Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tour d'Afrique for Bicycle Adventures

For those who enjoy cycling and camping, Tour d'Afrique ( provides plenty of choice in overseas adventures. The company, based in Toronto, started out offering a bicycle tour from Cairo to Capetown, the length of Africa. They still offer this option, but have added many others.
I learned about the company by attending a very interesting illustrated lecture in Montreal by Victor Breedon. I had seen the lecture announcement, about a tour by bicycle from Istanbul to Samarkand, and knew I couldn't miss it. The Silk Road through Central Asia is one of my dream trips. I assumed Mr. Breedon would be a young man who had done the trip on his own, which would be a remarkable accomplishment. To my surprise he turned out to be 60-something, and to have done the trip with a group, still a remarkable accomplishment. He said that the trip, which lasted about two months, cost in the region of $6,000.
The entire Silk Road trip goes all the way to Beijing, but it is possible to take only some segments of the route, as Mr. Breedon did. Tour d'Afrique also has other routes through South America, North America, Europe and Asia. Most of them involve some camping and some nights spent in hotels. Buses accompany the bikers and provide refuge for those who become exhausted en route. Crossing the Andes or the KaraKum desert as their trips do, I would be in the bus all the time I suspect.
For the more adventurous, though, these tours sound like a very good deal. Be prepared for rugged conditions--on Mr. Breedon's trip they went through about a week when they were not able to bathe, and as for toilets, best not to ask. I wish someone would offer a Silk Road trip on donkeys or camels.

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