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  1. #1
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    bike for Africa - please help me!

    I'll try and make this quick...

    I'm going to Africa in January to go riding, starting in Egypt and going south. Since my bike has no brakes and has been run over a couple of times I think it might be time to get a new one. In Africa some of the roads will be paved, some will be hard-packed earth, some will be really bumpy, ****ty and hilly, and some sandy - I think I need a mountain or hybrid bike. I'm hoping to got for 7 or 8 months.

    I've been quizzing dudes in bikeshops and have been told that getting a cheap bike from a department store is just as good as getting a bottom-of-the-range bike from a bikeshop. I really have no idea about bikes (though its an interesting learning curve!). If someone has the time, can they tell me if any of these bikes would be OK? (I know there are a lot)... and I know you'll all probably laugh at them, but I don't understand what the difference is between them, appart from price, some have suspension and some have different types of brakes... They're all cheap bikes, I only want a cheap bike.

    Kawasaki Men’s 26" Mountain Bike with Dual Suspension
    Titan Pathfinder Women’s 18-Speed Mountain Bike - 26"
    Women’s Huffy Cavern 15-Speed All-Terrain Bike - 26"
    Forge Vero LS Comfort Bike
    Schwinn 24" Dual Suspension Bike
    Schwinn 26" S-60 DSX Bike
    Women’s Huffy Highland 18-Speed Road Bike - 26"
    Huffy 26" Women’s Avarice Comfort Bike
    Jeep® Hardtail Wrangler Ladies Mountain Bike
    Jeep® Dual Suspension Cherokee® Mountain Bike
    Huffy 26" Women’s Alpine Comfort Bike
    Titan Trailblazer Women’s 21-speed Mountain Bike - 26"
    Titan Punisher Unisex 21-speed Mountain Bike - 26"
    Titan Glacier Unisex 21-speed Mountain Bike - 26"
    Jeep® Cherokee Renegade Mountain Bike

    PLEASE HELP ME! The guys in the bike shops don't seem to take me seriously at all, maybe you won't either given I'm suggesting cycling for 8 months on a $80 bike.

    So I need a steel frame or an aluminium one.... aluminium is lighter?

    Thankyou!!!!!!

  2. #2
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    Is www,target,com the only place you are looking?

    george
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    https://sites.google.com/site/imjibi/home

    Photos of present tour of South East Asia
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  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=Flic]
    PLEASE HELP ME! The guys in the bike shops don't seem to take me seriously at all, maybe you won't either given I'm suggesting cycling for 8 months on a $80 bike.
    QUOTE]

    No wonder, they thingk you are time-wating Troll.
    In the rare event that you really are an Trans-African explorer rather than a Troll, I would suggest a simple, old-fashioned non-suspension steel MTB. A used 1990s style mid-range model from a major brand (Spcialized, Trek) will do the job.
    You will need to spend some money to renew worn components and start with the best tyres you can find.
    If you know nothing about bike touring could I suggest a starter tour to learn how its done.

    The other alternative is to use a local style of bike, the single speed 28" wheel roadster that is used throughout Africa and Asia.

    The bike not to use is a cheap, nasty horrible discount store MTB. It will break and leave you stranded, providing a source of amusement and scap metal for passing cyclists on their Chinese-made roadsters.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    no george, Target's not the only place I'm looking... it just seemed to have the same bikes as the other department stores but cheaper... I was also looking in bike shops...

    Sorry MichaelW, I kind of figured people would be hatin on me a bit... I'm not a troll, I'm just an Aussie kid... who is gunna go on a trans-African adventure, I'm leaving in mid-January... Please take me seriously, everone had to start somewhere right? Could you tell me why a steelframe is better than an aluminium frame? Also, where do I get a second hand bike like that from? Thanks for the tip on trying to use 28" wheels so that it will be easier to get parts if something brakes...

    I would really like to know if there is a big difference between department store bikes and low-end bikes from bike shops... the guy in the bikeshop suggested this to me. If its true, then why would I buy a bike from a bikeshop. I don't want to spend loads because it might get nicked...?

    I'm sorry for asking stupid questions, I was just hoping someone who knew about bikes could give me an honest answer without trying to sell me something, like everyone I have talked to in the shops has...

  5. #5
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    These aren't stupid questions, really. If it is the same bike in a target or local bike shop then there probably isn't a difference. But I have never seen that myself. You don't need an expensive bike to go a long way, but you do need a good one. My wife, not to mention my parents, did all their touring one 1 speed or 3 speed hub bikes. These were rock solid bikes. It is often worse traveling with a bike that doesn't work than walking, you need solid stuff to do a long tour or you will soon find out that a cheap bike is an anchor. On the other hand it doesn't have to be fancy. Look up Hans Stuch (try looking up Hans here), he has traveled further and to more countries and longer than anyone. He uses a really basic bike.

    The problem appears when you want to spend a few hundred bucks for something that really cost about 1000. Mountain bikes with proper brakes gears frames and rims are not cheap. But second hand etc... may well get you what you want.

    So what do you need?

    1) you need to do enough cycling now to figure out what size of bike you fit. And to discover whether you are an off the rack suit kind of guy or someone who needs a more challenging fitting. You could start also by checking out online bike fit calculators. I find the French fit calculators are pretty relevant to touring. Google google.

    2) You need to find a seat that is comfortable. Many seats are terrible. Comfortable for 2-4 hours, but bike touring is long 10-16 hours days of low speed cycling over and over. I like the B-17, but whether that's a good choice for Africa...

    3) You need some serious drive train components. These need to have the right gears for your terrain. While not my favorite, I think you have half a hope of finding, 46, 36, 26; 11-32. These need to be good quality I don't know what the cheapest here is but I would not go below Shimano LX myself. You need a quality chain.

    4) Brakes are real important, but every mountain bike I owned had decent brakes, touring bikes are tougher to outfit with drop bars and sometimes narrow forks. A good cheap brake is the Nashbar canti for 16 dollars a pair, you are probably more likely to find replacement parts for this slightly old fashioned unit.

    5) Wheels are a money pit, really important but probably not in your budget, just go with what the bike had on them, but get a serious bike shop to go over them for you. You need 26" and some good tires.

    6) Frames are where you find them. As mentioned the older MTB frames are perfect. Larger centers often have some cheap bike sources, stores that specialize only in second hand bikes or play it again sports places. Charities. There is probably a Target quality bike thrown out every month in your neighbourhood, check the garbage. Garage sales. Remember cheap is meaningless unless it fits, or provides needed parts. Look at bulletin boards at places like MEC or REI.

    (7) Cycling shoes for trekkers. Really a lot more efficient, but also a big step in ensuring you don't get sore feet in a progressive way. Stiff hiking shoes aren't bad, but the bike shoes aren't much more expensive so who cares.

    8) Learn now how to fix it, how to tear down hubs, bottom brackets, adjust brakes, repair punctures, etc... Looking through a book isn't enough, you will need some tools, and practice.

  6. #6
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    Steel is better than al for touring. It is less likely to crack, the rack attatchment threads are tougher, the frame may be a bit flexier but this make it comfortable. Al touring bikes are very expensive and steel, even budget level steel has a good reputation. You can repair steel using traditional brazing techniques common in most towns and Africans are renound for their ability to fix stuff.
    Modern tourists are returning for steel as material of choice for expensive luggage racks, although Al is still worthy.

    The difference between budget bikes and entry-level proper brand bikes:
    1, materials: branded bikes use better grades of steel and even where they dont, the tubing is more reliably made.
    2. Design: Proper bike designers making proper bikes rather than wannabe MTBs for box-shifting stores. They have the full complement of threaded attachment points vital for relaible touring.
    2. Construction: The joints are better prepared and better made so are stronger and more reliable.
    3. Alignment. Budget bikes are notorious for having their wheels point in different directions.

    Size, fit and saddle are all vital for comfort.
    Most African tourists use traditional pedals rather than modern clipless ones: Clipless pedal systems are expensive and when they break you cannot pedal at all. Traditional platforms have a much better failure mode (they hardly ever break) and can almost always be used. Toe clips will aid efficiency. Trail shoes/boots are plenty stiff enough for expedition cycling.
    The way a bike fails is important for expeditions. You want "graceful degredation" where you can still ride the thing even when broken. Most modern technology works reliably and well but has a poor failure mode eg look for gear shifters with simple actions not fancy trigger switches.

    How hilly is the terrain, most of Africa is fairly flat or rolling but there are mountains in the Rift Valley area.

  7. #7
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    Here is a website I've enjoyed perusing that gives some sense of African expeditionary cycling:
    http://tourdafrique.com/indextour.htm This is not an expensive tour operation when the support crew costs are considered & the 96 cycling days. Especially considering the variability in political situations that are likely to be encountered. I'd rather have someone running interference for me in this kind of situation since the challenge of the ride itself is going to be great, especially starting from the north. We crossed the Nubian desert by train 20 years ago between Khartoum & the southern end of Lake Nassar and it was beautiful and almost completely desolate.

    This fall I worked with a Sudanese in Germany and we cycled together several times. His description of African bikes was interesting: heavy steel frames, sometimes with gears but often not, as good a set of tires & rims as could be afforded (with the expectation of flats) ridden for miles & miles at a leisurely but steady pace.

    Whatever bike you get, make sure it is solid, can be repaired by a decent mechanic/blacksmith and has the best tires/rims you can find...If I were going, I'd look at a steel MTB as recommended by other posters & maybe add an Xtracycle to it to increase stability & create more room.
    centexwoody
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    geez thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into your answers, you've all been really, really helpful. I don't understand everything you said but I'll print it all out and get some help. I really think I should have started figuring this out earlier. Thanks again.

  9. #9
    No longer in Wimbledon... womble's Avatar
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    It sounds like you're aiming to do a shoestring tour- quite admirable.

    I would shy away from most the bikes on your list. Cheap store bikes make big quality sacrifices, usually in terms of components. And in department stores, often in terms of assembly. Poorly assembled cheap parts on a remote tour sound like a recipe for disaster.

    Any of those bikes with a suspension fork should immediately be scrathed from your list. Especially if you intend to carry luggage in panniers. You can't fit racks/panniers on a suspension fork without a lot of expensive fiddling.

    As others have no doubt mentioned, try looking into a good quality secondhand bike. Try the Trading Post. Or ebay.com.au. Craigslist in Oz sucks. Get an older steel or aluminium bike (really doesn't matter which) with no suspension. When you look at the bike, avoid Shimano parts which say Acera or Alivio- look for STX, Deore, LX or if you are really lucky, XT.

    As you are short on time, take the bike to a good store and have it tuned and checked. Then do try to figure out some basic maintenance yourself, otherwise you're quite likely to be stuffed if when something goes wrong with it in Africa (and something will go wrong).

    Sounds like you just haven't found the right store yet, if nobody is taking you seriously. If you are in Sydney, check out Cheeky Monkey next to Central station, but make sure to go outside lunchtime on a weekday as they are busy on weekends. Oh, and if you *are* in Sydney, I'm selling my old tourer there... although for considerably more than any of the bikes you've been looking at so far

  10. #10
    Senior Member jurjan's Avatar
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    flic, i don't want to rain on your parade,
    but please reconsider.
    you sound as if you haven't done much touring. perhaps not even been out of australia before.
    have you thought about the language barrier? yes, some people migth speak english, but most of them wont.
    have you thought about food, sleep, water?
    i don't want to stop you from touring, not even from going to africa (i'd like to go there sometime too), far from it.
    BUT, and i mean this serious: you CAN die in africa. especially if you are not well prepared.
    please be careful with yourself.

    have a nice day
    jurjan

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jurjan
    BUT, and i mean this serious: you CAN die in africa. especially if you are not well prepared.
    please be careful with yourself.
    + 1 you can die even if you ARE well prepared. That's one trip that, having some experience in north Africa, I would never do alone. The people are wonderful but there are many situations and the route will need to be unbelievably well-planned. Instability politically and environmentally would be often encountered with widely-variable local conditions. Need to have someone watching your back, watching your stuff. You can explore all the exciting possibilities via the Web and find experienced Africa tourers but for heavens sake, it is not a continent to approach with naivete.
    centexwoody
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    again thankyou all for the advice. I'm a little anxious about buying a second hand bike because I really don't know if I'll end up buying a piece of crap (though I guess you all think the bikes I was looking at were pieces of crap anyway)... its just, I'm not this hardcore cyclist (obviously!), I find it hard to understand what can really go wrong with a bike besides it getting a puncture, its chain breaking, or its breaks failing...

    I understand and appreciate your concerns about my potential death, and you are correct, I've done no cycle touring at all. But I have travelled a lot (in ok areas, and areas with extensive warnings) and am used to not speaking the language, and all of that.

    I'm gunna go to some more bike shops today and have located a bicycle recycle centre. Thanks again, your help is really, really, uh, helpful.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Something doesn't add up here. If you are in Australia why are you looking to buy a bike from Target, which is an American store?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    we have Target in Australia too. Sometimes the red and white colour scheme is reversed though, but appart from that its the same...

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Don't take offense, but as some one who has traveled around the world you should really rethink the idea of Africa. For you first cycling trip try something like Tilba Tilba to Casino to see if you like cycling and can handle the problems associated with it. If you find you it's not for you, a foreign country with poor infrastructure is the worst place to be.

  16. #16
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    A couple of comments, many of which have been said already....

    • You should absolutely do some short tours before you go. You need to make sure you're comfortable on your bike and that you've worked out all the kinks. The last thing you want to do is ride 2 days out of Cairo and realize you've forgotten several critical items. Or worse yet, that you go 2 days out of Cairo and realize that, well, you don't really like bike touring that much after all.


    • You must be in good shape, physically and mentally, before doing a tour like this. This is not the kind of thing where you can whip yourself into shape in the first week or two of the tour. Also, you will be dealing with extremes of humidity, temperature, poor water supplies and unfamiliar foods, combined with strenuous physical exertion. At this point, you probably don't even realize how much water you need to consume and carry just to avoid basic dehydration while riding.


    • You absolutely need to know a LOT about bicycle maintenance, and carry a lot of supplies. Extra spokes, extra tires, extra cables, extra brake pads. Bike shops will be few and far between, if not downright non-existent, for most of your trip. Many Rwandands resort to wooden bikes, for example. Break yours while you're there without being a repair guru, and you are walking the rest of the way.


    • Doing this project on an $80 bike is, well, absurd.

    Good panniers will cost you more than $80. Good quality cycling clothes -- and yeah, you're going to need them if you plan to tour -- will cost you far more than $80. A good saddle -- and you will definitely need a good one -- will cost you at least $80. The flights are likely to run into the thousands. And odds are good they'll even charge you to take the bike on the plane.


    • The sketch of your itinerary sounds far, far more dangerous than you realize.

    Do NOT be overconfident about your safety and skills in traveling in Africa. If you do "start at Egypt and head south," you'll be in Sudan. In case you missed it, there's an ongoing genocide there, the security and travel infrastructure is shot, anti-government militias control several borders, and the 20-year old civil war that stopped less than a year ago could flare up at any time. The south is littered with land mines from that conflict. Medical facilities are all but non-existent outside of Khartoum.

    To the west is Chad. Terrible choice, as it's hundreds of miles out of the way and home to the Janjaweed, who are committing the genocidal acts against civilians in Sudan. To the east is Eretria, whose own government requires foreigners to get permits to travel outside of Asmara for safety reasons -- so even if you wanted to pass through, they may very well tell you to get lost. If you did somehow make it through, both Eretria and Ethiopia are awash in bandits and left-over land mines from their border dispute.

    Chad. Sudan. Congo. Eritrea. Central African Republic. All issued Travel Warnings by the US State Department. Unless you're a war reporter, Central Africa really is not the place to go right now.

    And let's face it, you will have to carry medicine. And food. And cash. Lots of it, by local standards.

    I'm sorry to be blunt and abrasive, but even if you had touring experience, you'd have to be a total idiot to travel, by bike, alone, with cash, through active war zones littered with land mines, bandits and shattered infrastructure.


    Extensive travel in Africa is a good project to aspire to, and a bad project to plunge into with a cheap bike, no touring experience, no traveling companions, little apparent awareness of the political situations, and a route that goes through large war zones.

    Africa isn't going anywhere. Take the time to gather the experience, know-how and the gear to do it right.

  17. #17
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Don't let the nay-sayers dissuade you Flic. If you want to do it, then do it, but don't rush into it. Try to prepare and research as much as possible.

    You say you're a kid. How old are you?

    And always remember rule number 1: If it looks valuable, it WILL be stolen. Buy an old, used mountainbike.

    By the way, have you thought about all the vaccinations and other medical prep you need before going to Africa? Malaria medication alone needs to be started 3 months before going. Trust me, I spent a chunk of this summer in Tanzania and Zanzibar, and most of that time in the bush.

  18. #18
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    Extensive travel in Africa is a good project to aspire to, and a bad project to plunge into with a cheap bike, no touring experience, no traveling companions, little apparent awareness of the political situations, and a route that goes through large war zones. Africa isn't going anywhere. Take the time to gather the experience, know-how and the gear to do it right.
    That's the best advice anyone has given you so far Flic!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    Again thankyou for your replies, it is really nice of you all to take the time... All advice is much appreciated. I do understand why most of you (all of you?) are dubious.

    Believe it or not (and I don't blame you for not believing) I'm not a total idiot. I have been researching a lot of the stuff regarding political situations, best ways to carry coin, best maps to use etc. I also started my vaccinations today! I'm 23 years old.

    I found this Mountain bike with 26" wheels: Alloy Frame, 21 Speed Shimano Revo Shift Gears, front suspension fork, Stainless Steel Spokes, Alloy Rims and Brakes... is this any good? I know its not Steel...

  20. #20
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flic
    Again thankyou for your replies, it is really nice of you all to take the time... All advice is much appreciated. I do understand why most of you (all of you?) are dubious.

    Believe it or not (and I don't blame you for not believing) I'm not a total idiot. I have been researching a lot of the stuff regarding political situations, best ways to carry coin, best maps to use etc. I also started my vaccinations today! I'm 23 years old.

    I found this Mountain bike with 26" wheels: Alloy Frame, 21 Speed Shimano Revo Shift Gears, front suspension fork, Stainless Steel Spokes, Alloy Rims and Brakes... is this any good? I know its not Steel...
    Okay, here's why I think you are TOTALLY UNPREPARED to make this journey. You did no valuable research on touring bikes before posting here. You found inappropriate bikes on the US WEBSITE of a store which has branches in Australia. You should be looking at the AUSTRALIAN site at the very least.

    This shows me that you don't have the attention to detail and ability to think things through that is needed on a trans-African trip, by bike or by any other means.

    Where have you traveled outside of Australia and for how long?
    Last edited by Ziemas; 12-13-06 at 02:47 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    Well before I posted here I did research the roads over there quite a lot, reading travelogues, looking at maps, scanning Google Earth Traks 4 Africa, and looking at loads and loads of photos which had roads in them. I also went to a few bike shops, including one where a guy I'd met who had ridden around Egypt works sometimes, but he's not around right now - the people in them knew nothing about Africa and couldn't advise me properly - like telling me to go to a department store... I read stuff too, but I don't understand all of it. So I thought I would try and get advice from people who actually understand touring... I'm sorry if I wasted your time with stupid questions...

    Also I realised those bikes came off the US website a few hours later when I was in bed thinking about it. At the time I hadn't realised because the Kmart and Target stores I went to in Australia actually did stock the same bikes. Sorry it was the wrong site, I sort of hoped no one would notice, because theres enough people here who think I'm sketchy as it is...

    In terms of where I have been... Outside of Australia I have been to a fair bit of Europe: Ireland, England, Wales, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, The Czech Republic, Greece and Bulgaria - I have been to some of these places up to 6 times, most recently (last half of 2005) I bought a car and lived in it whilst I and a mate drove 20,000km around these places. I have lived in the USA, I went to University there for a while (Berkeley - believe it or not... my oh my how the standards have slumped I here you say). I have been to Mexico a couple of times. I spent a month or so in Sri Lanka, also been to Thailand a couple of times. Popped into Morocco, been to New Zealand. Thats about it I suppose. I know I havn't exactly been to Africa before...

    I understand how dubious most of you are, and I really don't mind any criticisms, but I don't think anything you say will dissuade me from going, so I would encourage you to offer advice and constructive criticism rather than rubbishing me too much... I hope I don't sound rude.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flic
    Well before I posted here I did research the roads over there quite a lot, reading travelogues, looking at maps, scanning Google Earth Traks 4 Africa, and looking at loads and loads of photos which had roads in them. I also went to a few bike shops, including one where a guy I'd met who had ridden around Egypt works sometimes, but he's not around right now - the people in them knew nothing about Africa and couldn't advise me properly - like telling me to go to a department store... I read stuff too, but I don't understand all of it. So I thought I would try and get advice from people who actually understand touring... I'm sorry if I wasted your time with stupid questions...

    Also I realised those bikes came off the US website a few hours later when I was in bed thinking about it. At the time I hadn't realised because the Kmart and Target stores I went to in Australia actually did stock the same bikes. Sorry it was the wrong site, I sort of hoped no one would notice, because theres enough people here who think I'm sketchy as it is...

    In terms of where I have been... Outside of Australia I have been to a fair bit of Europe: Ireland, England, Wales, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, The Czech Republic, Greece and Bulgaria - I have been to some of these places up to 6 times, most recently (last half of 2005) I bought a car and lived in it whilst I and a mate drove 20,000km around these places. I have lived in the USA, I went to University there for a while (Berkeley - believe it or not... my oh my how the standards have slumped I here you say). I have been to Mexico a couple of times. I spent a month or so in Sri Lanka, also been to Thailand a couple of times. Popped into Morocco, been to New Zealand. Thats about it I suppose. I know I havn't exactly been to Africa before...

    I understand how dubious most of you are, and I really don't mind any criticisms, but I don't think anything you say will dissuade me from going, so I would encourage you to offer advice and constructive criticism rather than rubbishing me too much... I hope I don't sound rude.
    You don't sound rude, just very naive......a package holiday is a lot different from a cycling trip....

  23. #23
    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    Well like I said, I've never been on a cycle tour before, so I guess I am naive...

    I've never been on a package holiday before... and agree that a cycling trip would indeed be vastly different.

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    Senior Member Flic's Avatar
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    oh and I agree with your earlier comment that discovering I don't like cycle touring 2 weeks into a trip with poor infrastructure isn't ideal. Thats why I was hoping to take a cheap bike that I can you know, leave on the side of the road, if I decide I hate it. I'm going to pack my things into a 25Ltr bag and put it on the back of the bike (I have researched the best method to do this by) so it will be easy to carry when I am not with my bike, or if I ditch my bike completely. I know it makes the centre of gravity higher but I talked to a guy who did this and he reckoned he got used to it really quickly, and hey I won't know any different right?

    I know that going on a practice tour might make me realise if I hate it before I go, but I don't really have the time, and am possibly too lazy... (I know I shouldn't have said that)

  25. #25
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    Flic

    Good luck mate, you are going to need it.

    could you post a proposed route please.

    many others had given good advice. But I may repeat some here to just to make sure.

    1. Any ride is possible, on any bike, what you need to do is look at the probabilities, flats, tyres worn out, breakages. Try to at least buy a steel bike!! Cover all the logos etc with masking tape to make it look even worse than it may be.

    Can you change a tube, or patch a tube? Change a tyre? Replace a broken spoke, especially the ones behind the rear cogs ( they have to be removed first). Use a chain breaker and replace links..
    Learn these basics before you go,

    2. Language, lots of people speak French in Africa, can you at least speak a little French? Have you got a book like "Point It" with photos of most stuff you will need, handy to indicate what you need.

    3. Food and Water. Have you the capacity to carry enough, or even more than you may think?
    Look at what kind of food stuffs you can actually buy or acquire in way out places. Water purification and/or filter.

    The more time you spend now on planning and preparing for the worst, the better your trip will be.

    I have only cycled in North Africa, Arab countries, where the people are either very friendly or hate me because I am British ( the Iraq problem), and a couple of times I have had the hairs on the back of my neck raise in apprehension. I have learnt to walk away and not inflame situations.

    take care

    george
    ---------------------------------------------------
    https://sites.google.com/site/imjibi/home

    Photos of present tour of South East Asia
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