The Bubble

We take a rest day camping at Chitimba Beach on the shores of Lake Malawi. We had had a long ride after leaving Mbeya, 162 kilometers and a border crossing into Malawi. We were looking forward to a pause. As we arrived at the turn off to the beach, about one kilometer from the main … Continue reading The Bubble

Mental Toughness

On the day that I had lost it, after I had calmed down, I started walking my bike through the ankle-deep sand road reflecting on the idea of “mental toughness”. It is something that had been mentioned frequently in descriptions of the Tour and it would pop up in an off-hand way in conversations among … Continue reading Mental Toughness

Rough Road

We left Arusha early on Sunday morning riding past the clock tower, the midway point on the overland Cairo to Cape Town route. We were heading into seven days of hard riding beginning with a bang, 172 kilometers on the first day, the longest day yet of the Tour. I was uncertain how I would … Continue reading Rough Road


The rest days allowed us to go on mini-safaris, an overnight stay at the Ngorongoro Crater, a four-hour drive from Arusha. The Crater is the world’s largest inactive, intact and infilled volcanic caldera. The crater formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself 2 to 3 million years ago. It descends 2,000 feet … Continue reading Ngorongoro


After a lightning visit home for my mother’s 100th birthday, I arrived in Kenya after a 16-hour journey; a direct flight to Addis and then connecting through to Nairobi. I had left with hand luggage and was returning with two large bags and a box. My brief sojourn home was an opportunity for my fellow … Continue reading Peril

The 100th

It’s a fifteen-hour flight from Addis to Toronto. I arrive to winter; the day after I land a snowstorm hits the city. The sidewalks are treacherous, still heavy with ice. I struggle with jet lag and the displacement from my life on the road, where everything is reduced to essentials. I miss the companionship and … Continue reading The 100th

Blue Nile Gorge

From the start of the Tour, the Blue Nile gorge had been spoken of in whispers as one of the great tests of our stamina and endurance. On our daily navigation board it was called “the epic climb”. Lonely Planet calls the twisting, serpentine ascent the most dramatic in Ethiopia. The climb is preceded by … Continue reading Blue Nile Gorge

Bahir Dar

Bahir Dar is Ethiopia’s third largest city. It has the feel of a nascent frontier town, a snake in the midst of shedding the skin of its past. The edgy, on-the-make bustle is punctuated by the ancient Coptic liturgy booming from church loudspeakers. At almost every street corner I am approached with offers of money … Continue reading Bahir Dar

Lodge Du Chateau

We leave Gondar early. I had been staying at a small hotel in town opposite the 17th-century castle; rest days gives us an opportunity, if we wish, to exchange tent for a room. It’s a welcome change. I still struggle with the daily routine of the pre-dawn dismantling of camp and the rush to set … Continue reading Lodge Du Chateau