Why Africa and the TDA?
Don’t know where to begin, other then to say that we really can’t imagine a more incredible adventure then to actually cross Africa on our bicycles. Everything about this expedition excites us. The opportunity to experience one of the most fascinating continents in the world, to spend 4 months cycling through places we’ve only dreamt of, the physical and emotional challenge of crossing a continent under our own power. This is truly an amazing opportunity to live one of our dreams and at this point, we really can’t imagine not doing this. Paul, a rider from 2006 who has been kind enough to answer some of our questions, said the following about the TDA: “It will shake you, break you and make you!!!” That is why we are doing it.

Why Now?
Simple…who knows what tomorrow will bring. We spent a few years waiting for the stars to align perfectly, creating that ideal scenario where we could travel without financial worry and without risk but oddly enough that wasn’t really getting us anywhere. ;-) We got tired of waiting. P.S. Thank you Vincent for reminding me…“You only live once Maria”.

Racers or Expedition Riders?
Expedition riders. We want to take our time and experience all that this trip has to offer. For us that means being able to stop and take pictures when we want to, spend some time chatting with someone we meet along the way or just sit under a tree and enjoy the landscapes. We are strong cyclists and are doing some serious training, but we are not elite racers.

How much are you training for the Tour D’Afrique?
A lot. We expect that cycling an average of 124 km a day for four months in searing heat on tough road conditions will be pretty brutal. :D (Yes, that’s right…Brutal in a “fun”, “can’t wait till January” type of way). So, the plan is to “train like mad”. We are averaging about 350 to 400 km a week.

What are your goals for the Tour D’Afrique Race/Expedition?
Our goals are:

  • To give back by raising money and awareness for WaterCan and Against Malaria.
  • EFI (Every F********abulous inch). Status given to those riders who complete the entire tour on bike.
  • To keep the number of times someone finds me “curled up in the foetal position on the side of the road crying for my mommy” to a minimum. ***(Spiros would like to point out that this is Maria’s goal).
  • To remind woman with thunder thighs everywhere, that “Strong is best baby!!!” ***( Sigh…Spiros would, again, like to point out that this is Maria’s goal).
  • Get down to the basics; eat, sleep, ride. ;-)

What are you doing after the Tour D’Afrique?
After the TDA, we plan to spend some more time in Africa and then continue on in Europe and Asia. We will be updating this site with the specifics shortly.

Where will you sleep?
During the TDA, we will mostly be camping. After that we will either continue camping or stay in budget type places. We are counting our pennies.

Cycling through Africa?! Sounds like a mid-life crisis to me.
Well, I suppose we could be in deep, deep denial but we don’t really believe this is a mid life crisis. We’ve always loved travelling, always loved cycling and this isn’t the first time we’ve “dropped everything” to follow a dream. Life is about living, doesn’t matter what age you are. Cycling through Africa may not be for everybody, but it’s been our dream for a few years and we believe in striving to live your dreams.

Besides, being 20 is great, but being in your late 30s has its advantages too. You’re much more comfortable in your own skin, you know who you are, what you want and are much less willing to waste precious time concerned about other people’s opinion on your life. That is pretty nice. ;)

Aren’t you scared?
Seeing that Maria doesn’t want to sound like a giant weenie in front of the people she will be riding though Africa with, we will now ask all TDA riders to kindly skip through to the next question. Thank you. Your cooperation is most appreciated.

Ok, now that they’re gone, here’s the scoop. Spiros is a brave soul, faces things head on and doesn’t really fear much. Maria, on the other hand, is generally a giant weenie, scared of pretty much everything. Nevertheless, she still dreams of seeing the world and living a life of adventure. This of course is quite the conundrum and leaves her with only two options:

  1. Shroud herself in a gigantic, hermetically sealed latex bubble. She tried that for a little bit; wasn’t much fun.
  2. Do things anyway. She has just learned to do everything with a wee bit of terror coursing through her veins. You get used to it. So, all things considered, she should be scared silly right now. Oddly enough, she’s not. Can’t explain it.

So, to make a long story short, “scared” is not the right word. This is a very physically demanding cycling expedition, much of it through developing countries and we are not foolish enough to think that there aren’t inherent risks. We of course have concerns about things like staying healthy, keeping safe etc. etc. We will do our best to stay vigilant, be informed and travel smart.

Why blog about it?
This is an amazing time in our lives; a time when we have decided to step out of our comfort zones and really live life. No doubt, there will be moments of sheer elation and other times of our utter frustration. We will be challenged at every level and will hopefully come out of this experience with a better understanding of ourselves, the world we live in and our tiny little role in it. We most definitely want to record and share this incredible journey with our family, friends and anyone else who is interested. We have certainly enjoyed and been inspired by following along on other people’s adventures; it would be great to be able to do the same for someone else.

Sooo…how is your little bike ride going over with the folks back home? Haha.
Oddly enough, the question most asked by close friends and co-workers. For the answer, go here.

What are you going to do when you get back home?
We’ll figure something out. Ummm…anybody want to pay us to do this for a living?? We’re cute, we’re cuddly, we’re cheap and we would be very grateful! ;) What if we said “Pretty please!”

How much is this going to cost you?
After you factor in the cost of the expedition, flights, equipment, lost wages etc etc, the grand total comes out to: “Lots”. No, we aren’t independently wealthy, haven’t won the lotto, haven’t made millions on an IT stock and no, we aren’t involved in some illegal drug ring. We’ve saved for years, have “cut back” (pronounced “super cheap”) on things we don’t care about so that we can spend our money on things we do care about. We also do our best to keep costs low while travelling.

I will admit to some overwhelming waves of panic when we handed over the cheque for the TDA entry fee but we got over it really quickly. There is no denying the impact on our banking account but what you get in return is priceless.

Are you bringing a rifle in case a lion attacks you?
We were asked this question a lot. The answer is: no. To be honest, that never even crossed our minds. Thank you for your concern! We don’t think we will be chased down by lions on the roads we will be cycling through. Not to mention that even if we were chased down, we would be way too busy peeing into our bike shorts chamois to do anything about it. :D

I’ve read your blog. You live in your own little world don’t you?
Yes, yes we do. It’s better there. 8O