The cycle ride

Post script

Two months after finishing in Cape Town, although our own productivity levels have tapered off somewhat, a few journalists have taken some interest in our trip and written their own accounts of our journey. In South African press: http://traveller24.news24.com/Explore/Couple-undertake-epic-year-long-cycle-from-China-to-SA-20150528 And in the UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3112066/Spider-bites-military-checkpoints-white-knuckle-ride-Tunnel-Death-Thrill-seeking-couple-cycles-11-000-MILES-gruelling-trek-China-South-Africa.html A word from our sponsors: http://www.kathmandu.co.nz/summit-club/stories/cycling-china-south-africa And from Chobe National Park: https://afktravel.com/93765/from-china-to-cape-town-cycling-couple-shares-impressions-of-chobe-detour/

Africa in five

Below is an attempt to condense the African leg of our trip – from Cairo to Cape Town – into a five minute video.    

Our year in pictures

We thought our arrival into Cape Town Waterfront warranted a final blog post, on account of all those who were good enough to be there last Monday and deliver the warm welcome home. Below are a few photos from our final moments of the trip and beneath that, some which tell the story of how we ended up there. […]

The End

If you sit on a bicycle in western China and ride it for 18,226 km you should eventually end up somewhere near Cape Town in South Africa. And that’s exactly what we did. After 326 days, 17 countries, an inordinate amount of coca-cola and a few hiccups along the way, we rolled into Cape Town […]

Closing in

As we cycled over the Orange River into South Africa, we could immediately sense crossing a frontier into this most famous of African nations; we could almost taste the exquisite wines, almost feel the immense sporting pride and almost hear the frustrations toward an inept government. The more tangible indicator however, was the much welcomed distance […]

The Fish River Canyon

Namibia’s Fish River has a few unique attributes. Firstly, there is water running down it, which, based on our experience of this country, is a rarity.  Secondly, it lays claim to be Namibia’s longest river, although given the aforementioned observation, doesn’t exactly face stiff competition in this department. The most notable feature of the Fish […]

The Namibian Kicker

As we entered the penultimate country of this ride, we lulled ourselves into a false sense of being close to our finish line. A quick calculation though, revealed that we still had one-sixth of our total mileage to cover and Namibia it turns out, is not particularly conducive to swift travel by bicycle. This is a […]

Africa’s crossroads

International border crossings have become standard practice for us now and generally pass without incident or effort. It was with this complacency that we floated across the Zambezi River – on a platform of questionable buoyancy – toward an area of the world that can probably be considered as expert-level border crossing. Standing in Botswana, […]

The Routine

This footage was taken some months ago in the Eastern Desert of Egypt, between the Nile River and the Red Sea. It will hopefully give some insight into our daily routine over the last few months.    

The two Queens

Queen Victoria did a pretty solid job at securing a legacy for herself, what with all those lakes, stations, mountains, cities and concert halls named in her honour. She must have been particularly pleased with herself though, the day she found out that she had also bagged naming rights on the waterfalls. Victoria Falls lies […]

Stormy outlook

Something we had been particularly boastful of until recently was that during the first seven months of this trip we had experienced only seven days of rain. However, it seems that the rainy season of central Africa is so called for a very good reason. As a result, our otherwise uneventful kilometres through Zambia have […]

The untold stories

It has been brought to our attention that this blog is perhaps presenting a fairly rose-tinted view of our last eight months. Therefore, in the interest of unbiased reporting and to show what lies behind the smiles and the sunsets, we have compiled a series of photos which should illustrate the somewhat less glamorous side of cycling from […]

The Rocky Road to Dodoma

An invisible boundary seems to exist in Tanzania, separating the gin-and-tonic-drinking, land-cruising safari goers of the north, and the far more rugged, relatively untouched centre of the country. Both areas have their merits, but one is certainly far less appropriate for travel by bicycle. In a quite significant route selection error on our part, we […]

The Ngorongoro Crater

Given the nature of this trip, our primary objective on any given day is to keep our wheels turning and (crucially) pointing in the right direction, so as a general rule of thumb we seldom deviate more than 10km from our route for any sight or attraction. However, on account of our first wedding anniversary […]

Good places and good people

The ride from Nairobi in southern Kenya, to Arusha in northern Tanzania was a cracker. The roads were quiet, the scenery spectacular and the people of the Maasai tribe who populate the region made for a very unique and colourful sight along the way. Even the border crossing was a breeze (and actually quite enjoyable), as […]

Kathmandu can

For a reason that will forever remain uncertain (but yet fiercely contested), we managed to lose our tent poles somewhere in northern Ethiopia. Since then, we have been without our trusty and ever-dependable Kathmandu tent; a situation which was going to make our onward journey down Africa somewhat trickier. However, thanks to the thoroughly good […]

Kenyan Driving Lessons

Our entry into Kenya was through the post-apocalyptic border town of Moyale, which provided nothing more than a list of compelling reasons to depart as swiftly as possible. Since beginning this trip we had debated the feasibility of the notorious northern Kenya stretch, as it presented perhaps the most pressing security concerns of anywhere we […]

Hard yards for everyone

The southern third of Ethiopia wasn’t particularly easy going for us; the roads deteriorated into a dusty mess, the terrain remained high and hilly, and the lively locals somehow became even more boisterous than those in the north. All combined to serve up some challenging conditions which would result in our longest and hungriest days in […]

Highs and lows

Ethiopia is proving to be quite a surprise package for cycling, just so long as you’re not one to shy away from the odd hill climb. Each day we find ourselves riding through some spectacular landscapes which could easily be mistaken for the Swiss Alps or Grand Canyon. Most notably, the magnificent 40km stretch through […]

Ethiopia, 2007

After passing through what can best be described as a less-than-watertight border crossing, we left the smiling Sudanese behind and departed a country we’ll remember fondly, though with a cuisine we’ll be happy to forget. The contrast once into Ethiopia was immediate; as the strict Muslim way of life was replaced by a conspicuously more […]

The Khartoum gauntlet

It is hard to imagine that anything could adequately prepare you for a bicycle approach into the city of Khartoum – as an experience, it fell  exactly between exhilarating and traumatic. We found ourselves racing to beat the setting sun as we approached the outskirts of the chaos, which ultimately turned out to be a […]

No bicycle required

As Sudan is entering winter at the moment, the temperature has plummeted to a frosty 39 degrees centigrade, which – if nothing else – has settled the question of whether this exercise would provide any level of enjoyment during the height of summer. As we made our way across some desolate terrain, and despite being reminded by […]

Northern Sudan

Our preparations for entry into Sudan were neither straightforward nor particularly cheap, and so we were relieved to have finally made it over the land border from Egypt. Once safely in however, more admin followed with the mandatory foreigner registration process at the local police station. There was some confusion during this final phase, between […]

Getting out

We made a cracking pace through Egypt, due in no small part to the excellent roads and favourable winds. Southern Egypt provided us some logistical challenges as we worked for permission to pass on roads without an escort, but persistence paid off and after signing our own indemnity we enjoyed some secluded riding through pretty […]

Rude Awakening

One recurring feature which seems to dominate a journey of this nature is the uncertainty of where exactly each day will end. When not required to camp out, we frequently find ourselves settling for the night in some quite hideous establishments, which could claim only a very loose association with the hospitality industry. Occasionally however, we […]

Cheerio Cairo

Our feelings towards Cairo have been largely of indifference. Having been here a week, we have still yet to find anything that could reasonably pass for a city centre – and we have had plenty of time to look for one, from the discomfort of some incredibly slow moving traffic. Evidence of the recent political […]