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So... I want to bring a bike to Africa

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So... I want to bring a bike to Africa

Old 09-23-08, 07:33 AM
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brett jerk
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So... I want to bring a bike to Africa

I'll be living in Lesotho, a land island of a country located completely inside of South Africa. Some roads will be paved. Most will not.

I'd prefer to bring a singlespeed as there will be a lot less stuff to break on it and I've been riding a fixed gear for the better part of two years, so I'm pretty well adjusted to that whole thing (Most of those two years were spent in the relatively hilly north-east US). I would definitely like a flip-flop hub, in case something goes wrong with the brakes and I don't have access to the parts right away, I'd like to be able to ride it fixed when necessary.

I'm looking at something that either already has a full rack on it, or one that I can mount a rack on. Also helpful would be room for a decent set of cyclocross style tires and full fenders (maybe mudflaps?)
Another caveat is that I am 6'4 and weigh 215 lbs or so, so I'll need a tall and beefy bike (something that can take a lot of abuse is pretty necessary for my riding style stateside, so think bombproof for the ride I'd bring to Africa).
I want to be able to do a lot of touring and commuting on this bike.
The bike would also have to be less than a thousand dollars, as that's the most I could potentially get together for my bike, and at best would be significantly less (think 500-800).
I'm definitely handy with the wrench and already own every tool possible (more or less) for working on the bike, so that won't be much of an issue, and putting it together piecemeal (if that would be cheaper) would be very OK with me.

So... what would you guys recommend for my adventure? The lbs' near me don't really carry anything other than road bikes (delaware doesn't have much but flat land) and I don't know anything about bikes that are prebuilt (I've really only bought parts and built bikes up myself, never bought anything like a complete... and all the frames I've owned were used).

THANKS!
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Old 09-23-08, 08:29 AM
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Surly cross check frame! Incredibly solid and versatile. I love mine, though I have it in a geared touring setup. I've seem some amazing single speed builds on that frame.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:32 AM
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Kona's thought about this. Hell, buy one and two spares. When you leave you can leave them and make someone quite happy.

-Rob.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:53 AM
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Sounds like you want a steamroller, although I'm not sure if it has fender mounts or not.
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Old 09-23-08, 09:20 AM
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sounds like you need a MTB friendo.
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Old 09-23-08, 09:22 AM
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could always go the BD route with a fantom cross uno...

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/uno.htm

comes with a flip-flop hug with both a freewheel and a fixed cog so you don't have to worry about that
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Old 09-23-08, 10:32 AM
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uke
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I can't believe I'm the first person to ask what you'll be doing in Lesotho. Education? Job? Pleasure?
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Old 09-23-08, 11:17 AM
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Cool! Well yeah you have options. The Kona Africa Bike is pretty cool. The Wheelhouse Detroit rents them and they're a blast to ride. I haven't found a place that sells them but read the story behind them.

Otherwise, I thought maybe the Redline 9-2-5 would be decent.

Any cyclo-cross bike would be great too!
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Old 09-23-08, 04:16 PM
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I'm going there to be a teacher for the Peace Corps! I'm super pumped.


I was thinking about the steamroller or the cross check and throwing the parts I alread have on it. Africa bike is cool, but I want something I can ride a little more agressively
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Old 09-23-08, 04:41 PM
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i think you should seriously consider 26" wheels.
700c tubes/tires/rims may be impossible to find.
26" is the general consensus for expedition touring bikes for pretty much this reason.
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Old 09-23-08, 05:00 PM
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Specialized Singlecross.
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Old 09-23-08, 05:33 PM
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i think you should seriously consider 26" wheels.
700c tubes/tires/rims may be impossible to find.
26" is the general consensus for expedition touring bikes for pretty much this reason.
That's actually a really good point.
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Old 09-23-08, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by brett jerk View Post
I'm going there to be a teacher for the Peace Corps! I'm super pumped.

English? Math? That's awesome!
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Old 09-23-08, 06:45 PM
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take a chrome pista concept w/ riser bars and pink deep v's - you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
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Old 09-23-08, 06:57 PM
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I spent 13 weeks this summer in Tanzania (East Africa) as a teacher. I taught Biology and Photography at a secondary school out in the bush. It was a incredible, and I would think everyday how awesome it would have been to have a bike.

Though I've never been to Lesotho, I know it is infrastructurally similar to Tanzania. AND I know that the roads are AWFUL. The best road in Tanzania was worse than the worst road in all of my city. We're talking pot-craters, no wimpy pot-holes. Many of the roads are impassable during the long rains. You don't know bad roads until you've waded in waist-deep water in hippo country.

You will need a mountain bike.

OR you could just buy a bike when you get there. They're inexpensive and you could avoid all the airplane hassle. You're going to stick out like a sore thumb, anyway, but a fancy American bike is just going to add to it. THAT and it will probably be stolen. I would really recommend just buying one there for like $50. They will appreciate your patronage and be very happy that you want to live the way they do. I mean that.

Congratulations on your choice to go to Lesotho. You're really going to have an amazing, life-changing time. As soon as I get my degree (in two years) I am going to move to Tanzania for a couple of years and teach.
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Old 09-23-08, 07:01 PM
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I think I agree with the above advice of getting one when you get there. You could get one of the cool ones with the double top tube!
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Old 09-23-08, 07:10 PM
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I'd recommend to bring lots of extra parts that you MIGHT want/need


tubes, tires, cogs? brake pads, etc...

think about availability of parts for repairs!
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Old 09-23-08, 07:21 PM
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First, congratulations on signing up for "the toughest job you'll ever love" and good luck with it. Second, doesn't the PC provide many of its volunteers bikes? You might not need to purchase one. Thirdly, Racaryu has a good point. A bike like you want will be stolen. Also, such a 'luxury' might not be in line with living like the locals.

Enjoy your adventure.
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Old 09-23-08, 07:48 PM
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Hey guys. Thanks for the advice regarding it being a luxury, but judging from the amount of people who are currently in lesotho/have been volunteers there who have macbooks ipods and all sorts of other fancy expensive stuff, I'm not real concerned with that aspect of it.

Lesotho also has much better roads and such than most impoverished nations.

It is possible that I will be given a mountainbike, but it will be a really crappy trek frame, I'm looking to do some serious rides while I'm out there, and while a full mtb might be nice at times, it would suck for touring, so I'd much rather have a cyclocross style bike that I could do touring on and still get some decent mileage. I'd be able to use a lot of things I already have, like a wheelset, brakes and stuff, I'd really just need the frame

I'm not completely sure that I'll bring anything out there, but I'd like to know what people recommend if I'm given the opportunity to go out there with one.

At worst I'll bring my own seat, a rack, some cork tape, my bike gloves, some patch kits and tubes as well as my tools. These I can use to perform surgery on whatever bike I get out there (I will definitely consider picking one up locally, but this may not be an option).

Also, I would definitely bring a full set of tools and a whole lot of spare parts

ps: it'll be teaching English
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Old 09-23-08, 07:53 PM
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i just bought a motobecane jury frame from bikeisland.com and i think it might be good for that. it has clearance for larger tires and also comes with holes for fenders
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Old 09-24-08, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by brett jerk View Post
Hey guys. Thanks for the advice regarding it being a luxury, but judging from the amount of people who are currently in lesotho/have been volunteers there who have macbooks ipods and all sorts of other fancy expensive stuff, I'm not real concerned with that aspect of it.

Lesotho also has much better roads and such than most impoverished nations.

It is possible that I will be given a mountainbike, but it will be a really crappy trek frame, I'm looking to do some serious rides while I'm out there, and while a full mtb might be nice at times, it would suck for touring, so I'd much rather have a cyclocross style bike that I could do touring on and still get some decent mileage. I'd be able to use a lot of things I already have, like a wheelset, brakes and stuff, I'd really just need the frame

I'm not completely sure that I'll bring anything out there, but I'd like to know what people recommend if I'm given the opportunity to go out there with one.

At worst I'll bring my own seat, a rack, some cork tape, my bike gloves, some patch kits and tubes as well as my tools. These I can use to perform surgery on whatever bike I get out there (I will definitely consider picking one up locally, but this may not be an option).

Also, I would definitely bring a full set of tools and a whole lot of spare parts

ps: it'll be teaching English
Hey, if that's what you want, go for it! Honestly, sure you won't be totally living like a 'local', but really that's impossible to achieve. I've lived in Brazil for a while and no matter how 'local' I got, there would be some other reason to characterize me as an outsider, so whatever.

On the positive side to having a nicer bike is that it will be reliable. I'm positive that there are probably a few places in Africa that I'd rather not be stranded for fear of many things (lions, wildebeests, hippos, rhinos, hooligans, etc.)

Good luck! A side note, is the PC as hard to get into as I've heard?
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Old 09-25-08, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by malpag3 View Post
Hey, if that's what you want, go for it! Honestly, sure you won't be totally living like a 'local', but really that's impossible to achieve. I've lived in Brazil for a while and no matter how 'local' I got, there would be some other reason to characterize me as an outsider, so whatever.

On the positive side to having a nicer bike is that it will be reliable. I'm positive that there are probably a few places in Africa that I'd rather not be stranded for fear of many things (lions, wildebeests, hippos, rhinos, hooligans, etc.)

Good luck! A side note, is the PC as hard to get into as I've heard?
Yes and no. It depends on very specific qualities that change dynamically along with what they need. They're certainly more selective than they were in the 60s and 70s. I've met a lot of people that are very smart and hard workers who were denied by the PC, but really, they let me in, so they can't be ALL that selective (They are very big on cultural relativity and at least half of my interview was devoted to this concept)

It was supposed to be my "fallback" as far as the things I was applying to my senior year, after the interview it was my first pick. I must say they are REALLY efficient, easily the best run/most on top of their stuff entity I've ever interacted with. They called me within the week to offer me a job and have fedexed me all sorts of info on the country i'm going with and just packets of well laid out information on what I'll be doing and how to deal with debts while I'm abroad and everything else. Their website has all sorts of resources once you become an invitee (what they call someone who is yet to be shipped out).
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Old 12-01-08, 04:50 AM
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Seems to me you should go with mtn bike .

I went to Tanzania for similar reasons in 1977 and "stayed on". But mtn bikes were readily available at the time so i walked and bused and drove.
Even though roads are better in Lesotho go with a mtn bike as:
- tyres will be easier to find
- you can ride anywhere
- commuting allows you freedom to use trails, side of road, ride over potholes
-it is a better bike to leave behind.
-

I would buy 2 bottles per year of SLIME. Too many thorns to ride without flat protection.

I have a road bike and mtn bike but if i had to have one i would go mtn.
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Old 12-01-08, 05:17 AM
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@ the OP'er .
you may want to contact this person about cycling in lesotho and availability of parts cycle shops etc .
seems this cat has done it all
https://www.cyclingaroundtheworld.nl/...ie_lesotho.htm

all the best of your adventures .
Cheers
T
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Old 12-01-08, 09:36 AM
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Bikes Direct has the JURY track fame that can take racks, fenders and tires as wide as 42c and can be built up rather cheaply like you requested. Comes in a bunch of colors. It's a bit of a strange frame because of the wheel clearance but sounds exactly what your looking for. I have one, it's not bad.

https://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=1184

Good luck


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