Henry Gold, founder Tour D’Afrique. All photos courtesy Tour D’Afrique.
Most people facing unemployment at the age of 50 would turn towards the safety and comfort of what they know to get back on their feet. When Henry Gold was in that position, he decided to lead a four month bicycle expedition from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa and organize a race on the same route despite having never bike toured or raced a day in his life at that point. Gold thought his adventure was going to be a one-time thing. Instead, it gave launch to his bike touring company, Tour D’Afrique. Twelve years on, the company offers 10 expeditions and races on six continents. I spoke to Gold about his history working with NGOs around the world, the African bike-manufacturing project he tried to start that helped inspire Tour D’Afrique, the joy and challenges of leading multi-month bike expeditions, and much more.
British Professional adventurer Alastair Humphreys. Photo by Alastair Humphreys.
For most of us, the idea of a months- or years-long expedition feels like an unrealistic dream. Maybe an extended bike tour or thru hike across mountains is appealing, but we convince ourselves it’s what other people do. It’s for someone with more time, more money, more expertise, special circumstances. If Alastair Humphreys is to be believed, however, adventurers are just ordinary people who put a departure date on the calendar and stick to their guns. Given that his accomplishments include riding his bike around the world on a four year tour, rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, walking across India, hiking and packrafting across Iceland, and dragging a specially-built cart across the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter desert, he’s probably a credible source.
Recently, Humphrey’s has worked hard to elevate the notion that adventuring is for everyone by encouraging people to take microadventures. Microadventures are meant to be easy and accessible for all. Leave from work, sleep on a hill under the stars somewhere just outside of the city, get back in time for your morning meeting. For his efforts advocating for everyday adventuring, National Geographic named him a 2012 Adventurer of the Year. I spoke with Humphrey’s about his lifetime of travels, the inspiration for pedaling around the world, how he’s managed to make this into a career, why people should take microadventures, and much more.
Posted in Adventure, Bike Touring, Interviews
Tagged #microadventures, alastair humphreys, bike touring around the world, british adventurers, epic adventure, national geographic adventurer of the year, packrafting, professional adventurer, round the world bike tour
Dutch writer and bicycle tourist Grace Johnson launched a new online magazine this month called Bicycle Traveler. The free (and advertisement-free) digital publication is, as you’d imagine, focused on stories and photography about bicycle touring.
The content in Issue #1 is a bit of a mixed bag. Several of the articles appear to be excerpts from bicycle touring blogs and they read that way. But, the feature article more than makes up for it. It’s about Eric and Jack Attwell, two South African brothers who rode the length of Africa then all the way to London in the 1930s. It is well written and provides a fascinating snapshot of both 1930s bike touring and Africa itself.
I’m looking forward to future issues of the magazine. It’s a respectable and ambitious project, made all that more ambitious by the fact that Johnson and her husband Paul Jeurissen are in the midst of their own world-wide bike tour. The two of them sold their house in the Netherlands in 2010 and set off on the road.
Go check out the Bicycle Traveler site, download the first issue, and explore the magazine for yourself.
Tyler and Tara cruising San Francisco their first week back in the U.S.
In April 2009, Tara Alan and Tyler Kellen set off from Scotland (via Minnesota) to spend two years pedaling their way around a sizable chunk of the Earth on a bike tour they named Going Slowly. In December 2010, after the duo had ridden through Europe, into north Africa, back up through eastern Europe, and driven across Russia, I interviewed them for The Bicycle Story. Since then, Tara and Tyler finished their tour in Southeast Asia and made their way back to the United States. I spoke to them again now that they’ve started to settle back in to see how the rest of the tour went, what it’s like to transition back into the “normal” world after two years of travel, and what their plans are for life off the road. They responded with both words and an amazing array of photographs that do a wonderful job of complementing the stories they tell.