If you’re interested in starting next year with a bang and have a spare four months (not to mention four and a half grand) kicking round, you could spend it doing a 10,500k (6,600 mile) biking tour of Africa. The Tour d’Afrique is due to set off from the Great Pyramid at Giza on January 18, and end up at the Cape of Good Hope on May 18.
Organisers have called the tour “cycling’s equivalent of conquering Everest”, though we’re not clear exactly what they’re basing that claim on, other than the tour being a bloody long slog that averages 105 km (66 miles) per day with 20 rest days. Like some other long distance biking events the tour is part race-part expedition as organisers expect both pros (to race) and amateurs to take part. The only condition of entry is that you are over 18 years of age and pass a medical test.
Although it’s named the Tour d’Afrique, in effect the trip passes down the right-hand side of the continent. Participants will travel through 11 countries in all, along a route taking in game reserves, the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, Ethiopia’s Simians Mountains and the edge of the Kalahari. Mountain bikes are the recommended stead, though any human-powered vehicle is allowed as the trip is partly a celebration of human-powered transport.
There are a total of two hundred places available on the trip but already 36 places, including to a man of 61 and over a dozen women, have gone in Canada, where the tour was first announced.
And the catch? Well apart from the kilos of antiseptic cream you’ll be needing, if there is one it’s in the hefty entry fee of US$7,000 or £4,523 each, and that doesn’t include your flight costs, but it does include all the support you’ll need once on the trip.
While first and foremost an athletic event, the Tour d’Afrique does also aim to raise funds to “promote environmental, ecological and educational charities throughout Africa”. Just five percent of the entry fee goes to these charities but co-organiser Michael de Jong hopes donations from non-entrants will bump up the sum raised to a million dollars.
For more info on the ride go to the Tour’s firstname.lastname@example.org.