Can you imagine cycling the length of the African continent, from Cairo to Cape Town, in just 121 days? That means riding 128km per day, about 20km longer than the Argus cycle tour, for each of the 94 racing days! All of us at T4A take our hats off to Ivan Zimmermann who is one of the contestants in this year’s Tour d’Afrique.
If you would like to learn more about the route these amazing cyclists take then log onto the T4A website and see the map of his route which is sponsored by us.
Participants in this year’s race will cycle through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and finish in South Africa. They will ride 12 076km in 94 days, only resting for 27 days.
These competitors aren’t just your ordinary Joe who has jumped onto a bike to start this ride, but are typically lifestyle athletes with years of exercise, preferably cycling, under their belts.
The route will be challenging and they will have long days. They will have to face extreme weather conditions like high temperatures in the Sudan desert, Sahara windstorms, cold nights and never ending hills in Ethiopia. They will cycle on rough dirt, on gravel roads and on tar roads.
The normal day starts at dawn for them. After coffee and breakfast they will get onto their bikes and start riding. There is a support vehicle that will make sure all participants are okay along the route and supply them with water and energy drinks. Riders will have lunch just past the halfway mark. Shortly after everybody arrived at camp in the afternoon they will have a rider meeting to go over the day’s events and the next day’s route. Immediately after the meeting dinner is served and the riders can relax before they go to bed. They will camp every night; sometimes at organised campsites and sometimes at rough camps with no facilities.
People do the race for different reasons. Some just want to go the distance and experience Africa while others want to win the race. The overall male and female winners are determined by their total cycling time.
Last year David Grosshans from Australia won the race in a total time of 384 hours 41 minutes and Ina de Visser from the Netherlands was the first lady home in a time of 386 hours 8 minutes.
You need a lot of money and even more guts to do the Tour d’Afrique! The entry fee is US$ 14 900 but compared to the cost of diesel it is a cheap way of seeing the continent. You will need approximately 1800 liter diesel to complete the motorised journey south. That would amount to a cost of nearly US$17 304 and then you still have to eat and camp!
Well that shows just how cheaply we are able to acquire energy even in these days of relatively high oil prices. If you doubt this, go out and try to ride 128km on a bike, just for one day, and see which is easier – to work for the time it takes to earn the required money to buy the fuel or to push those pedals around instead!
Starting at the Pyramids in Egypt on 9th January the cyclists headed south along the Red Sea and the Nile River before they entered Sudan via the new land crossing. Ivan is currently cycling through Sudan and from there he will rise to the higher lying Ethiopia. The cyclists will then cross the Equator in Kenya and pedal past the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro, through Tanzania and on to Lake Malawi, Victoria Falls and along the edges of the Kalahari and Namib deserts before they finish in Cape Town.
I fear that the little I say here about Ivan may diminish your understanding of the Herculean efforts he is currently making. You might remember him from the television series like Egoli, Vlug na Egipte and Villa Rosa. He also featured in Afrikaans feature films like the Egoli Movie, Platteland, Verraaiers and Spook van Uniondale. Needless to say he is a keen mountain biker and has a great sense of adventure.
Ivan aims to help collect one can of food for every kilometre of the Tour d’Afrique which means that more than 12 000 cans of food will be collected over the four months from 9 January to 9 May 2015.
According to the organisers of the Can-a-Kilo project this food will be distributed directly into the hands of the people who need it. The food is in aid of the Hanna Charity and Empowerment Foundation, which works with the very poor of all race groups.
If you want to participate, you can find a place near you on the list of places where you can donate your can of food!
We also sponsor
Ivan’s effort is not the only one we support. Have a look at all the other projects that are sponsored by Tracks4Africa!