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Old 10-20-09, 03:58 PM   #1
mtclifford
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Anyone have any touring experiences in East Afria?

Hello all. I was wondering if anyone had any experiences with touring in East Africa, particularly Uganda. I currently have an opportunity to live there a couple of years and wondering if bringing the bike along is worth it.

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Old 10-20-09, 05:37 PM   #2
nancy sv
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We lived in Ethiopia for seven years and LOVED it! East Africa is a very special place. Ethiopia is known for its stone-throwing kids, so I fairly quickly discovered that I didn't enjoy the cycling all that much. My husband, on the other hand, loved it there and went out for rides every single weekend. Uganda isn't known for stone-throwing kids, so I suspect the biking there would be wonderful!
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Old 10-20-09, 05:52 PM   #3
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I went to east Africa in 1995 and 1999 for a total of about three months. I've been to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and just across the border into (the country formerly known as) Zaire. It's been a decade since my last visit, but based on what I saw at that time I would not plan to bring a bicycle. Here are a couple of reasons:

1) Any bike you bring will be worth 100-1000X more than the best local bicycle. As such, it will be a huge target for thieves.

2) Most roads are extremely rough and road signs are non-existent. Finding your way around can be difficult at best.

3) Traffic is a killer. Literally. Right of way is determined by vehicle size and nobody in a motorized vehicle seems to have much respect for bicycles. Traffic accidents are often fatal due to the lack of ambulance service and long distances between medical facilities. The more remote you are, the less likely you are to encounter traffic; traffic in and around big cities can be particularly chaotic.

If it were me, I'd go sans bike and scope out the situation once I was in-country. If you decide you still want to ride, buy a bike once you're there. It may not be state-of-the-art, but it also won't stand out as a target for theft. If you have to bring a bike, I'd suggest a cheap, used mountain bike.
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Old 10-20-09, 10:53 PM   #4
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While I haven't toured in Uganda, I have spend quite a bit of time there and have done a little cycling. I strongly recommend a 26'' wheel bike. A Surly LHT would be a great fit. That’s what I should have brought. Also consider extra parts/supplies; second wheel set, extra tires, tubes, spokes etc... replacements are incredibly expensive and can be hard to find outside of Kampala. I remember seeing 26 inch tubes in a supermarket for $12. Basically just bring everything you think you might possibly need.
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Old 10-20-09, 11:16 PM   #5
ernok1923
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while i have no persnol information on touring in east africa, there was a thread on this forum a few years back about a young woman wanting to tour africa with little to no bike exprience. the thread started out as an equipment-based question, but evolved into much much more.

here is the thread:
bike for Africa - please help me!

and here is the o.p.'s website about her african touring experience:
http://www.wanderingword.com/nucleus/rad.php

don't know if they will help, but they might shed some light on touring in this part of the world. not trying to deissuade you from touring there by any means, but could be some useful information.
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Old 10-22-09, 09:15 AM   #6
mtclifford
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Well, this morning I called the Peace Corp and accepted my invitation to Uganda. I am debating on whether to bring the bike with me initially or have a visitor bring it a year after I leave. I will actually be using an African style single speed bike for transportation while I am there, issued by the Peace Corp, but it will hardly be useful for touring. I am leaving Febuary 8th, and hope to have a blog up about my experiences by then. Who knows I might even finish my journal about the GAP and C&O by then.
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Old 10-22-09, 09:46 AM   #7
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Andrew Morgan is from the states; he cycled through C. America and S. America and is in Uganda now. Send him a message, he's seems to be a very nice guy. His site: http://teacherontwowheels.com/

Congrats on your invitation and acceptance to the Peace Corp.
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