It is not a vacation; it’s a way of life. Pedaling 125 km per day and camping in a foreign wilderness each night seems extreme, but it very quickly becomes routine Cycle touring is the most experiential means of travel. When traveling by car, train, plane or bus you suffer from a displacement effect, waking up in a foreign place with no perception of the spatial variations. Not only does long distance cycling induce natural meditation, it stimulates all your senses. You feel the temperature drop as you relentlessly crank to the summit of each mountain pass.
You smell, or perhaps stop to taste strange foods cooking as you roll through villages that are rarely visited by tourists. You hear the birdsong provide a melody to the tempo of your cardiovascular system. And you observe the flora change across the diverse geography of an entire continent. Exposure to the elements makes you feel alive. This is what creates the Zen of cycle touring. For some the best part is that the daily exercise allows you to eat like a king with complete disregard for your waistline.
Tour d’Afrique Ltd is a cycle tour company named after its flagship program. Based in Toronto, Canada, its specialty is in creating exotic trans-continental cycling adventures. Other products include the Orient Express, Paris to Istanbul, the Silk Route, Istanbul to Beijing and Vuelta Sudamericana, Rio de Janeiro to Quito. But the underlying objective to promote international sustainable transportation is fulfilled by the work of the Tour d’Afrique Foundation. In 2008 with the generous support of the participants the foundation was able to donate 265 bicycles throughout Africa. The recipients include health care workers and other social relief agencies. The bicycle allows the efforts of these people to expand into new remote areas where vehicle access is limited and assistance is rarely delivered. In a world plagued by a dependency on depleting fossil fuels these cyclists not only prove that you can go anywhere on a bike, but they also give something back to the incredible places through which they travel.
Related: JPFreek Rocks da Rockies!
* Special thanks to Randy Pielsticker & Tour d’Afrique for their contribution of this article and photos to JPFreek
* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.