I Cycled from England to South Africa and Came Home With a Story to Tell

I Cycled from England to South Africa and Came Home With a Story to Tell

There’s no better way to explore the world than on two wheels – by cycling around the world.

During a 10 month cycling adventure from England to South Africa, a lot of things happened. I changed as a person, started seeing the world through new eyes and also came home with a few stories to tell.

Communication was a challenge

The route from England to South Africa took me literally from my doorstep to Cape Town. Europe was an interesting place to cycle through, but it was when I started cycling through Turkey and the Middle East that the real challenges started. One of those, was the language.

Although English might be considered to be the ‘international language’, it doesn’t mean that everyone speaks it. Ride up to a small farmhouse in the Turkish countryside, and there will be a lot of sign language going on! In Syria and Sudan, there were even less people that could speak English. I got into the habit of learning between 30 and 50 essential words for each country that I cycled through, so that I could at least partially converse with people.

Simple things like food was a challenge

Food was also a challenge. When cycling up to 130 kilometres every day, it is important to replace the lost calories. Ideally, this should be mainly carbs, but with a certain amount of protein and fat. In some countries such as Ethiopia though, it is difficult to find the ‘right’ foods, and you just have to eat what there is. Injera (a type of bread in Ethiopia), is an acquired taste, and one I never did fully acquire! Cycling through countries which have various periods of fasting for religious reasons adds on other challenges as to the availability of food and drink.

The terrain and wild animals also vary from country to country. Cycling through the deserts of Sudan can involve long periods of pushing the bike through sand. It is rewarded by friendly locals who are always welcoming to strangers though. Steep mountains, and unsealed roads present their own challenges to be surmounted, as do long stretches of road with no settlements for hundreds of kilometres. At some points, I was carrying up to 15 kilograms of water!

But the experience was priceless

For me though, it was the wild animals that will leave a lasting memory. Cycling through a reserve in Tanzania, I was amazed to see herds of zebra and giraffes running alongside of me. The most memorable experience, was when a small family of elephants crossed the road just a few metres from where I paused from cycling. Believe me, when you are on a bicycle, an elephant is HUGE!

I came away from the cycling trip with amazing experiences, and more than one story to tell! For anyone thinking of undertaking a similar trip, I would say ‘Do it!’. You are going to have an incredible life changing experience, and also, you will have your own stories to tell. Stories that I would love to hear.

Also Read: 15 Websites Every Budget Traveller Needs to Know About

About Author

Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a serial adventurer from the UK. He has driven around Australia, backpacked through Asia, been a nightclub bouncer in Sweden, picked grapes in Kefalonia, cycled from England to South Africa, and cycled from Alaska to Argentina. Currently based in Athens, Greece, he is planning the next adventure which will be to drive a 4WD around Africa in 2016.


Related Posts