Tag Archives: genesis croix-de-fer

rode hard and hung up wet

Had a good ride with Chris this morning. We did the hilly 65 k loop through town around the port, down to south beach and back. A good pace and the traffic wasn’t too bad today. We were in the saddle for almost two and a half hours. Still need to discipline myself to take in more fluids. My legs felt it a bit about 100 metres from the top of one hill. I took in some fluid and immediately felt fine. I have been out on the bike every day for the last two weeks. We are beginning to exchange atoms.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

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Good week on the new bike

So far so good on the new bike. It feels comfortable and solid and accelerates well. I have been out every day this week. I had a good hilly ride on Thursday and a longer ride of about 115 km out to South Beach and back today. About 50km of today’s ride was on dirt – lots of corrugation and rocks. We did the first hour in the rain – almost like an English summer morning. We had a fairly stiff head wind going out but a nice tail wind coming back. The croix de fer performed well. The head set loosened a bit but I tightened that up and it is fine. Looking forward to next week.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

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Out on the new bike

My new bike arrived last Sunday. Thanks to Georgina for bringing it on the plane with her from London. Thanks to Damian at C&N Cycles for making sure it was packed up and delivered to Georgina at Heathrow Terminal 5 on time. Thanks to British Airways for not losing it and for getting it here undamaged. So many things could have gone wrong. Everything worked. A good sign. A charmed bike.

I have been out on it every day since it arrived. If you look closely at the poster in my last post – Fundraising Update – you will see the new bike. On Monday I took it with me to have the photos taken for the poster. On Tuesday we had the poster.

The assembly was fairly straightforward – except for adjusting the Avid BB7 disk brakes. I had not mounted and adjusted this type of disk brake before. The instructions that came in the package were crap. Thank heavens for YouTube. I found a great instructional video and had it sorted in no time.

Looking forward to some much longer rides on the weekend.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

A bicycle made of cardboard?

My brother Doug sent me a curious article about an Israeli engineer named Izhar Gafni who has developed a bicycle made of cardboard. He says everything apart from the brakes and chain is cardboard – including the seat. The cardboard is covered with a waterproof resin and painted. He claims the machine is durable, waterproof and costs only £10 to produce. The bike is apparently stronger then carbon fibre and can carry riders weighing up to 220 kilograms. It weighs only 9 kilograms. Gafni says the ‘bike is going to be cheap and available to any child in the world, including children in Africa who walk dozens of miles to school every day.’

Don’t know how it can cost only £10 with all that polymer and paint. A good chain can cost 3 times the suggested build price. What about tires, peddles, hubs and bottom bracket. Are these also cardboard? Doesn’t look like it in the picture. And think of the carbon footprint: processing all that wood fibre into paper then recycling it into cardboard then reusing it to build a bike. Bamboo seems a more direct route.

An ingenious and  fascinating bit of innovation. Think I’ll stick with the croix de fer.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

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It’s Black! Not White!

It’s Friday evening. I’m in London. This morning I visited Damian at C&N cycles. He is getting my new bike and setting it all up for me. When I ordered the Genesis croix de fer I ordered the 2012 edition. It was white. But they had stopped making it and were out of stock. So I am getting the new 2013 edition, which has just begun to come off the production line. And guess what? The 2013 edition is not white, as the croix de fer has been for a number of years, it is black. Wow! It looks great. The spec is essentially the same but they have redesigned the look. Should be perfect for a ride across the dark continent. I also finalized the spares list with Damian. So everything should be set.

I will be in Amsterdam this coming week but back in London next Thursday, when I hope to be able to touch the new bike for the first time.  We will then get it all fit properly and boxed up ready to go to Tanzania. I won’t be able to take it back with me because I will be traveling back through Ghana and South Africa. But fortunately Georgina is also in London at the moment and is going back to Tanzania on September 22. She has offered to take it back with her.  Hopefully we can make this work. If not I will have to pick it up when I am back in London in November.  Very exciting. It is all starting to feel real.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

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Bikes: Just get me to Zambia

I know I have now ordered my bike for the TdA. And I am really looking forward to getting my Genesis croix de fer. And I know that one of the major selection criteria was whether or not it would get me all the way from Cairo to Cape Town. But I am feeling a little less anxious today because I have just been introduced to a bike manufacturer in Zambia that is making brilliant bamboo bikes. So now all I need to do is get to Zambia on the croix de fer. If I break down there I can pick up a bamboo Zambike for the rest of the trip. Check them out at http://www.zambikes.org/ . An impressive story. Zambikes is “a social business that manufactures, assembles and distributes high quality bicycles, bicycle ambulances and cargo bicycle trailers to the underprivileged, empowering individuals to fight the mindset of poverty and address the economic and social needs of Zambia.” Zambikes was started by Dustin McBride and Vaughn Spethmann who visited Zambia on a University lead trip in 2004 and recognised the need for high quality bicycles, not only in Zambia but throughout Africa. While participating in an Azusa Pacific University class for entrepreneurs in 2006 they developed a business plan, and in 2007 launched the business in Zambia. Since Zambikes’ launch in 2007, they have:

  • Assembled and delivered over 8,000 bicycles
  • Employed an average of over 30 Zambians
  • Custom designed and manufactured over 900 Zambulances and Zamcarts
  • Built over 300 custom Bamboo frames
  • Purchased 20 acres of land in Lusaka West and built our warehouse and community center
  • Provided education sponsorships for over 15 staff members

Gotta get one.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania

Sorry to be late

Sorry I have been silent for so long. I have been away on holiday for almost a month and have just returned to Tanzania. But I am now back at work and the kids are back at school. Time to think about bikes again.

While I was away I visited a few bike shops on the off chance that something that hadn’t come up during my research would jump out and say ‘buy me’.  But it didn’t happen.  So, after looking at a dozen or more options and seriously considering three, I have decided to get the Genesis croix-de-fer https://alanknighttourdafrique.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=177&action=edit . It is the closest to what I have been thinking of and nobody has suggested it is a bad idea.

I have now been in touch with a bike shop in the UK that I have used often in the past and asked them to see what they can do for a full bike plus spares package. Hopefully it will all be set up and with me by the end of September so that I can put a few miles on it before the TdA starts.

All of a sudden January doesn’t seem that far away. I have now sent in almost all of my forms and other paperwork to the good folks in Toronto who run the TdA. I am sure they try to keep bureaucracy to a minimum but there is still a fare bit of bumph:1) RIDER CONTRACT; 2) RIDER RELEASE; 3) HEALTH AND FITNESS QUESTIONNAIRE; 4) RIDER INFORMATION; 5) NEXT OF KIN INFORMATION; 6) INSURANCE INFORMATION; 7) TOUR INFORMATION; 8) BICYCLE INFORMATION; 9) FUNDRAISING INFORMATION; 10) GETTING TO KNOW OUR CLIENTS FORM; 11) RIDER QUESTIONNAIRE; 12) PHOTO AND TEXT FOR THE TdA WEBSITE; 13) COPIES OF PASSPORTS.

It is now time to start compiling lists of all the other things I will need. I can’t wait. When will I have time to ride my bike?

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.