Archive for January, 2010

Tour d’Afrique Review

Hello everyone,

Myself, Jose, Erika, and Sherif (Helwan) decided to join the Tour D’Afrique group for their inaugural ride which started on saturday at the pyramids and ended in Ein-Sukhna about 120km. This group of 70 riders will be traveling from Cairo to Cape Town, a total of 12,000km over a period of 4 months with a total of 96 riding days. They have support vehicles follow them that provide them with breakfast, a lunch stop and dinner upon arrival each night. Other than that, the riders provide their own tents, visas for each country and have to setup and breakdown their own tents everyday as well with no showers or bathrooms for 4 months. All this for the give away price of just 8000 EURO!

So, in true Egyptian fashion we were supposed to meet at the pyramids at 7am which of course we did and we were ready to go, only to find that no one else was there. we thought they would arrive any minute and we would get to cycling, but they did not. Any minute turned into 8:30am. We then rode up to the pyramids plateau for a ceremony, pictures and television interviews all the while wondering when the hell this ride was going to start. Finally a 9:30am they corralled everyone and we were off, finally we were riding, well not quite. We had police escorts from the pyramids all the way to the entrance of ein sukhna toll road which blocked cars and kept us all together. The problem was we were riding 10km/hr, plus a few flats, plus erika and I get scolded by the tour leader for rolling slightly ahead of him at the front of the pack (I was scolded 3 times to be precise), we then arrived to the toll road at 11:30am, I repeat 11:30am, two hours to travel 20km.

We were finally let loose and we took off, well I should say Sherif(Helwan) took off with Jose and Erica following, leaving me behind! I had the last laugh though as Sherif(Helwan) in his infinite cycling wisdom never thought of bringing water with him, so half way there he started dying off and getting muscle cramps in his quads and Jose ended up getting a flat which allowed me to catch them all.

We met quite a few people from, Canada, USA, Europe, Australia and South Africa on the ride and all varieties of bikes with probably 50% mountain bikes, 40% hybrids and 10% road bikes. I would not have wanted to have a mountain bike for this stage of the tour. After lunch we were leaving Ein-Sukhna at around 5:30pm and saw people still arriving on their bikes from 9:30am. Some of these people have never really trained for anything like this and most were not avid cyclists. I foresee some difficult days ahead!

Last I heard Sherif (Helwan) has recovered and has arrived first on each of the rest of the stages on his way to Sudan. his tour of Egypt was almost non existent if it were not for a last minute save by Dave Marlowe providing Sherif with a chainring replacement, so thank you dave for the rescue! I also gave sherif my water bottle to continue his tour without further dehydration.

Fun times on the bikes once again, but if you consider doing the ride one day i suggest a hybrid bike with two sets of wheels (road and mountain) if you want to enjoy every one of those 96 days. Being independently wealthy and being able to not work for 4 months may also come in handy.

See you on the road
Roberto

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