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bike for Africa - please help me!

Old 12-26-06, 07:43 PM
  #176  
Dahon.Steve
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In her book, Miles from No Where, the late Barbara Savage discusses her trip in northern Africa. There was a part where she would have been raped if it were not for her husband who fought off the attackers. They didn't even attempt to travel all the way through and it was dangerous enough.

Everyone talks about the technical specs of the bike as being the upmost important. What is equally important is what weapon she intends to carry.
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Old 12-27-06, 12:41 AM
  #177  
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Well Flic, I don't believe in giving advice.......

When you make it half way, stop at our house outside of Arusha, Tanzania. We live 1 km off the Cape to Cairo road.
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Old 12-27-06, 04:26 AM
  #178  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
In her book, Miles from No Where, the late Barbara Savage discusses her trip in northern Africa. There was a part where she would have been raped if it were not for her husband who fought off the attackers. They didn't even attempt to travel all the way through and it was dangerous enough.

Everyone talks about the technical specs of the bike as being the upmost important. What is equally important is what weapon she intends to carry.
You haven't traveled much in the third world, have you?

Whatever you do, DON"T TAKE A WEAPON! The last thing you want is some bored customs officer, cop, or military man finding your weapon.

If you feel that you need a weapon rather than your wits to keep you safe you should just stay at home and watch National Geographic on television.
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Old 12-27-06, 07:10 AM
  #179  
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Originally Posted by slim_77
So, lesson learned: contact your embassy--in advance--and keep them posted of your plans and ask advice about routes.
I had to laugh at this one...I was entering the Serb-Croat (whatever) civil war and stopped by the Canadian consulate in Vienna for advice. They said "We do not suggest you go and we will not help you if you get in trouble".

I took the train when I heard what I thought was artillery.
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Old 12-27-06, 09:34 AM
  #180  
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Why waste the time of embassy staff when parents or friends can keep track of your progress?

e.g. I think it'll take me 5 days to get to the next town with internet cafe/mobile phone coverage so I'll add 3 days on to that and tell my parents/friends that if they haven't received word from me after 8 days then I'm (possibly) in trouble somewhere between town A and town B and they should then make enquiries through the embassy.

I don't think the embassy of any country would be mounting a full scale search for a tourist missing for a few days. I know that the British embassy wouldn't as they simply don't have the resources.

Best source of knowledge when travelling is and will always be the local people/police/military and not the embassy tucked away in a fortified compound in the capital city or any foriegn government advisory. Government advisories will only tell you if your insurance company will pay up if you do get into a spot of bother (most won't pay up if the government of your home country advises against all travel to a country or specific region).

I agree with Ziemas - absolutely do not even consider carrying a weapon through Africa as bags will be searched at most border crossings and often at checkpoints within countries. Carrying a weapon would only increase the chances of someone using one on you. Probably more likely someone would use your weapon on you.

The ignorance shown on htis thread is both comic and dangerous.
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Old 12-27-06, 12:47 PM
  #181  
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Originally Posted by slim_77
Excellent points. I have some travel experience in western nations but I have a colleague and brother that has traveled into the edges of visible safety.

So, lesson learned: contact your embassy--in advance--and keep them posted of your plans and ask advice about routes. (Sorry if this was posted like 4 pages ago, I got tired of reading...)

Also, tatoo your flag on your forearm so they know what embassy to being you for a speedy recovery!
You gotta be joking Slim:
-Ask Embassy staff about routes for riding a bicycle? They have NO clue except where luxury hotels are.
-I have been at parties when the embassy staff are discussing our kind of travelers. Anyone who travels by bike make embassy staff lives miserable they say.

If I listened to the embassy I would desert my wife, roll up my windows, lock the door, and catch the next plane "home".
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Old 12-27-06, 08:56 PM
  #182  
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Originally Posted by Ziemas
You haven't traveled much in the third world, have you?

Whatever you do, DON"T TAKE A WEAPON! The last thing you want is some bored customs officer, cop, or military man finding your weapon.

If you feel that you need a weapon rather than your wits to keep you safe you should just stay at home and watch National Geographic on television.
There are ways you can construct a weapon from separate parts and assembled during the trip. It doesn't have to be a gun to be a weapon folks. Barbara Savage would have been raped without her husband and may not have returned back alive. It's not ignorant trying to denfend oneself and a home made weapon is better than nothing.
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Old 12-27-06, 10:14 PM
  #183  
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I think the things like the Savage story and the others mentioned need to be kept in the context of *when* they occurred. There are currently things happening in many countries that have not happened before because of insurgencies of one kind or another, and they represent similar, but different dangers to a cycle-touring female. Carrying a weapon is not a solution to safety. Being astute in your judgments is a much better course of action.

Just to make sure... I would have been as critical of Flic and her choices in timing and bicycling even if she had been intent on cycling from Adelaide to Darwin, or from Cape York to Cairns, or across the Tanami Desert, or along the Canning Stock Route, or even parts of the Maroondah Highway. They are all in Australia. Australia has as many dangers as any other continent; mostly they are natural, and in those cases, the weather is as dangeous as anything else. There are human dangers, too... there is one prominent current case under appeal dealing with the murder of an English tourist in a remote Northern Territory location.

Indeed, there are areas of Melbourne and Sydney that I would not advise any female cyclist to traverse because of the people who occupy those suburbs and their attitudes to females and property in particular.

In the absence of on-the-ground and *current* information from the quite significant number of countries she intends to visit, Flic has been advised to make use of the various web-based services that are available to ensure she is fully conversant with what is happening and what might happen. Even then, there are no guarantees, as 89 Australians and around 110 others from around the world found out when they were killed in the Bali bombing in 2002. And yes, it also is true that young people perceive themselves as having an invincibility... the same invincibility that sees so many killed in car accidents (how many P-platers and young drivers have been killed, Flic, in Australia since the school holidays started?).

My central concern with Flic, however, is the apparant lack of preparation for the African trip from a cycling and adventuring point of view. The fact that it took around 160 posts on a thread for her to be able to buy a bike indicates this lack of preparation and insight. The fact that she did not even recall the brand of her bike also indicates to me a lack of comprehension and concern about her ability to even read a map and signpost -- a fundamental to travelling *anywhere* in the world.

Eight months on a bicycle is a long time, especially starting in the tropics and traversing territory that is unfamiliar to a rider. I will concede that eight months also is plenty of time to find out about how to ride a bike.

But if she fails to follow through with the bike, her portrayal is likely to be more as a failed bicycle tourist... when the bike is a merely a whim, a prop, in this adventure. If she does get herself in strife, the coverage in Australia will be" "Cyclist rescued" rather than "Tourist rescued". For many people, the former headline unjustifiably reflects badly on us yet again as irresponsible members of the community.

You know the salute deal with me, Flic. Take care out there, and I urge you not to take unnecessary risks so you actually do succeed. And I am sure there will always be advice here should you need it (or not). Good luck.
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Old 12-28-06, 12:06 AM
  #184  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
There are ways you can construct a weapon from separate parts and assembled during the trip. It doesn't have to be a gun to be a weapon folks. Barbara Savage would have been raped without her husband and may not have returned back alive. It's not ignorant trying to denfend oneself and a home made weapon is better than nothing.
This is a serious question; have you ever traveled in third world countries?
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Old 12-29-06, 12:54 AM
  #185  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
In her book, Miles from No Where, the late Barbara Savage discusses her trip in northern Africa. There was a part where she would have been raped if it were not for her husband who fought off the attackers. They didn't even attempt to travel all the way through and it was dangerous enough.

Everyone talks about the technical specs of the bike as being the upmost important. What is equally important is what weapon she intends to carry.
I gotta say, having just finished that book, you have a completely unrelated memory of the incident in question. Three guys rode up on a motorcycle and made some crude suggestions, but at no point did they lay a hand on her. The impression I got was that some of the Muslim men in Egypt made some assumptions about her because she was riding a bike. Basically, she was so far out of their experience that they didn't have a socially ingrained way of dealing with her, but as soon as she and her husband made it clear their attention was unwelcome, they left her alone. It was FAR from being a "near ****."


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Old 12-30-06, 12:46 AM
  #186  
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you have a completely unrelated memory of the incident in question.
Funny, I thought the same thing when reading that post but I did not have the book here to reread it.

The overall message of
Miles From Nowhere Miles From Nowhere
is that the world out there beyond the borders is not so terrifying. Barbara Savage was tragically killed while training for a triathlon in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara.

If you carry a weapon you will, more than likely, find yourself in a situation where you will need it.
If you do not carry a weapon you will, more than likely, find ways to avoid needing one.
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Old 12-31-06, 03:44 PM
  #187  
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From miles from nowhere:

"They climbed off the motorcycle and stood close to me. Then one of the men motioned for me to go into the bushes with him; but before the man's words and gestures had time to register in my brain, Lary's fist had exploaded in the side of the man's face"

They didn't lay a hand on her because her husband puched one of them in the face. Larry knew those men wanted to **** Barbara and he didn't wait until they started ripping her clothes off before he became violent! She also grabed her bicycle pump in case they decided to attack at one time.

Ask yourself these questions. Why did they ask her to go into the bushes with him? What would have happened if she were all by herself when those men approached her and told her to lay down in those bushes?

My memory was quite fine and she was nearly raped. That man who asked her to go into the bushes wanted to **** her. If her husband were not there to defend Barbara, the book might never have been written. If these men carried any weapon, both would not have returned back alive. They were even luckier those men didn't fight back because they were outnumbered three to one.
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Old 12-31-06, 05:47 PM
  #188  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
From miles from nowhere:

"They climbed off the motorcycle and stood close to me. Then one of the men motioned for me to go into the bushes with him; but before the man's words and gestures had time to register in my brain, Lary's fist had exploaded in the side of the man's face"

They didn't lay a hand on her because her husband puched one of them in the face. Larry knew those men wanted to **** Barbara and he didn't wait until they started ripping her clothes off before he became violent! She also grabed her bicycle pump in case they decided to attack at one time.

Ask yourself these questions. Why did they ask her to go into the bushes with him? What would have happened if she were all by herself when those men approached her and told her to lay down in those bushes?

My memory was quite fine and she was nearly raped. That man who asked her to go into the bushes wanted to **** her. If her husband were not there to defend Barbara, the book might never have been written. If these men carried any weapon, both would not have returned back alive. They were even luckier those men didn't fight back because they were outnumbered three to one.
So to sum it all up they didn't need a weapon. Thanks for clarifying that.
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Old 12-31-06, 06:08 PM
  #189  
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This is totally bizarre. Weapons while bike touring? Weapons while on holidays? Get over the adolescent male fantasies, please.

If you must, post on the new thread I've just started.

And happy new year.
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Old 01-01-07, 02:37 AM
  #190  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
From miles from nowhere:

"They climbed off the motorcycle and stood close to me. Then one of the men motioned for me to go into the bushes with him; but before the man's words and gestures had time to register in my brain, Lary's fist had exploaded in the side of the man's face"

They didn't lay a hand on her because her husband puched one of them in the face. Larry knew those men wanted to **** Barbara and he didn't wait until they started ripping her clothes off before he became violent! She also grabed her bicycle pump in case they decided to attack at one time.

Ask yourself these questions. Why did they ask her to go into the bushes with him? What would have happened if she were all by herself when those men approached her and told her to lay down in those bushes?

My memory was quite fine and she was nearly raped. That man who asked her to go into the bushes wanted to **** her. If her husband were not there to defend Barbara, the book might never have been written. If these men carried any weapon, both would not have returned back alive. They were even luckier those men didn't fight back because they were outnumbered three to one.

I'm afraid I don't see how you could possibly get **** from that. He made a suggestive motion. He was being crude and rude, but that is hardly the same as threatening violence. I am willing to bet that if she (or her husband) has simply let them know their advances were unwelcome, they would have left. More to the point, if they had been planing violence, they are unlikely to have simply run away because he hit one of them.

I'm sorry, but the way you are reading that shows a distrust of people which is awfully pessimistic.


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Old 01-01-07, 12:28 PM
  #191  
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I await the amusing FARK headline describing your imminent failure.

Seriously, take a step back and look at this nonsense:

-No previous biking experience,
-No bike or bike repair knowledge,
-A plan that could not be more vague,
-"Start in Egypt and head south",
-"I am hella brave and lucky".

Lucky?! Oh dear....

As much as I appreciate your aspirations and motivation, you would be a fool to seriously consider such a trip right now. You need to do some serious research and training before you jump into this nonsense, otherwise, you are inevitably destined for a long, sobering walk back. That is, if injury or death doesn't get you first.
Because you work in an 'outdoors store' does not mean you have the knowledge or experience necessary for such an expedition. Your nievete astounds me.

Get the facts, get the experience, get the knowledge, get a PLAN.
Save the people the time, effort, and expense of conducting the search and rescue mission.

...and if this is a joke, well played! You duped me!
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Old 01-01-07, 03:40 PM
  #192  
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Originally Posted by Flic
I agree with the rest of you, I lived in the US and never felt unsafe, even wandering around Oakland which is supposedly sketchy at 4:00am was never a problem (catching buses that always left at that time)... but I'm sure there are sketchy bits somewhere... And similarly there are sketchy bits of Africa too.
The problem is when you find the sketchy bits, your ability to rely on luck and the adventurous spirit to pull you through diminishes rapidly. You have a rosy view of Oakland. I've lived there for 10 years. Oakland isn't the hell that the media depicts, but you were lucky... wandering around Oakland at 4AM was a stupid thing to do. At the point where you enter a sketchy area it's experience and training that pull you through, which you don't seem to have. When I first started reading your posts, I thought you were 10 years old, with the level of naivety about bikes... moreso the naivety of planning a tour of Africa with no bike experience.

I wouldn't tour the U.S. (a place where it's a lot easier to find someone to fix your bike) unless I:
-knew how to replace spokes & true a wheel.
-Repack bearings including hubs. If you've got a cartridge BB, pray that that doesn't go in the bush.
-Have the tools for this.
-Know my upper cycling limits. Figuring these out the hard way isn't a luxury you can afford when you're leagues from the nearest hospital.
-Know the distances from cities where parts may be available, or a full shop. I can't imagine what this would be like in Africa.
-People are giving you great advice on water, but that's in the best shape, probably from people in good shape for touring already. If you sustain injury, you're going to need more water.

Other advice:
-Don't push your knees.
-Know where the hills are.
-Spend some quality time with your family before you go.
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Old 01-01-07, 03:51 PM
  #193  
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Originally Posted by jankon73
I await the amusing FARK headline describing your imminent failure.

Seriously, take a step back and look at this nonsense:

-No previous biking experience,
-No bike or bike repair knowledge,
-A plan that could not be more vague,
-"Start in Egypt and head south",
-"I am hella brave and lucky".

Lucky?! Oh dear....

As much as I appreciate your aspirations and motivation, you would be a fool to seriously consider such a trip right now. You need to do some serious research and training before you jump into this nonsense, otherwise, you are inevitably destined for a long, sobering walk back. That is, if injury or death doesn't get you first.
Because you work in an 'outdoors store' does not mean you have the knowledge or experience necessary for such an expedition. Your nievete astounds me.

Get the facts, get the experience, get the knowledge, get a PLAN.
Save the people the time, effort, and expense of conducting the search and rescue mission.

...and if this is a joke, well played! You duped me!

+1
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Old 01-02-07, 04:04 PM
  #194  
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Flic, have you given any thought to how you are going to handle your period while riding your bicycle through Africa for 8 months?
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Old 01-02-07, 04:11 PM
  #195  
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flic

most of the female tourists I know use

https://www.mooncup.co.uk/menstrual_cup_whatisit.html

george
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Old 01-04-07, 12:36 AM
  #196  
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Originally Posted by jibi
flic

most of the female tourists I know use

https://www.mooncup.co.uk/menstrual_cup_whatisit.html

george
+1

My wife is extremely enthusiastic about her mooncup, uses the brand referred to above. Says it is dramatically better for anything active, for travel and for camping.

----- EDIT -----
Actually she uses a different brand - see below.
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Old 01-04-07, 12:54 AM
  #197  
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Two questions about this mooncup ....

What do women do with it, with regards to emptying and cleaning it, when they are in the middle of nowhere with no public toilet facilities? You can't just empty it out into a stream or onto the ground! Do the women collect it all in a waterbottle or something until they do get back into civilization again?

How comfortable is that stem for cycling?
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Old 01-04-07, 01:08 AM
  #198  
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What do you do when you need to go to the toilet in the middle of nowhere? Same issues with any bodily waste disposal, bury 15cm or more deep, 100m or more away from habitation or water sources. Far less of an issue than pads or tampons, as the cup needs to be emptied only 3-4 times per day (on a heavy day) and there is no cotton to dispose of.

Needs to be washed out between uses - use a dedicated water bottle. Needs a more thorough clean before/after each cycle.

The stem is not an issue, the cup sits a fair way up (I'm told) - as my wife says "either you're wearing the cup wrong or you're wearing the bike wrong"

[edit] Apparently some brands have longer stems that benefit from being trimmed [/edit]

The main issue would be insertion, apparently position and relaxation can be issues. She has always been able to wait a few hours until we reach a public toilet (we haven't done any remote camping together). She thinks it is much more convenient and comfortable than tampons. Also, much easier to carry "just in case".
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Old 01-04-07, 01:28 AM
  #199  
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Hey, she just got home, she can tall you 1st hand:

Well, the cup needs to be changed a lot less frequently than pads or tampons. I get down to twice a day at the lighter end of my period. Now that I have been using the cup a few months, I find it just as quick as changing a tampon and a LOT more convenient in terms of not needing to carry or deal with bits of used cotton! Just deal with the contents as any other toileting issue. I carry a water bottle and wash out the cup and reinsert - no mess, no fuss.

Admittedly, the down side of cups is that it can take a while to get used to it. It took me about three cycles before I felt really confident with it and stopped carrying a spare tampon just in case. The time it takes to insert at the beginning is also a bit of a pain, and some people have issues with leakage, especially post-vaginal birth. For all the detail you ever wanted to know, and more, try looking for the livejournal discussion board about menstrual cups at livejournal.com. It is all there in gory living detail, complete with pictures! Most of us there have come to the conclusion that it is SO worth the initial "teething troubles" once you get the hang of it. Diva cups (US brand) has a one year money back guarantee so if you don't like it, there's no risk.

I actually have a "Lunette" from Finland which has the softest stem but most Diva cup or Mooncup (UK) users just cut the stem off. There is also a "Moon cup" which is made by a US company to copy the UK version by the ones who make the "Keeper". Don't get a keeper - they are made of latex rubber and can cause allergies. The others mentioned are all medical grade silicone.

Thanks sweetie, you were right that I would want to tell everyone about my cup, but you can talk to your friends again now.
- E
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Old 01-04-07, 06:23 AM
  #200  
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My partner Lin says much the same. find using the mooncup is much more comfortable than other methods, and can ride without discomfort.

She sometimes uses, like Josie Drew, a poncho to go to the toilet at the side of the road, squats inside like a peruvian woman.

For cleaning it she squirts water from a bidon if there is nothing else around, but ususally we are at a campsite or B&B with better facilities.
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