I've been fortunate enough to write some fun, feature articles where I could express my creative side.

Starting Line: Tour D'Afrique 15th Anniversary Edition Begins

After much anticipation, the Tour D’Afrique’s 15th Anniversary Edition is well underway. The group cycled past the Pyramids of Giza as the Sphinx looked on, and then continued southbound out of Cairo on Friday (the 13th… bad omen?!). As with any cycling tour of this magnitude, the days leading up to the group’s departure were not without their challenges – mainly car batteries being stolen right out the front of the hotel, several bicycles that got lost in transit somewhere along the way before

The First Two Weeks Of The Tour d'Afrique: Done & Dusted

The First Two Weeks Of The Tour d’Afrique: Done & Dusted Well here we are in sunny Dongola, Sudan – where the locals are friendly, the food is delicious and the bugs are annoying as hell. Two weeks into the 2017 Tour d’Afrique and there are quite a few things that have become the norm. First of all, 7:30pm has become an acceptable bedtime – in fact, going to bed any time after 8pm makes you a night owl. Everyone has developed a healthy sun tan, however these tans tend to get abruptly cut off

Dirt, Thorns and Lolly Water: Desert Sands and the Countdown to Our Next Beer

Dirt, Thorns and Lolly Water: Desert Sands and the Countdown to Our Next Beer Desert Sands, arguably the most challenging section of this year’s Tour d’Afrique, has drawn to a close at the Sudan-Ethiopian border. The riders arrived at camp Thursday February 9 after six long and gruelling riding days from Khartoum, three of which were on very corrugated, uneven, sandy and often misleading dirt tracks with lots of little thorns that like to wriggle their way into your tyres (and lots of little ki

The Human Geography of Africa: Getting Off the Beaten Track

The Human Geography of Africa: Getting Off the Beaten Track During some downtime by the edge of Lake Naivasha (a solid day’s cycling west from Nairobi, Kenya), I sat down with Tour d’Afrique 2017 rider Ed Phelps from Arlington, Virginia to discuss his bike, cycling Yosemite hiking trails in the 80’s, and experiencing the “human geography of Africa”. Ed is one of our strongest riders on tour, somehow managing to be among the first handful of cyclists into camp every night while also brandishing

Wheels For Freedom: The Tour d’Afrique Bicycle Donation Ceremony in Kampala

Wheels For Freedom: The Tour d’Afrique Bicycle Donation Ceremony in Kampala “The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure at heart.” – Renowned Irish novelist Iris Murdoch. The 2017 Tour d’Afrique cycled west out of Nairobi last week and, after some exciting riding days across the equator and the Ugandan border, arrived in Kampala. This brand new section of the tour has not only granted us the inc

Cycling the Tropics of Equatorial Africa

Winston Churchill once referred to Uganda as the “Pearl of Africa”, and after cycling through the central African nation, it’s not difficult to see why the nickname stuck. I’m pretty confident I can speak for everyone else currently travelling on the 15th Anniversary Tour d’Afrique when I say that we all have similar praises for Rwanda, where we’ve just spent the last few days cycling through the countryside and relaxing in the capital, Kigali. As a first-time staff member on a TDA Global Cycli

Rubber On Concrete, Sand, Mud and Dirt: Schwalbe Tires In Africa

Rubber On Concrete, Sand, Mud and Dirt: Schwalbe Tires In Africa Unfortunately, flat tires are a reality of cycling, whether you are a long distance cyclist, a weekend mountain biker, or you just enjoy casually cycling from your house down to the beach every once in a while. But when you are cycling 11,500km from Cairo to Cape Town via 11 countries over 4 months on a vast variety of challenging terrains, flat tires are not something you want to be dealing with every other day. This is why the

Tour d’Afrique: The Ultimate Social Experiment

Here we are in Mbeya after a tough seven-day stretch through the heart of Tanzania from Arusha. Why was it tough? There was a lot of climbing, it was mostly dirt road which meant a lot of sand, mud and rocks, and there were several longer-than-usual riding days. The upside of this is that we took the road less travelled through Tanzania and were exposed to aspects of the culture (not to mention giraffes, baboons and other fantastic wildlife) that we would have missed had we cycled along a dull

Experiencing Africa From The Saddle

On the Tour d’Afrique, everyone has a different approach to how they experience Africa. On any given tour, some riders have been to the unique continent before, and many have not. Every five or six days, we have a rest day somewhere notable along the route, like a capital city or a particularly beautiful lakeside location like Ssese Island in Uganda or Chitimba Beach in Malawi. All the days in between, however, the Tour d’Afrique participants are cycling anywhere from 90km to 175km a day, alon

Standing in No Man’s Land: The Border Crossings of Tour d’Afrique

Standing in No Man’s Land: The Border Crossings of Tour d’Afrique Border crossings suck – there’s no debating that. But at least in Africa you get some pretty interesting ones. Today, for example, several of our Tour d’Afrique cyclists jumped off a 128m bridge (relax, it was a bungee jump… the Tour d’Afrique isn’t THAT challenging) in no man’s land between Zambia and Zimbabwe – technically they were in neither country. The Zambia-Zimbabwe border has been one of the more interesting ones so far

The 3 Underestimates Of The Tour d’Afrique’s Final Section

The 3 Underestimates Of The Tour d’Afrique’s Final Section Another year, another epic achievement for a large group of driven individuals who were willing to push the boundaries and challenge themselves. This was the fifteenth year that people from all over the world flew into Cairo with the goal of cycling all the way down to the southern tip of the continent, and every year throws different curveballs at the Tour d’Afrique. This year we skipped Ethiopia, but most would agree that the scenic

Magical Madagascar Begins

Well, here it is – TDA Global Cycling’s inaugural cycling tour of Madagascar, perhaps one of Africa’s most exotic countries, has begun. Getting to the starting line was a bit of an adventure in itself. While there are more and more international flights popping up that fly directly to Antananarivo (some flew into the capital of Madagascar directly from Europe, for example), often a stopover in Nairobi, Addis Ababa, or Johannesburg is required, depending on where you are flying from. Then a sma

The Perfect Day: Cycling Through the Rainforests of Madagascar

The Perfect Day: Cycling Through the Rainforests of Madagascar Yesterday, while cycling from the lunch spot to our swanky hotel in the mountainous rainforest area of Ranomafana, I was having such an incredible day that I decided the best way to give people an insight to how things are going on the 2017 Magical Madagascar tour in the next blog was to simply describe the day from beginning to end. So here goes… it started with the hotel breakfast – an assortment of breads and croissants with but

Five Questionable Modes Of Transport At The Halfway Point Of Magical Madagascar

Five Questionable Modes Of Transport At The Halfway Point Of Magical Madagascar Three weeks in, TDA’s inaugural cycling tour of Madagascar is at its halfway point. After reaching Miandrivazo last week (roughly 200km south-west of Antananarivo, the nation’s capital), we ditched our bicycles in exchange for a two-day boat cruise down the Tsiribihina River. Rather than the usual “hop on your bike and cycle LEFT out of camp” routine, after breakfast we all managed to pile into a couple of prehisto

The Halfway Point: Baobab Alley Behind Us And Tsingy Road Ahead

The Halfway Point: Baobab Alley Behind Us And Tsingy Road Ahead This most recent stint of cycling from Morondava to Antananarivo has included some of the toughest cycling since we left Ifaty on Day 1 nearly a month ago. Steep climbs, rocky terrain and hot and humid weather have been the main factors in this, but luckily the pay-off for these conditions is that beautiful scenery is a constant, as is the warm hospitality of the locals, and the dense population of Madagascar means that a Coke stop

Schwalbe & Madagascar: A Perfect Pairing

The first time TDA Global Cycling does a new tour in a country previously unknown to the organization, there’s always a possibility that there will be some surprises. Luckily, the inaugural 2017 Magical Madagascar tour hasn’t had too many of them, however there are a few stretches of dirt road here and there that have deteriorated a little since our Tour Leader scouted the route exactly a year ago. The country seems to be having an unusually dry year, and this has had an effect on the few sandy

The Hard Work, Positive Attitude And Interesting Insight Of The Malagasi Support Crew

The Hard Work, Positive Attitude And Interesting Insight Of The Malagasi Support Crew As is the case with many of TDA Global Cycling’s tours around the world, the Magical Madagascar tour has a local tour company helping out as well as the crew employed directly by TDA. While the TDA crew manage the initial scouting, logistics, hotel bookings, grocery shopping and all that side of things, the Malagasi crew drive the buses that set up roadside lunches and transport the bags and equipment, they ac

Sharing Laughs, Triumphs and Km’s: The TDA Alumni Community

Whenever TDA Global Cycling does a new tour for the first time, it always generates a lot of interest – especially among the organization’s enthusiastic alumni. The alumni thing never fails to amaze me – how 15 years of hosting cycling tours around the globe has created this well-connected community of serious cyclists and off-the-beaten-track adventure junkies alike who not only stay in touch long after the tours are over, but arrange to meet up again on other tours and share new experiences on

Cycling China: Not As Hectic As You’ve Been Lead To Believe

Cycling China: Not As Hectic As You’ve Been Lead To Believe China is prone to a lot of preconceptions from Westerners, and while many are warranted, some of them seem to have materialised out of thin air. Speaking of air, pollution is usually one of the first topics that springs to mind when China is brought up in conversation. This one is 100% warranted. I don’t want to start off on a negative note, but I was in China for a whole week before I saw a shadow. I know this sounds bizarre, but thi

China: Bonding Despite Language Barriers

As is the case with any TDA Global Cycling trip, many of the most memorable moments for riders occur at times when you’re not sitting on the saddle. The other common theme in “most memorable moments” from these trips is that they always seem to include interactions with locals, of which there has been no shortage of on the 2017 Bamboo Road tour so far… not surprising when you consider that we are cycling through a country of nearly 1.4 billion people. It only took a day or two of cycling out o
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