CyclingNZ Home

Notice: Use of undefined constant aperson - assumed 'aperson' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in called from on line in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57
Paris Dakar by Bike!
17 Feb, 2007 - By: Rob van der Geest

"The Sahara on a bicycle, is that possible?" A group of 25 enthusiastic cyclists accepted this challenge and left from the Eiffel Tower on 10 September 2006 to hit the road to Dakar. They completed this incredible idea of crossing the Sahara by bike passing sand dunes and surprised camels.

 

We leave Paris on a sunny Sunday morning along the banks of the Seine in search of adventure for the next ten weeks. The condition of the cyclists increases rapidly during the stages along historical French cities and through green valleys. We are just in time in shape to climb the high mountains of the Pyrenees. Here we reach the highest point of our trip at the 2407 meter high Port d'Envilaria in the princedom Andorra. Englishman Andy manages to avoid this point. He turns his bike into a dark tunnel but is kicked out by the police immediately, fortunately for him at the other side of the mountain. A memorable day follows. Never ending rains combined with low temperatures and thick fog pushes all leisure riders into a small bar in an attempt to get the body temperature back to acceptable values. Most of the espresso ends up on the floor as result of the heavy shivering. Finally everybody continues their road through a  sunny and above all fascinating Spain with its rough rockeries, magnificent views and an abundance of culture in Moorish cities.

 

A fast ferry drops us at the other side of the Straits of Gibraltar on the African continent. Within 50 minutes we are in a new world with a different culture and between other people. In a world where we have to share the road with goats, sheep, donkeys and monkeys. During the stages through the rough Atlas mountains in Morocco we already notice that we get closer to the Sahara. Slowly the vegetation disappears in favor of sand and rocks. Cows are replaced by camels.

 

Two colossal sculptures of camels near Tan Tan form the symbolic entrance gate to the Sahara. From that moment the distances, temperatures and our water consumption increase day by day. Despite the emptiness of the world and the endless straight roads the days pass by quickly. The Sahara fascinates with its yellow sand dunes, crossing camels, friendly Bedouins and the sparkling starry sky. The strong wind is alternating our best friend or worst enemy. Stages of 160 kilometers are sometimes covered within 4 hours by the fast guys in the front, other days it is a struggle to keep the speedometer above 20 kilometers per hour. The more relaxed leisure riders use every scarce opportunity to get a cup of tea or cold coke and arrive in camp sometimes just before sunset. Since we ride close along the Atlantics a breeze from the ocean drops the temperature by a few degrees. However, regularly we are surprised by a scorching wind direct from the Sahara, like a hot hair drier straight in the face.

 

Our camp is always situated at unique locations. One night we sleep at the base of a huge sand dune as tall as a flat building, the next day we stay on the edge of a gigantic rocky plate slowly breaking down in the Atlantic Ocean. Incidentally our camp is visited by an old Mauritanian Mercedes passing by to collect a bottle of water. Most of it is used for consumption, however sometimes the valuable is used for washing hands and feet as preparation for a prayer in the direction of Mekka.

 

The contrast is big as we enter from the emptiness of the desert into the noisy and crowded streets of Nouakchott, the biggest city in the Sahara. After leaving the capital of Mauritania the vegetation, people and animals return along the road slowly, and so our amusement. The Sahara has been crossed!

 

A day through a fresh green swamp full of meter long lizards, bright colored birds and sprinting wild boars along the river Senegal brings us in the country with the same name. Several days we traverse the sloping savannah. We are encouraged loudly by enthusiastic waving kids and women in colorful dresses standing in front of little huts or under centuries old baobab trees. The last stage brings us in the chaotic centre of metropolis Dakar, the final destination of our trip.

 

In Dakar Priit Salumäe from Estonia is celebrated as the strong winner of the first ever "Paris Dakar by Bike". Margus Püvi from Estonia and the Dutch climber Rob van den Heuvel are completing the stage. But in fact everybody feels like the winner after fulfilling 7,200 fascinating kilometers ( 4,500 miles ) on a bike crossing enormous mountains and the endless Sahara.

 

A new bunch of cyclists will leave from the Eiffel Towel on 9 September 2007. Are you one of them? Find all information at www.bike-dreams.com or request it at info@bike-dreams.com.

 

Bike Dreams

Marktstraat 11

6041 EN  Roermond

The Netherlands

Tel. +31.(0)475.311047

Fax +31.(0) 84 2256790

info@bike-dreams.com

www.bike-dreams.com

 

Click to enlarge...

CONTINUE READING
Latest News
The Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) welcomes an increase in the driving age to 16, but says the government also needs to invest in professional cycle training to improve road safety. CAN spokesperson Anne FitzSimon says one of the best ways to raise driving standards is to make cycle training >>
This weekend I got my first taste of NRC racing in America. The Dana Point GP race on sunday was a 90min crit round a fast but very technical circuit in the streets of Dana Point, with a huge crowd and the top US teams present it was a pretty big event and had an awesome atmosphere. Bike Religion >>
Looking for a different challenge and some fun a West Coast couple riding a Unicycle are amongst the 1100 riders doing the Around Brunner Cycle event on the West Coast this Saturday. "We've been riding unicycles for around three years now," Alison Dixon from Blackball said. "It started off >>
Latest Articles
Former world Champion Hayden Godfrey is the latest big name to enter the Around Brunner elite road race this weekend. The 2008 Omnium World Champion was knocked off his bike in Christchurch in February, putting his arm through a car windscreen which required surgery meaning he missed valuable >>
This weekend is again a busy weekend for the Mico/All About Plumbing Cycling team presented by Revolution Racing. Saturday has the team lining up on the West Coast in Greymouth for the 130km National Point Series (NPS) Around Brunner Cycle Ride. Team director Steve Elden says "the ride or race for >>
Less than two weeks after entries opened, interest is already high in Cycling Southland's Harrex Group Corporate Pursuit being held in June. Organisers expect to easily fill the field of 32 corporate teams that will compete in New Zealand's only indoor velodrome in Invercargill in a grading >>
 Photo Gallery

Notice: Use of undefined constant pid - assumed 'pid' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57

Notice: Use of undefined constant ptitle - assumed 'ptitle' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57

Notice: Use of undefined constant ptitle - assumed 'ptitle' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57
Daniel Gate bioSPORT Crite

Notice: Use of undefined constant pid - assumed 'pid' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57

Notice: Use of undefined constant ptitle - assumed 'ptitle' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57

Notice: Use of undefined constant ptitle - assumed 'ptitle' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57
Tour de Femme 2009

Notice: Use of undefined constant pid - assumed 'pid' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57

Notice: Use of undefined constant ptitle - assumed 'ptitle' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57

Notice: Use of undefined constant ptitle - assumed 'ptitle' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57
Tour of New Caledonia 2009

Notice: Use of undefined constant pid - assumed 'pid' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57

Notice: Use of undefined constant ptitle - assumed 'ptitle' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57

Notice: Use of undefined constant ptitle - assumed 'ptitle' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in display_page_bottom called from /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_profiles.php on line 272 in /home/cycling/public_html/cnz5_connect.php on line 57
Tour of Southland
Home Kiwi Riders Sports Science Beginners Articles Riders Reports Tech Corner Contact
© Cyclingnz.com 2022 | Login | Design by OnfireDesign