCLAREN

CO N F L I CT 1 3 3


Our gang of people with fancy bikes, combined with a couple of large overland support trucks inevitably catches some attention as we travel through poverty-stricken countries. This is especially true when we camp in the more remote areas where tourists don’t normally bother to stop. Typically, this has led to crowds gathering like an audience to watch us go about our daily business; erecting tents, eating, napping. And, from time to time we encounter ‘petty’ theft overnight, even when we hire local security to keep an eye out. Bike shoes left in tent vestibules have been a popular target (rather unfortunate, given that they would be considerably less valuable to someone who didn’t have the matching pedals). Last night, the target was something a little bit more spectacular. When the ground conditions are suitable, we drill holes in the ground and put up two tent-like shelters that function as temporary toilets. This morning, we woke up with only one. This is the first time that I have heard of someone stealing a toilet. But then, this is Africa and I have experienced a lot of firsts here. TORI FAHEY


I

fell asleep with a full heart and fuller belly under the stars, comfortable and peaceful in my tent. A few hours later, I woke up to the unsettling sensation that something was crawling up my arm. This is never a pleasant realization in Africa, so I decided to give it a flick and keep my headlamp off. A few minutes later, it sounded like it was raining . . . under my tent, and I felt something crawling up my other arm. I reluctantly turned on my headlamp and gasped in utter horror at the sight of hundreds of ants crawling up, down and around every part of the inside of my tent. I jumped out of the tent and put on my shoes, only to find that they too were full of biting, stinging ants that started crawling up my legs and latched on harder as I tried to flick them off. I hopped around in my underwear yelping at 2am (a generally common occurrence, unfortunately, for various reasons), flicking off fire ants for about ten minutes, before deciding what to do about the more serious tent situation. Armed with a headlamp, DEET bugspray and a book, I waged World War Three on the Zambian ant army for the rest of the night. I vaguely noticed a few other lights on in tents and wondered at the status of other riders, but didn’t have time or the DEET weaponry to fight a multiple-front war. The next morning at breakfast, I saw several other riders with the same battle-weary bite-wounds covering their legs and bags under their eyes. ERIN SPRAGUE CO N F L I CT 1 3 7


We had one moment of genuine terror. It was not at the hands of secret police or an angry mob. A sports utility vehicle, the driver sleepy and distracted, drifted onto the shoulder behind a pack of four riders strung out single file. The SUV took out three bikes in an instant. There were only bruises and those are healing and all the injured are back riding. The truth is that the worst thing we cyclists have to fear in an Africa reputed for nasty diseases, wild animals and dictators is the same thing we have feared most in Toronto or London: traffic and careless drivers. TIM PADMORE

1 3 8 CON F L I CT


PAIN


It’s nice to see the KeNyan government doesn’t waste its money on frivolous trivialities such as pavement. RANDY PIELSTICKER

There were a lot of casualties for the day. A number of those riders who had hoped to cycle every inch of the journey didn’t finish the day. The sweep truck was over capacity with folks who had succumbed to the heat and wind and packed it in. Serious carnage. I’m not going to lie to you, it was a hard day. The kind that takes patience and strength to carry through. TORI FAHEY

I don’t want to overly dramatize this, but I will admit that this day through Dinder, which riders later affectionately renamed The Fucking Dinder National Park of Shit, was the toughest in my life. ERIC OLVERSON

PA IN 1 43


African hospitality backfired a little when Martin Parnell tried to highfive an African cyclist. Immersed in this exchange, he failed to see the gaping pothole in front of him and instead of a handshake ended up with three stitches in his elbow. RANDY PIELSTICKER

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This isn’t a cycling tour in Provence. HENRY GOLD


The heat was intense and the wind blew sand strong enough to take the paint off my bike. RANDY PIELSTICKER

Riding in a dust storm is like driving in the fog. You can barely see more than a meter or two ahead of you and everything around you is a blur. It was just like one big long skin exfoliation exercise. AYESHA HARJI

The conversation has shifted from diarrhea and vomiting to more traditional cyclist topics like saddle sores and blood flow to the genitals. TORI FAHEY

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H

istorically, the last two days of the tour are non-race days. Due to my sickness, I was in last place going into this day by an hour. I never want to finish last in anything I do and even with 11 people dropping out of the race since the start I thought maybe I could push and pass Dan. There was a Wimpy’s 25km from camp and a lot of people were talking about stopping there for a snack before lunch. It was a 112km day with about 60 per cent dirt in the middle. I decided that morning that I would see what happened if I went as hard as I could until someone passed me. I thought Stu and Gizzy would blow by me in the first 25 km and I would be able to cool it and get a milkshake, but as I approached Wimpy’s I passed two strong riders who I thought may be going for a stage win on the last day. Then going into town I passed Jethro on a hill. Jethro is the best hill climber on the tour and even though his race position was set and he was taking it easy, his easy pace is normally quite a bit faster than my hard pace. With him in the background I knew I had to go all out for the rest of the day, or until Stu caught me. At 30-something kms we turned onto the dirt and there was a giant loose sand and gravel hill in front of me. I pedalled as hard as I could and while growing tired kept the thought of people catching me from behind in my head. I was out of the saddle, only to see many more hills when I got to the top. This was not going to be an easy day. I rode hard and passed Bill, who left about 30 mins before me. I asked if there were people going fast in front of me, he said yes. I had to ride faster! I saw a black figure on a bike up ahead. I decided I had 2 kms to catch them. It was Laura, and I caught her in 1.5. I passed her at the top of a hill and then rode down with no brakes through the corrugation and into soft sand. I had a wobble but pedalled through it and rode on, never looking back. At 60 kms I got to the lunch truck. Paul was there, so I asked him who was in front. There was just Tim

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and Peter. Tim was my worry and Stuart who was behind me, how far no one knew. I skipped lunch and with 45 seconds to stop with a foot down I pushed on. Paul started a fair bit before me, so when he passed on the dirt I was concerned, but knew if I could stay within 15 minutes of him I would be fine. Tim started way before me as well, but crunching the numbers was too hard as I was pedalling on the dirt with 28 mm tires. From the second to last hill I saw the road we were turning right on and I saw Paul at the bottom of the last dirt hill heading towards the road. Once again I headed down the hill with reckless abandon. I didn’t use my brakes all day to this point and I wasn’t going to use them now. I pedalled all the way down the hill and was out of the saddle most of the way up it. When I hit the tar I immediately got in the aerobars and tried to catch my breath. I was pedalling as hard as I could when I lost sight of Paul, too many curves going through town, but I was close and with 40 kms left. Maybe I could do this. I rode through two small fishing villages and then ended up facing a second dirt road. I didn’t remember this from the rider meeting. I didn’t go to the rider meeting. What do I do. I stopped to check the camera. It is a race, and going to be a close one and I had to stop to check directions. Thirty seconds later and I saw a yellow jacket coming on a bike. Screw the directions, I either go the right way or the wrong way, but no one passes me today. The yellow jacket was gaining on me, I pedalled harder, still gaining. I looked back and it was Tim. He was supposed to be 20 minutes in front of me. He asks, “Why did you stop?” I told him I had to check directions, and what was he doing behind me. He said he was having a coffee, saw Paul go by then saw me and didn’t want to miss it. Paid his cheque and came to watch the race first hand. I told him I have time on Paul but I was worried about him. He asked where Stuart was. All of a sudden I was racing the clock because I don’t know when Stu left and how far back he was.


Tim rode the rest of the way pushing me to ride harder than I had throughout the whole trip. It was flatish smoothish hardish packed sand and we were blazing down at 36-40 kph. Every time I stopped pedalling to rest Tim would yell at me from behind. “Eighteen kilometers to go, push it.” I was out of the saddle for every hill, in the aerobars when I could just to try and breathe. Riding over corrugation and taking the abuse with my body all the time getting abuse from Tim, “Fourteen kilometers to go, you have to catch Paul.” I couldn’t see Paul, but I couldn’t imagine he was going this fast. It was bordering on unsafe. I pedalled faster, who knew who was behind me. We had one more right turn to make onto a road, I saw it up ahead and there were two yellow gates in the road, one on the left and one on the right with a space in the middle. It was a slight downhill and I was pushing 40+ I think, my speedo just stopped working in the rain. I unclipped my left foot thinking I would slow to a stop and walk through the gate. I grabbed a handful of brake and the back wheel locked up on the sand. I was not slowing down and now staring to fishtail and I was getting closer to the gate. I clipped back in, I now had three options, lay the bike down and slide under Dominican style. Not a great option, but I would not die. Jump the gate, all I really had to do was clear the handle bars because me and the rest of the bike would fit through the gap no problem, but jumping on a downhill at that speed is difficult, maybe impossible. Third option, do nothing. I headed right for the hole in the gate, it was at the exact height of my handlebars. I watched as I cleared each side by less than an inch, back end fishtailing in fright. I made it through, checked back and Tim was rolling through much slower. He yelled to go right. I did, dodging the car that I had not noticed, still carrying my speed. Camp was close, I had to give it everything I had. We passed one building, and then another. Flagging tape heading towards the beach. I got air going into the camp, landed on soft sand and rode to the truck. Threw down my bike and ran

to the timing thing on the trailer. It never works in the rain and I ripped it off the trailer and yelled for Paul. After several attempts and Tim beeping in first I timed in, and almost collapsed. I have never been that tired in my life. I held myself up on a pole in the kitchen for a while, then headed into the truck to sit down and eat some candy. I got my things out and then saw Stu. I had no clue how long it had been, or when he started. I asked him his riding time, he didn’t know, we would have to wait for Kelsey. I set up my tent by the edge of the fence overlooking the cold wet rainy ocean and headed to the bar. The truck riders were already there, and everyone was surprised to see me. I had a milkshake, calamari, fried fish, two Cokes and a bottle of red wine. Jenn came in and we headed over to another bar. I had a few beers, then back to camp for dinner. It was chicken, quickly in my stomach then off for a few more beers. Kelsey wasn’t going to check the times until tomorrow. I had no idea what happened, wheteher I was first or second. I quickly forgot about the importance of the situation and just enjoyed hanging out with friends celebrating the end of the race. We partied very late (for us, late is about 9 pm, very late is 9:30) and stumbled back to the tent, still wet and rainy. I woke up and packed up for the second-to-last time. RICK WASFY

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Lava rock, my friends, does not make for good roads. I speak from experience. MONTY ORR

One thing most people here have is a deep-seated belief that in the misery there is magic. That, somehow, enduring the pain, moving through it and completing the journey from start to finish, will yield untold rewards – physical, mental and spiritual – in the long run. LEAH MCLAREN

This stage put another hole in my ass. NELS HAGGLUND

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E

thiopia is a very hilly, mountainous, densely populated country. For its citizens to survive, an endless array of donkey carts and human powered wagons (both bicycle and walking) overloaded with items for sale in the nearby markets are either pulled up long, neverending switchbacks or dangerously hauled down quick, curvy descents. There are very few automobiles, so everyone makes use of the entire width of the road, usually going one way in the morning and returning in the other direction at night. I left Yabello early in the morning as light rain fell onto an already soggy road. I was casually pedaling up and over the numerous rolling hills peering over the alluring splendour of the many lanky Acacia trees spread across the savannah. After 60 miles, as the rain subsided, I started a very long, arduous climb up to the small village of Mega where a ruin from Italy’s attempted invasion stands watch over the tiny community. As I approached the top of the pass I noticed the ruin on the right-hand side of the road. In hindsight, maybe I should have taken a break and walked around the site a bit. However, I was 10 miles from the campsite and getting hungry. I released my brakes and started coasting downhill, weaving my way around the numerous people, donkeys, carts, etc. I was traveling at roughly 20 mph coming around a tight bend when I quickly noticed a group of five people and one donkey spread out across the entire road 30 meters ahead of me. I called out, “Behind you!” just to let them know I was

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approaching. Four individuals and the donkey immediately moved to the right, but a lone boy wearing a purple shirt hesitated and decided to move left - the way I had chosen to go. As I opened my eyes, my vision was very blurry, as if someone was sticking a bright light in my face. I was sprawled out on the ground, feeling as if I was waking up from a dream while in an uncomfortable bed. Having no idea where I was, my body made one intense shudder as my eyes finally adjusted. They focused on the approximately thirty Africans, some holding spears, surrounding me talking in a language I did not understand. I had no idea what had happened or why these people were around me. Still groggy and lying on the ground for a minute or two, not knowing what to do, I finally remembered that I was somewhere in Africa, riding my bicycle. I stood up and stared at the gaping gashes lining both of my hips and noticed blood oozing from my elbows and forearms. Luckily, a United Nations vehicle pulled up. A fella jumped out and asked a few of the locals what had happened, then offered me a ride down to our campsite. The UN guy told me I had been lying on the ground motionless for about two or three minutes before I shuddered and became conscious once again. I had been completely knocked out. The locals thought I was dead and had started praying for my spirit. KEVIN YOUNG


Northern Kenya is a spiritbreaking place. Five days of soul-destroying riding. After one day, many just didn’t want to go on. MICHAEL DE JONG

Many people seem to be suffering from saddle sores. This is another topic that normally wouldn’t make it into dinner conversation, but is now a regular topic for discussion. As I was walking by the medical tent this afternoon, I overheard someone say, “do you want me on all fours?” TORI FAHEY

The heat of the desert, the loose sand, rock and corrugation of the off-road sections, the long distances on tarmac, all sap the strength and tax the spirit, offering sickness an easy prey. ERIC OLVERSON

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WONDER


For a moment, I am cycling alone, as solitude seems appropriate in this vast, empty quiet landscape. And then, a moment to take my breath away. I glance to my right and there, standing supreme on the grass by the roadside, is a huge grey bull elephant. Full-grown, maybe 4 meters in height. I brake and stop, fumbling for my camera. Gasping in awe, I look the elephant in the eye. He could charge, but he is shy and backs away to hide behind a tree. I cycle on, elated to have had such an encounter on the Elephant Highway. HELEN COONEY

WON D E R 1 6 5


the desert landscapes were in stunning shades of psychedelic greens, reds and browns, and wildlife sightings were plentiful. BRIAN HOENIGER

We saw cheetah, topi, bushbok, gazelle, impala, lion cubs, hippo, crocs, wildebeest, genet, blue ball monkey, mongoose, baboon and many birds. Additionally, we were treated to lions mating. I am sure we saw more than just these species but that’s all I can remember as it was wildlife overload. ALEXANDRA SHANNY

It was in Northern Kenya that I tossed scorpions out of my shoes in the morning as I hurried to share the stories of the animal sounds heard during the night. Joan LouwRens

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Bed is preceded by multiple warnings about not leaving anything sweet in your tent, lest animals sense it out and start harassing us. Shanny Hill

There were four of us pedalling along when suddenly between 15 and 20 giraffes walked out of the bush and crossed the road right in front of us. I was in such a state of excitement I nearly fell off my bike. It meant so much that they were not behind bars. We were on their turf. EDWINA MATTINSON

It’s not every day that you fall with your face in the sand within five meters from an elephant bull flapping his big ears at you. RANDY PIELSTICKER

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HUMILITY


My AFRICA IS BEAUTIFUL, DEPRESSING, EXASPERATING, BIBLICAL. DANNY GOLD

Rumours have been floating around for a while that some years ago one of the tour groups decided to strip down and ride their bikes naked for a mile. For any normal group of people this idea would seem to be ludicrous . . . but we are a band of individuals who have decided riding bikes from Cairo to Cape Town sounds like a grand vacation. Therefore, upon hearing that such an ad hoc celebration of the flesh had occurred in years prior, an adventurous group of our cyclists (myself included) decided to take it upon themselves to ‘gear down and go for it’. Erik Dobrovolsky

Because we have spent so much time with the brutal honesty of each other, there is now a sort of liberation to make this trip what you want, with no concern for the judgment of others, if you ride slowly, alone, or even run away for a few days. ERIN LEMPRIERE

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Reaching the destination is an accomplishment, but enjoying the journey is an experience. DAVID HOUGHTON


At eight in the evening it was still 40 degrees and our tents were like ovens. We needed to cool down, so we went to a tin shack brothel down the road. Water is water, and we all agreed it was the best shower ever. If all else fails - lower your standards. LEANA NIEMAND

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Africa is a tough place and it is what it is. No amount of complaining will change it. Acceptance is key. LUKE McMURPHY

All this rain mixes with the reddish-brown earth — like chocolate cake batter — making for some muddy rides. But there’s something invigorating about getting that dirty. You can see it on the riders’ mud-spattered faces as they roll into camp. ALLISON BARNES

Personal hygiene was executed as best as possible but with few mirrors and everybody feeling as grungy as each other, a certain equilibrium was reached and appearances were not commented on, and by now hardly even noticed. ERIN LEMPRIERE

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True happiness lies not in conquering an adventure, but in sharing one. JONNY WHITE


we were in this together. There was no blaming. We just needed to prepare for the next day. ERIC OLVERSON

Sometimes when camping under a black velvet sky pinpricked with starlight, you ask some big questions and seem to understand them a bit better. But eventually you become aware of the smell of your unwashed body, the throbbing of your aching muscles and the clawing cold of night, which reconnects you to your mortality. MICHAEL KENNEDY

I remember lying in my soggy tent, in my soggy sleeping bag, puddles of mud surrounding me. This was a significant moment where I remember thinking: this wasn’t in the brochure. ANNALISE THOMPSON

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A STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO WASHING YOURSELF AT THE ZOO IN DONGOLA, SUDAN. Step 1. Ride for days through the Nubian Desert to get yourself into the frame of mind where a wash in a zoo sounds like a prospect just short of heaven.

you are in a city with two mosques per block and that these basins are likely bought in bulk. Proceed as planned. Step 10. Wave to your Sudanese fan club again.

Step 2. Realize that the zoo in Dongola is actually just a walled-in field with animals carved out of stone. Step 3. Be not at all disappointed by Step 2. Step 4. Locate the washing stations.

Step 11. Exchange pleasantries with fellow rider who is in the process of washing their clothes at the same basin that you intend to bathe in.

Step 5. Collect the soap you stole from the hotel in Cairo that you have barely used.

Step 12. Turn on tap, squeal with glee at the fact that the sun you have been cursing and straining through for the past week has actually heated all the water to a pleasant temperature.

Step 6. Notice a gaggle of Sudanese men, women and children watching your every movement with bated breath on the other side of the zoo fence.

Step 13. Wash yourself under a tap one foot off the ground as thoroughly as possible while retaining tenuous hold on last remaining shred of dignity.

Step 7. Wave happily as you take off your shorts and undies underneath a disastrously undersized towel.

Step 14. Towel off.

Step 8. Walk to washbasin with only aforementioned towel wrapped around waist. Step 9. Realize that you are about to bathe in a basin that is exactly the same as the ones used at mosques for pre prayer ritual washing. Take a minute to debate whether you are about to commit an act of minor sacrilege. Realize that

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Step 15. Exchange pleasantries with fellow rider who has just returned from the pit toilet and wishes to wash hands in the communal bath/ laundry room/washroom sink. Step 16. Collect group of 10 fellow riders to head into town for falafels. Erik Dobrovolsky


Maybe it’s vulnerability rather than strength that unlocks the best in the human spirit. JAMES D. BROWN


I

stood buck naked while taking a oneliter Nalgene bottle shower in the middle of an Ethiopian pasture after a brutal nine-hour, 155 km bike ride over beat-up, craggy, rock-strewn dirt roads. Heat, mosquitos and flies had pestered me the entire afternoon. In twelve more hours, the prominent, Grand Canyonesque Blue Nile Gorge awaited: a 20 km quick and curvy descent, followed by a thigh-burning 20 km (almost 2 km vertical) climb up the other side. With such a formidable challenge ahead, I understandably wanted a good night’s sleep. Hence, after strolling over the road in front of our campsite and walking another 100 meters into an empty pasture, I started pouring water over my head, while wiping off the day’s sweat from under my arms, between my legs, etc. Suddenly, a commotion materialized near our tents. I wasn’t surprised, since on most evenings a group of locals would gather around our chosen campsite. Sometimes the crowds were small, other days they would number several hundred people,

catching a glimpse of our daily routines in the African countryside. However, as cool water ran down my backside, the uproar was unmistakably advancing in my direction. Dozens of shouts and yelps could be heard immediately over my shoulder. Taking a quick peek, my eyes widened as the unmistakable outlines of nearly 100 Ethiopian children were bearing down upon me. I immediately dropped my water bottle and reached for my shorts! Instantly, waving arms, flailing legs, and huge smiles surrounded me as I securely fastened the shorts around my waist. “Jambo! Jambo!” I conveyed, while shaking hands with as many youngsters as possible. A few seconds later, the kids started yelping again, scattering in all directions. A few village elders scampered towards me waving their walking sticks in the air, scaring off the children so I could finish my ‘shower’ in peace and solitude. KEVIN YOUNG H UM I L I TY 197


So there we were, baring bits and boobs on a hot strip of desert pavement, crouched over, cheeks to the wind, pulling and prying and grimacing in the nude. Admittedly, this was not ‘good naked,’ but there was no one around. Until the tour-bus convoy started. At first, we ran for cover in the roadside shrubbery, covering our unmentionables with helmets and limbs. This got old after a while and eventually we surrendered our fate, waving proudly to the hordes of amused camera-wielding tourists. ALLISON BARNES

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I’ve had more days with diarrhea than without. BERND PROROK

We are a strange mix of cycling enthusiasts from around the world, ranging in age from 20 to 65, ranging in ability from beginner to champion. Strangers with one thing in common: the idea that our lives would be incomplete without this voyage across Africa. So, what happens when you throw a bunch of odd parts in a crucible and turn up the heat? Human lasagna. Personality quirks are amplified by the intensity of the experience and can echo through the group. Even the slightest idiosyncrasies become conspicuous and come to define people; chatty, disciplined, disorganized, grumpy, manic, sneaky, thoughtful. Each ingredient in this lasagna brings a different taste and texture and is an essential part of the recipe. All different and, yet, somehow, all normal. TORI FAHEY

On this trip, there are a lot of occasions when there is not enough of something we want, or maybe too much of something that we don’t like. To get through the trip with any sort of grace requires a talent for making the most of what you have. TORI FAHEY

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Part race, part expedition, part social experiment, part madness. LEAH MCLAREN


BLISS


A

S WE CRAWL down the map toward Cape Town, it is as if the globe is rotating beneath our feet. Our shadows have begun to point forward of the handlebars, with the sun now always at our backs in the northern sky. Our bikers’ tans - white feet, white bottom, white hands - are now complete as we rotate to the new sun position, broiling like roast beef on a skewer. For a month, we lost the night sky and the sun for much of the day as we passed through the band of rains that girdles Africa at this time of year. The rains are driven by a band of winds that blows steadily off the Indian Ocean. The girdle of wind is sliding north, following the sun as spring comes to our families at home. Each night, we go to sleep listening to night songs, each night a different song. Wind or trucks or trains, flowing water, mooing, braying, clucking. A snarling hyena, love-sick donkeys, baboons throwing sticks. Samburu warriors chanting, Christian hymns, tinny disco. TIM PADMORE

BLISS 207


W

e have struggled through rough roads, scorching days, maniac truck drivers, water rationing, bottle showers, bush camps, sand pits and stone-throwing children. We have shared in the majesty of the Sahara Desert, the Nubian Desert, the Dida Galgalu Desert, the Kalahari Desert, watched elephants bathe, watched Ethiopian women carry bundles of firewood twice their size up massive slopes, cheered as our occasionally stuck trucks lumber their way back onto the road, drank beers at a mountain top hotel as arriving riders were greeted one by one as they arrived. We have seen the best of people and the worst of people and through it all we remain united, solid and unyielding. No matter what may come of us in the future no one can take away that fact that for four months we struggled and smiled through one of the greatest adventures on the face of this planet. ERIK DOBROVOLSKY

BLISS 211


On this journey I have pedalled through desert, mountain ranges, forest, rolling hills, and desert again. Pedalled through intense heat and intense rain, passed through the Simien Mountains and upon Mount Kenya. One gets to witness this change in incredible detail and slow, easily digestible increments. MONTY ORR


Without the effort, there would be no exhilaration. MICHAEL COO

I am often asked if I enjoyed it. Well, not really at the time. I enjoy it more now some time has elapsed and I am beginning to forget some of the pain and discomfort. I look at the map of Africa, still pinned up in our kitchen where the family tracked my progress, and gasp at the enormity of it. MICHAEL KENNEDY

The Tour d’Afrique allowed me to take a very honest assessment of myself. It proved that in some ways I am not as strong as I thought, and that mentally I am stronger than I ever imagined. TODD McDONALD

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About TEN minutes into the descent of the Blue Nile Gorge, Marc said, “Oh, here’s a nice spot. Let’s stop and enjoy the view.” I was a bit annoyed because I didn’t want to stop, but Marc insisted, so we sat and overlooked the Gorge. Marc said, “I wonder if you could carry something for me?”which I thought was a bit mean, really. I was slightly confused! And then he said, “Will you marry me?” and I didn’t say yes, I just cried, and he said, ‘I’ll think I’ll take that as a yes!” So we were sitting, there was no kneeling involved! Then I had to climb the Gorge of hell – but I did it with a big smile on my face. Some people get to toast their engagement with champagne; we toasted with electrolyte drink. GEORGINA AYRE

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RACE WINNERS Year

Distance

Men

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

10,967 km 11,750 km 11,786 km 11,900 km 11,900 km 10,700 km 11,777 km 11,597 km 11,235 km

Sascha Hartl Rob van der Geest Kim Bremer Matthew Caretti Adrie Frijters Jos Kaal Allan Benn Stuart Briggs Paul Wolfe

Women Marie-Claude Baehler Sandra Simon Francziska Morger Joan Louwrens Eva Nijssen Deb Corbeil Taryn Laurie Gisela Gartmair Tori Fahey


Relief is mixed with regrets, as it should BE when the end is in sight. Great beginnings and endings are the exclamation points of a life well lived. JAMES d. BROWN

I started a journey that in many ways has yet to finish. Readjusting to a life where status is garnered by the depth of one’s pockets, not one’s character, has left me pining for a simpler life. Henry Gold’s crazy, two-wheeled vision is changing peoples’ lives. I feel forever indebted to his courage and foresight. PAUL TUTHILL

To single out any one rider is unfair. Everyone on this journey, brave or insane enough to suffer through the unpredictable weather, roads and constant physical ailments that plagued them, is a hero. HENRY GOLD

B L I S S 2 23


A SHIT DAY ON THE TOUR D’AFRIQUE IS BETTER THAN A GOOD DAY ANYWHERE ELSE. DAVID PAPENFUS


It’s clichÉd to say thE Tour will remain with me forever, but it’s a clichÉ that honestly rings true. Ayesha Harji

Did I really ride through the mountains on the horizon? Did I really slug it out in the desert of Sudan? Did I really climb those passes in the magnificent mountains of Ethiopia? Did I really conquer the lava road of Northern Kenya. If it was not for the pain in the legs, which now seem to hurt more that they ever did while biking, I could swear that it did not happen, that it was just a dream. It is one of those rare moments in life when everything seems to be crystal clear, when you feel secure about yourself, your life path, your place in the world and when you say to yourself, ‘After this, I can do anything’. HENRY GOLD

Everyone seems to find their own way to make a great day. For some, it is riding in the truck for half of the day. For others, it is pedalling easy and stopping for a Coke in every town. For me, it is pedalling my brains out and then laying in the shade and doing nothing. It is absolutely blissful. TORI FAHEY

226 BLISS


We are all superstars in our own ‘Frique show. THERESA BROWN

A third of a year. More than a quarter of the way around the earth. I underestimated the difficulty of the trip, but I even more vastly underestimated the exhilaration that comes with an adventure of this magnitude. Every day in some way was beautiful and in some way was brutal. The balance of those things is what made the trip such a rich experience. And ultimately, crossing the finish line in Cape Town pales in comparison with a thousand other moments along the way: buying a Coke for a Maasai warrior in Northern Kenya, watching a family of elephants cross the road right in front of me in Botswana, even dragging my sorry butt through the Sahara. I remember these parts of the journey distinctly, because they answered questions about myself that I hadn’t even thought to ask. DAVID HOUGHTON

Though we have only known each other for two and a half months, it seems more like two and a half years. MONTY ORR

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W

e’ve suffered from diarrhea, saddle sores, broken bones, back pain and daily exhaustion. We’ve complained about poor service in restaurants, long days, people watching your every move, overly inquisitive children, mobs of unruly boys and each other. Yet each day we’re up and ready to start again. Every day on this trip has brought some new adventure. The one thing that has made this trip truly unforgettable is the people, individuals from 20 or so countries with nothing in common other than being idiotic enough to sign up for a trip like this. I now know more about many people on this trip than their own relatives do. When you have a 6-hour day ahead of you, with nothing to occupy your time other than pedal and repeat, you start talking to folks quite a bit. I’ve been asked if I’d do this trip again, the answer never varies: “Not in a million years!” However, I would recommend this trip to others, without a moment’s hesitation. This trip will make you appreciate what you have at home. It’ll also make you realize what your life has been lacking. It will make you weep with both joy and sorrow (occasionally at the same time). You will feel more alive than you’ve ever felt, often when wishing you were dead. You will be ecstatic to crawl into your tent every night and eating oatmeal in the morning will be the best thing you’ve ever tasted. You will never want to go home, but miss it with all your heart. I could never do this again, but in my head, and for the rest of my life, I will be doing it daily. DAVE ARMAN

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EPILOGUE David Houghton

No book about the Tour d’Afrique would be complete without a mention of the EFI Club. Since 2003, 103 riders, 87 men and 16 women, have achieved EFI status: E for Every, I for Inch, and F for whichever F word you think best describes those inches. Completing the tour with EFI status stacks a major challenge on top of an already difficult undertaking, but nearly every rider sets out from Cairo with EFI in mind. The past ten years’ EFI riders come from 13 different countries: 27 are from Canada, 17 from South Africa, 14 from the Netherlands, 7 each from Germany, the UK and the USA, 5 from Switzerland and 4 from Australia. Belgium, Denmark and New Zealand have each provided 3 EFI riders, Austria and France 2 riders. One EFI rider apiece has hailed from Austria, Ireland, Sweden and France. The spirit of cycling EFI has a long history. Legend has it the term was initiated years ago on a mass ride in Montana called the Great Divide Hill Climb. Near the summit of the 6,299-foot MacDonald Pass, heavy rain led to road closures that forced many riders off their bikes. Only 19 people out of 800 made it across the finish line without support. If ever there was a tour worthy of the EFI challenge, it’s the

Tour d’Afrique. Maybe that’s why EFI status became a goal from the very first tour; the TDA includes not only extremes of altitude and temperature, but the added complexities of unpredictable traffic (trucks, cars, people and an assortment of livestock), an almost endless variety of digestive complaints and the cumulative fatigue that four months of riding imposes on the body. Eric Olverson writes that EFI status means everything to those who have it, and very little to those who don’t. That may or may not be true - depending on the individual. I entered the 2005 TDA as a racer. I blazed through Egypt on the way to Sudan with the top competitors. We hurtled through villages, past ancient temples, past children applauding us at the side of the road. And what was I doing? I was hauling ass in a bid to win a race and potentially miss everything that I passed each day of the trip - everything that I had come to Africa for. So I quit the race. It was a very hard thing to do, because I’m competitive, and because it feels almost unnatural to slow down and savour the passage of time, not try to outrun it. But for me at least, winning the race was less important than finishing with EFI status. Winning the race proves you’re fast. But finishing EFI proves you’re badass. E P I LO G U E 23 3


My goal is EFI. Without a doubt. Absolutely. Barring breaking a leg. Breaking an arm is fine. I can ride with one arm. SIMON FRANCIS


I JUST HOPE THAT SAINT CHRISTOPHER IS WATCHING. LUKE McMURPHY

It is the ultimate goal, trying to reach Cape Town without having to get on the sweep vehicle or skip a stage and ride every inch of the race. It is something beyond comprehension to achieve and the further we go, the more I realize how little chance you have to make it. This race is insane, the distances we ride every day are huge, and if they are not, the terrain is just impossible. Furthermore, to stay EFI, you cannot fall sick, you simply cannot fall, as one bad fall and you are most likely not gonna be able to finish a stage. You also have to have luck, plenty of it, because of road accidents with pedestrians and animals, potholes and stones lying on roads, etc. etc. We have had such long and hard riding days that most riders have not been able to finish the stages, leaving just a few of us in the now-infamous EFI club. GERALD CONIEL

One of the riders likened losing EFI to losing your virginity. I’m not really sure what she meant by that. Was it a huge relief? Was it enlightening? Or was it just really disappointing? TORI FAHEY

23 6 E P I LO G U E


B

efore arriving in Cairo for the start of the trip, I had given little thought to the idea of EFI. This status was maintained until any part of the course was not adhered to and covered by the bike. Failure to do so meant automatic disqualification from the award. None of us would have been cycling such a daunting distance if we were not up for a challenge. The challenge was lain down to us in Cairo and we could not resist it. But during such a long and difficult journey, where the schedule could not allow for delays to permit riders time to recover, casualties were to be expected. That emphasizes the incredible achievement of those who maintained EFI throughout the four months. To do so, each one of them had to cycle when at times they were ill or injured, breaking through one mental barrier after another. EFI status was terribly important to us while we had it, but surprisingly, it became irrelevant to us once it was lost. Conversely, in the case of those of us who no longer had the fear of losing our EFI status to motivate us, there still remained the same steely determination to keep going to the very best of our ability. Losing EFI rammed home to us that our motivation had never been dependent on it. ERIC OLVERSON E P I LO G U E 23 7


138 kilometers of hardcore mountain biking: sand, rocks, corrugations, thorns, heat and desert. This was an EFI massacre. JETHRO DE DECKER

Stubborn, intense and possessed of an obsessive determination, EFI-ers are the sort of goal-oriented physical extremists that the Tour d’Afrique depends on for survival – of the economic, logistic and spiritual variety. These are the people who refuse to get on the truck, no matter what happens, every single inch of the way. Many EFI-ers on this tour have cycled while sick and injured and most refuse to get off the bike unless physically forced to do so (riders are not allowed to ride after dark), in some cases at gunpoint by local police warning of lion attacks. LEAH MCLAREN

For most riders, EFI status was as important, or more so, than the race itself. We would go to impossible lengths to maintain our EFI status.   ERIC OLVERSON

23 8 E P I LO G U E


I shouldn’t be surprised when I find that others in the group have found ways to measure their journey in a way that makes it special for them. There’s EFC (every fucking campsite), for those who feel that bailing to a hotel when they are available is cheating. And EFCS (every fucking Coke stop), for those who feel that grabbing a Coke or macchiato in every little town will offer them a larger window into this great continent. EFBB (every fucking bush break), a slightly less attractive option for those who have been plagued by chronic diarrhea. We were laughing at dinner about what other combinations one might come up with. Among the more challenging ideas we came up with: OFC (one fucking chamois) and NFS (no fucking showers). I think I’ll continue to keep my eyes on EFI. TORI FAHEY


2003 Chris Evans David Genders Andrew Griffin Sascha Hartl Michael Kennedy Paul Reynaert Scotty Robinson Steve Topham Jeremy Wex 2004 Dave Atlee Wilbert Bonné John Brewer Erik Drent Armin Köhli Randy Pielsticker Rob van der Geest Gerard van Putten 2005 Marius Bazuin James Hilsinger David Houghton Leana Niemand Christina Rousseau Stefan Schlett Giles Trevethick David Williams

2006 Matthew Caretti Jaco Cotter Urs Hausermann Emmerentia Jacobs Duncan Jerard Phillipa le Roux Joan Louwrens Urs Luethi Lyle McLachlan Christa Meier George Oertel Monty Orr Geraldine Paques Dieder Pijnenborg Jonny White 2007 Pierre Bataini Remy Benois Andrew Cameron Marc Cote Jan Eisenloeffel Adrie Frijters Lucette Laflamme Eva Nijssen Alice Rawlinson Markus Widmann

2008 Bruno Boilard Dave Bouskill Ton de Jager Conor Devine Kerri Finlayson Craig George Wouter Gheysels Alexander Link Joachim Löffel Bent Nielsen Bernd Prorok Olivier Thudor Tony Tuck Chris Willie 2009 Alan Benn Malcolm Campbell Tim Gane Taryn Laurie Nicholas Marr Bruce McPhail Nick Padt Graeme Scrivener Lloyd Strong Craig Tingle

2010 Rod Atkinson Juliana Austin-Olsen Jason Becker Hartmut Bögel Stuart Briggs Gerard Coniel Jethro de Decker Simon Francis Gisela Gartmair Paul Porter Sunil Shah Frans Smit Daniel Spasojevic 2011 Bram Arets Jean Bernier Carrie Buckmaster Kim Lindberg Christensen Scott DeMoss Tori Fahey Kim Frandsen Shan Guo Jorg Hartmann Dennis Kipphardt Bram Klassen Peter Lamond Ryan Paetzold Francis Staunton Peter-Jan Van As Paul Wolfe

E P I LO G U E 2 43


Celebrating ten years of the Tour d’Afrique bicycle race and expedition


PHOTOGRAPHS Cover 4-5 8 16 19 20 23 24-25 27 28-29 31 32-33 34 37 38 41 42 42 43 44-45 47 48 51 52 53 54-55 56 56 56 56 58-59 60

Shanghoon Joachim Loeffel Martin Heng Edmund Carter Mark Knight Chris Evans Chris Evans Gerald Coniel Gerald Coniel Unknown Chris Evans Joachim Loeffel Theresa Brown Edmund Carter Joachim Loeffel David Houghton (left) John Davis (right) Helen Cooney John Davis Marius Bazuin Michael Kennedy Wayne Woodward Marius Bazuin Chris Evans Chris Evans Gerald Coniel (top left) Chris Evans (top right) Sherief Elkatsha (bottom left) Sherief Elkatsha (bottom right) Wayne Woodward Theresa Brown Marius Bazuin

62 63 63 65 66 69 72 73 75-76 78 79-80 82 83-84 85 86 89 91-92 93 94 95 95 95 95 97-98 99 100 100 100 102 104 105 108

Mark Knight (left) Edvard Sloots (right) Michael Kennedy Unknown Corey Heitz Wayne Woodward Gerald Coniel John Davis Unknown Unknown Mark Knight Michael Kennedy Chris Evans Phillipa Le Roux Michael Kennedy Edmund Carter Gerald Coniel Phillipa Le Roux Chris Evans (top left) Joachim Loeffel (top right) Unknown (bottom left) Chris Evans (bottom right) David Houghton John Davis Unknown (left) Joachim Loeffel (top right) Unknown (bottom right) Phillipa Le Roux Corey Heitz Joachim Loeffel Theresa Brown Joachim Loeffel

109 Michael Kennedy 110 David Houghton 112 Joachim Loeffel 113 David Houghton 115-116 Mark Knight 119 Theresa Brown 122 Phillipa Le Roux 124 Joachim Loeffel 125 Unknown 128 David Houghton 129-130 Unknown 132 Edmund Carter 133 (top left) David Houghton 133 (top right) Phillipa Le Roux 133 (bottom left) Unknown 133 (bottom right) David Houghton 135-136 Wayne Woodward 137 Michael Kennedy 10 Yannig Robard 142 Joachim Loeffel 143 Edmund Carter 146 Wayne Woodward 147 Unknown 148 (top left) Michael Kennedy 148 (top right) Wayne Woodward 148 (bottom left) Gerald Coniel 148 (bottom right) Unknown 149-150 Edmund Carter 152 Unknown 155 Joachim Loeffel 158 Michael Kennedy 159 Phillipa Le Roux


160 David Houghton 161 Edmund Carter 164 Mark Knight 165 Philip Hart 167-168 Joachim Loeffel 170 David Houghton 171 Gerald Coniel 172 Joachim Loeffel 173 Mark Knight 175 Wayne Woodward 176 Michael Kennedy 177-178 Mark Knight 180 Michael Kennedy 181 Wayne Woodward 183-184 Gerald Coniel 185 Corey Heitz 188 Gerald Coniel 189-190 Edmund Carter 191 Joachim Loeffel 194 Michael Kennedy 195-196 Gerald Coniel 197 Gerald Coniel 199-200 Mark Knight 201 Chris Evans 203-204 Gerald Coniel 206 Rick Wasfy 207 Chris Evans 209-210 Gerald Coniel 211 Phillipa Le Roux 212 Michael Kennedy 213-214 Gerald Coniel 216 Unknown

217 Michael Kennedy 218 Unknown 220 Michael Kennedy 221-222 Theresa Brown 223 Unknown 224-225 Chris Evans 226 Yannig Robard 227 (top left) John Davis 227 (top right) Phillipa Le Roux 227 (bottom left) Michael Coo 227 (bottom right) Chris Evans 230 Unknown 231 Shanghoon 233 Edmund Carter 236 Michael Coo 237-238 Marius Bazuin 241-242 Helen Cooney 250 Michael Kennedy


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Houghton completed the Tour d’Afrique in 2005. He has also completed the Race Across America and Tour du Canada, as well as cycling in Asia, India, Europe and the Caribbean. David is the author of three books, 66 Days With Satan, The E-F-I Club and The United States Of Delirium. His writing has been featured in many publications, including Bike, Bicycling, Breathe, COG, Canadian Cycling, Hemispheres and Mountain Life (North America), Boneshaker, Cycling Plus, Fiets, Singletrack, Swiss and The Ride Journal (Europe). David is co-publisher of biciklo, a comprehensive guide to cycling tours around the world. You can contact him at davidonabike@gmail.com.


Thanks to THE CONTRIBUTORS: Dave Arman, Dave Atlee, Georgina Ayre, Sarah Badgerow, Allison Barnes, Marius Bazuin, Allan Benn, Bucky Beyer, Colin Biggin, James D. Brown, Theresa Brown, Edmund Carter, Gerald Coniel, Michael Coo, Helen Cooney, John Davis, Jethro de Decker, Michael de Jong, Yvonne Dennis, Erik Dobrovolsky, Sherief Elkatsha, David Else, Ernst Enns, Chris Evans, Tori Fahey, Simon Francis, Charles Giles, Danny Gold, Henry Gold, Nels Haglund, Ayesha Harji, Philip Hart, Corey Heitz, Martin Heng, Shanny Hill, Brian Hoeniger, David Houghton, Michael Kennedy, Scott Kennedy, Mark Knight, Erin Lempriere, Phillipa Le Roux, Joachim Loeffel, Jean Louwrens, Miles MacDonald, Edwina Mattinson, Todd McDonald, James McKerricher, Leah McLaren, Paul McManus, Luke McMurphy, Elaine Morwood, Leana Niemand, Eric Olverson, Monty Orr, Tim Padmore, David Papenfus, Randy Pielsticker, Bernd Prorok, Yannig Robard, Shanghoon, Alexandra Shanny, Edvard Sloots, Erin Sprague, Annalise Thompson, Steven Topham, Paul Tuthill, Kevin Young, Chris Van Waning, Rick Wasfy, Jonny White and Wayne Woodward. THANKS TO THE TOUR D’AFRIQUE STAFF: Trevor Afroutes, Gabriel Altman, Allison Barnes, Michelle Bedard, William Beyer, Colin Biggin, Chris Boehner, Steve Botes, Nicholas Brennan, Samantha Brett, Rory Brighton, Theresa Brown, Peter Bryce, Luke Bush, Dean Campbell, Malvin Chiriseri, Sandra Colenbrander, Michael Coo, Ryan Daly, Michael de Jong, Erik Dobrovolsky, Rachel Dobson, Jacqueline Donaldson, Elizabeth Doster, Cristo Els, Ronit Enosh, Chris Espley, Janet Farquharson, Amandine Ferrut, Peterson Gachanja, Ruard Ganzevoort, Henry Gold, Suzanne Halle, Thor Hanekom, Eddie Hawkey, Mathias Hediger, Kogie Hendricks, Shanny Hill, Brian Hoeniger, Grahame Jackson, Duncan Jerard, Steve Kariuki, Blessing Kativu, Francis Kilui, Mark Knight, Ewald Kuiper, Ferdi Labuschagne, Erin Lempriere, Kimberly Lenny, Miles MacDonald, Erasmus Maketo, Catherine McConachie, Todd McDonald, James McKerricher, Paul McManus, Luke McMurphy, Gillian Mills, Elaine Morwood, Elvis Munis, Caroline Murray, Victory Nakalenga, Japhet Ncube, Henk Nieuwoudt, Paul Pajero, Claire Pegler, Randy Pielsticker, Jansie Potgieter, Ed Rice, Anthony Saad, Bruno Sanales, Alex Shanny, Jon Shepheard, Albert Stadlin, Astrid Stark, Ronel Swart, Sharita van der Merwe, Jack van der Veen, Rita van Rooyen, Christopher van Waning, Gert van Zyl, Rudolph van Zyl, Wimpie van Zyl, Philipp Veldhuizen, Errol Venter, Jon Vereschagin, Brian Vernor, Ellen Versteeg, Martin Wambua, Edie Ward, Cristiano Werneck, Kelsey Wiens, Sussi Winde, Sue Winter, Adele Woodyard, Benny Zenga and Christian Zenga.


THE TOUR D’AFRIQUE FOUNDATION

T

he Tour d’Afrique Foun-

geographic areas are considered, which

dation is an integral part of the

is, more often than not, a typical scenario

social and economic development, and

company’s vision and was set up

in rural Africa. For example, in Lilongwe,

our bike donation ceremonies allow TDA

in 2002 to give back to the com-

Malawi, a typical HIV/AIDS community

participants to better understand the living

munities that we pass through

volunteer would have to cover an area 3 to

conditions of the bike recipients through

on our cycling expeditions. It is

8 kilometers in radius, containing anywhere

personal stories and, occasionally, invita-

also used to raise consciousness

from 10 to 50 villages.

tions to visit projects where the bikes are

about the importance of bicycles as an alternative means of trans-

With a bicycle, however, the same service

Awareness is the very cornerstone of

to be used. The conditions they encounter

provider might reach 60 to over 80 indi-

are daunting, to say the least, but riders are

port. You can, indeed, cycle across Africa on

viduals in a month, while covering over 60

always touched by the hope, dignity and

a bicycle!

kilometers. Bicycles can increase the HIV/

ingenuity that the recipients display.

In order to fulfil these objectives, the Tour

AIDS service provider’s reach by a factor of

Each year, Tour d’Afrique has donated

d’Afrique Foundation began donating bikes

three to a factor of ten. One bike can clearly

one bike for every full tour rider. The com-

to healthcare professionals in Africa, espe-

have a widespread impact.

pany has also encouraged riders to raise

cially those involved in the struggle with HIV/AIDS. The reasons are simple. In an average month, and under normal

The Foundation has been donating bikes to Maji Mazuri International, a social

funds for either the Foundation or their own worthy causes.

economic development program based in

By the time the 2012 Expedition reaches

circumstances, a community HIV/AIDS

Nairobi, Kenya for the past few years. The

Cape Town, over 2,000 bikes will have been

volunteer without a bicycle can cover a

staff there have written that the bicycles are

donated to health care workers and other

total of about 8 to 15 kilometres and reach

an invaluable resource for their work, easing

worthy recipients in Africa. Additionally,

approximately 20 to 100 people. Without

the delivery of medicines to children, facili-

riders will have raised over one million

bicycles, HIV/AIDS trained community

tating transportation and communication

dollars for a variety of other charities

outreach volunteers can suffer serious burn-

with farm projects and overcoming financial

and NGOs. In upcoming years, the Tour

out over a period of time due to the taxing

and time constraints that can detract from

d’Afrique Foundation will continue to

physical demands involved in their work.

their efforts at community outreach and

distribute bicycles as a vehicle for improved

cooperation in the larger community.

health and social change in rural Africa.

This is particularly the case when large


In 2003, the Tour d’Afrique set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest human-powered crossing of Africa. In the ten years following that inaugural journey, the tour has been celebrated in Lonely Planet’s A Year of Adventures: A Guide to What, Where and When To Do It and Frommers’ 300 Unmissable Events and Festivals Around The World. The tour has spawned seven books, in English, Dutch and German, a documentary film entitled Where Are You Go? and has been featured in countless newspapers and magazines.

Celebrating ten years of the Tour d’Afrique bicycle race and expedition “I recommend this trip,” one participant writes, “without a moment’s hesitation. This trip will make you appreciate what you have at home. It’ll make you realize what your life has been lacking, make you weep with both joy and sorrow. You will feel more alive than you’ve ever felt, often when wishing you were dead. You will never want to go home, but miss it with all your heart. I could never do it again, but in my head, for the rest of my life, I will be doing it daily.” ISBN 978-0-9811304-1-5

www.tourdafrique.com


10: Celebrating Ten Years Of The Tour d'Afrique Bicycle Race And Expedition