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From Cairo to Cape Town: Cycling across Africa


Jim Bamboulis, producer
November 14, 2011 — A Toronto-based company is helping cyclists power their way across continents, including Africa. Still, participants must adapt to the weather conditions along the way.


Cyclists have to contend with hot temperatures and hours of sunlight
Cyclists have to contend with hot temperatures and hours of sunlight

Tour d'Afrique Ltd. is a Toronto based company named for its flagship cycling tour.

“The Tour D'Afrique is a 12,000 km bicycle expedition across Africa,” says Shanny Hill, Organizer of the event. “It goes from Cairo to Cape Town every year, and in 2012 it will be the 10th anniversary of this tour.”

The company's mission is to create events that appeal to cyclists of all levels, to cross continents and subcontinents under human power, and to do good while having fun. Still, the event also comes with its share of challenges, including adapting to the weather conditions.

“Coming from Canada it can be tough to adjust to the climate,” explains Hill. “We are sort of fortunate to start in Egypt during the time of the year when it's quite cool. The mornings can mean that the riders are wearing a long-sleeved jacket. So, they ease into the temperatures a little bit, but as soon as we enter the Sudan temperatures increase drastically.And we're cycling through the desert and it becomes quite dry.”

Still, Hill says that there are things participants can do to help them adjust. He says putting on sunscreen, getting shade when possible and staying hydrated are key on the Tour d'Afrique.

Staying hydrated is key on the Tour d'Afrique
Staying hydrated is key on the Tour d'Afrique

“Doing all those regular things are that much more important in conditions like this,” he adds.

Those participating in the next tour have mixed emotions about the challenge they're about to take on.

“Some days I'm just ecstatic. Other days, terrified. And it just goes back and forth like a pendulum,” says Gizele Price, a 2012 participant. “At any given moment I don't know what I'm doing, why I'm doing this. There's days where you just know you have to do it. So yes, it's a mix of everything.”

“I think I'm doing the gamut of emotions. I've gone through nervous, excitement, apprehension, giddiness, fear. You name it, I've felt it,” says Nora Reynolds, another 2012 participant. “Excitement rules out; that's the reason that would keep me going and focused.”

For more information on this and other Trans-Continental bicycle tours and races, visit www.tourdafrique.com

With files from Lyndsay Morrison

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