Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1928, Cape Town – Langebaan: The Final Continent

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on Jan - 15 - 2016

Distance: 123.7 km
Ride time: 5:59:13
Average: 20.7 km/h
Max speed: 54.4 km/h
Total: 43865 km

I was feeling excited and also somewhat nervous as I stood there at the square in front of the Cape Town railway station, ready to set off for this African adventure. The preparations were finally complete – now it was time to turn the plans into reality.

It hasn’t lacked on warnings from well meaning people about the dangers of cycling through Africa. I have, however, after a few years in this cycling business learned, that unless the advice comes from someone who has first hand experience, then you probably shouldn’t be paying too much attention.

On the other hand I’m fully aware that there is going to be challenges down the road; the excessive heat in the Namibian desert, getting a visa for Angola, and the situation in Nigeria. Africa will probably be the hardest continent I’m going to cycle. Such were my thoughts as I left Cape Town on a busy highway with the Table Mountain in the background.

I’m very happy about my new ride, a Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike. Compared to the Bianchi this pretty much feels like a tank.

While I had been feeling nervous in the morning, it was as if everything was falling into place once the wheels were rolling. I was actually on the way, making progress, moving… and it all made a lot of sense to me. Africa, the final continent!

I was soon enough out of Cape Town and the roads turned very rural – the landscape reminded me of the Australian outback with low bushes on each side of the road. And a lot of heat.

The now familiar outline of the Table Mountain disappeared as I cycled over another hill. In front of me the unknown open road took over.

The road was straight and after leaving the last suburbs there wasn’t any more kiosks or gas stations for something like 50 km. I was almost running out of water on my first day on the road before I found a small gas station with a little store.

The first day I’m in a new country I like to find a hotel. Then after a few days getting to know the country, I’m fine with wild camping. With the last rays of sunlight I was cycling into Langebaan where I found a nice Bed and Breakfast.

Before falling asleep I thought of the day I left Ushuaia on the Southern tip of Argentina some two years ago. That day I had also felt tense about what South America would be like, but I had experienced some of the best times of my life there. Now, lets see what Africa will bring!

Categories: South Africa
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8 Responses so far.

  1. And we’re off! It looks very outback Australia!

  2. ES says:

    Wow, how did you achieve 54 km/h?

  3. On the downhills it is not uncommon to reach speeds of 50+ km/h – and this day I had a nice tail wind to help.

  4. ES says:

    Your “Route” page still lists you as passing through Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt but I assume that’s no longer the case since you mentioned Namibia and Nigeria?

    Do you have a more detailed outline of the route ahead or do you decide on the day?

  5. Vinay says:

    All the best for your journey.

  6. Tyler from Chicago says:

    Hey Thomas! Congrats on beginning the final continent! I may have missed the explanation, but I’m wondering what made you decide to get a new ride for this next leg of the adventure?

  7. I had some different plans for Africa, but yes, the latest idea is to go up the west coast! There is a route posted here:

  8. Hi Tyler! Thanks a lot… The simple answer for changing my bike is that I will be riding a fair amount of dirt roads in Africa, and my road bike is not good for that. I miss my Bianchi though.