A couple of months ago I decided that I needed a challenge for my 60th birthday, which happens early in 2013. I am not sure whether it was by luck or folly that I came across the Tour d’Afrique. And I can’t recall exactly how I first came across it – must be a sign of age. I currently live in Africa so I was probably googling cycling tours in Africa. But also, Mark, a friend who I cycle with, wore a Tour d’Afrique jersey when we went out for a ride one morning. He had done a section in 2010 and loved it. A few days later my wife mentioned that Georgina, a triathlete and colleague of hers, had also done a section in 2010. We invited her over to dinner and got the worst – and the best – of it. It seemed fated. And then when I discovered that the whole thing was run by a small company in Toronto – my home town, even though I haven’t lived there for many years – it became increasingly inevitable. I don’t believe for a minute in fate. But I do have a grudging respect for coincidence. The morning after dinner with Georgina I registered for the full ride.
So the planning has begun. I have been to the dentist. I have a full medical next Tuesday. I have purchased travel and emergency medical insurance. I have begun to assemble lists.
What I haven’t settled on yet is the bike. I currently have a number of bikes: three road bikes, a nice Condor that is only a couple of years old, a cheap BTwin from Decathlon that I bought in France and leave at our holiday house, and a very comfortable 25 year old steel Peugeot that I recently rebuilt with new wheels, crank, group set etc. – good for winter riding; a couple of touring bikes, a 10 year old Dawes Galaxy with lots of miles on it – but fairly heavy, and an almost thirty year old Japanese Miyata that still rides very well; an old mountain bike built before they invented shocks; and a newish Trek hybrid that I cycle around the rough roads of Dar Es Salaam where I live.
It was clear to me that none of these was right for 12000 km of Africa. I am inclined to get a cyclo cross rather than a hybrid or touring bike. Steel would be good but aluminum o.k. Nothing fancy. Good mechanical disk brakes seem like a good idea. But…. still not sure. Will work on it.