New Book celebrates 10 years of the Tour d’Afrique

The Tour d'Afrique celebrates ten yearsThe Tour d’Afrique is a legendary cycling event that runs from Cairo to Cape Town on an annual basis. Covering more than 7500 miles, and requiring four months to complete, the Tour is a popular “bucket list” item for adventure travelers and cyclists the world over. This year, the Tour d’Afrique commemorates its tenth anniversary, and to celebrate, the company behind the epic event has released a fantastic coffee table book entitled 10: Celebrating Ten Years of the Tour d’Afrique Bicycle Race and Expedition.

The book begins with a forward written by Tour founder Henry Gold. A decade ago, when he first pitched the idea of a bike ride across Africa, Gold was met with skepticism to say the least. Many thought that it simply wasn’t possible for an event like this one to exist and he was regularly told he was crazy for even considering it. Ten year later, Gold has turned his idea into a yearly event, and his adventure travel company produces similar cycling tours in a host of other locations across the globe.

10 is filled with stories from the road, as riders share tales, quotes, and anecdotes of their own experiences from the Tour. For some, it was a life altering experience for others an adventure of a lifetime, but no one who has taken part in the journey has come away unchanged. Their words are likely to inspire readers to want to join Tour as well, and even if you haven’t been on a bike in years, you may find yourself dreaming of pedaling under African skies. The book doesn’t try to hide the challenges of the ride, which range from oppressive heat to unexpected downpours, not to mention ever changing road conditions, but the amazing beauty of Africa and the camaraderie that is formed amongst the riders, will have a universal appeal all the same.

If the words of the riders don’t inspire you than perhaps the amazing photographs contained in this book will. 10 is a visual love letter to cycling, adventure travel, and most importantly, Africa itself. The 252 page volume is packed with breathtaking images that have been compiled over the past decade and capture the spirit of the Tour very well. Not only do those photos show the day-to-day experiences of the ride, but they also manage to convey a sense of wonder at the countries and environments that the riders pass through, as well as the people that live there.

If you have a cyclist or adventure traveler on your holiday shopping list, than this book is sure to be a hit. Just be warned, after reading it, they may feel compelled to join the ride themselves. Africa is most definitely calling.

Tour Belgium breweries by bike

A new Belgium bike tour will take you to the country's best breweriesCycling tours continue to grow in popularity as active travelers discover the joys of exploring a destination in a slower, yet very immersive fashion. Riders have the opportunity to take in more scenery, commune with nature, and interact more directly with locals, as they pedal their way through a variety of countries all over the world. But a company called ExperiencePlus! is putting their own spin on the cycling tour, offering travelers a chance to visit the best breweries in Belgium by bike.

Beginning and ending in Brussels, the 8-day tour will feature daily rides of 30 to 45 miles. The route will take the riders into the Flanders region in the first few days, before winding through the French-speaking Wallonia area near the end. Along the way, they’ll sample a number of popular beers in Bruges and visit historic breweries run by Trappist monks in the idyllic countryside. The tour will also pass through historic World War II battlefields as well, giving visitors a chance to experience history of a completely different kind.

Joining the riders will be Jeff Lebesch, founder and former owner of New Belgium Brewing, makers of the popular Fat Tire beers. Lebesch is himself a master beer brewer, and he’ll help introduce the riders to the wide variety of beers they’ll be sampling on the tour.

ExperiencePlus! says that this tour doesn’t require any special cycling skills nor do riders need to be in great shape. The terrain is described as “gentle,” which opens this particular tour up to just about anyone who would like to experience Belgium, and its beer, in a unique way.

I think this sounds like an incredibly fun tour and it sounds like it will appeal to a wide variety of travelers. After all, who doesn’t like bikes and beer? Lets just hope that they give you plenty of time to enjoy the latter before climbing back aboard the former. Make sure you have your travel insurance paid up before setting off on this one folks!

For more on this bikes and beers tour, click here.

[Photo credit: Brosen via WikiMedia Commons]

Are you ready for a once in a lifetime cycling holiday?

Enjoy a once in a lifetime cycling holiday in 2012Pedalers Pub and Grille may sound like a place where you’d stop for some grub after a long day riding your bike, but in actually, its an adventure travel company that specializes in cycling holidays to some of the best destinations on the planet. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, the company has just announced a new tour that will take riders on an eight month, six continent odyssey that will truly be a once in a lifetime experience.

The trip will begin with a “get acquainted” ride through Vermont, which will give everyone who signs up for the tour a chance to get to know one another before the real excitement begins. That shakedown cruise will also give travelers an opportunity to work out the bugs of the trip, such as learning what to carry with them on their daily rides, how to pack and unpack the bikes, and how to endure the rigors of the open road.

From there, the route will take cyclists across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, and Central America, before eventually returning to the United States. In all, they will ride will through nearly 30 countries, including Ireland, France, Italy, Egypt, Kenya, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, and more. They’ll average anywhere form 45-60 miles (80-100km) per day on mostly paved roads with the occasional dirt track as well.

The Once In A Lifetime Tour won’t get underway until June of 2012, which gives you plenty of time to save your pennies. With a price tag of $95,000 the trip doesn’t come cheap, but that price does include all accommodations, most meals, all transportation costs, guides, tours, and even a custom built bike.

If you happen to have $100k and 8 months of free time coming your way, you may want to consider joining this trip. If nothing else, it sure seems like it’ll live up to its name and truly be a once in a lifetime experience.

[Photo credit: Pedalers Pub and Grille]

2011 Tour d’Afrique heads toward Sudan

The 2011 Tour d'Afrique is underwayThe 2011 edition of the Tour d’Afrique got underway last week when more than 40 cyclists from all over the world set out from Cairo, Egypt on a four month long epic ride through Africa. The annual event has become a favorite amongst adventure travelers looking for a unique way to experience that continents cultural and natural wonders, while also challenging themselves physically along the way.

Each year, the Tour begins in Egypt and heads south, passing through ten countries along its well planned route. The riders spend 95 days in the saddle, with 23 rest days scattered across the schedule as well. Factor in 2 days of travel by ferry and you have 120 days of adventure that eventually culminates at the finish line in Cape Town, South Africa. All told, the journey covers nearly 7500 miles with the cyclists averaging roughly 77 miles per day.

Last Sunday, the riders hit the road for this year’s edition of the Tour, rolling past the Great Pyramids of Giza before heading out into the Sahara Desert for their first few days of the ride. Over the past week, their route has taken them to the shores of the Red Sea, past sprawling sand dunes, and along the fabled Nile River, all the way to Aswan. Once there, they boarded a ferry for a long ride across Lake Nasser, departing on the other side in Sudan, where they’ll continue their ride today. For updates on their progress so far and througout the entire Tour, check out the offical blog of the event.

The Tour d’Afrique has become the premiere adventure cycling tour in the world, but it is a little too late to join the 2011 edition, at least for the full ride. Cyclists can elect to take on various stages of the Tour, which offer a much shorter, and less expensive, but just as adventurous option for cycling in Africa. These segments are roughly 18 days in length and include such options as “The Gorge,” which runs from Khartoum to Addis Ababa or the “Masai Steppe,” which connects Nairobi to Mbeya. For an overview of the available stages, click here.

If you missed this year’s Tour but are interested in riding in 2012, keep an eye on the official website for announcement about the future of the race. Even though the riders just got underway, next year’s edition is already in the planning stages.

[Photo credit: Kristian Pletten]

Flip winter the bird with a great adventure travel contest!

Sacred Rides and GoPro offer quite the adventure travel contestThe holidays are long past, you’re back at the daily grind, and the country has been dumped on with way to much snow. Admit it, you’re sick of winter already and could use an adventurous escape. Fortunately, I’ve got just what you need in the form of a travel contest that will let you flip the bird at winter.

Adventure travel company Sacred Rides has joined forces with GoPro Cameras, to send one lucky winner, and a companion, on a week long mountain biking holiday through Central or South America. The winner of the Flip Winter The Bird Contest gets to choose between Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, or Argentina as their destination, and then they’ll be off to explore the many great singletrack options that the country has to offer. The various options include mountain biking of course, but in Mexico the trip will also offer regular yoga workouts as well. In Guatemala, the riders will get a taste of Mayan culture, while a visit to Chile gives them a chance to surf the Pacific Coast. Argentina makes it a multi-sport adventure by adding whitewater rafting to the itinerary as well.

To enter the contest, simply go to this page and fill out the form. Those entering must be at least 18 years of age and entries are being accepted until the end of the day on February 11th.

Sacred Rides is a travel company that specializes in organizing mountain biking excursions across the globe. Besides offering rides at the destination in this contest, they also offer trips to Peru, Canada, Eastern Europe, and more. If you’re looking for a unique cycling adventure for your next vacation, perhaps a sacred ride might be in order.

[Photo credit: Andy Armstrong via WikiMedia]