Comments and Testimonials from past participants....
Ed Note: Due to media reports on problem spots in Africa, perhaps you are a bit hesitant to bicycle there. As a responsible company specializing in Africa, we would like to ease your mind. While Africa is not without its problems, we are very selective about where and when we travel. The general information on Africa misrepresents how safe, serene and welcoming the continent as a whole has been and continues to be. Let our past participants tell you what they experienced. References are available on request, email us at: "ibike@" our domain name.
"The trip encompassed the best month of my life... Bicycle Africa did its best to throw us headlong into African life so that everything we did became learning experience. Most programs control the environment around the traveler so much that they insulate their guests from the personal impact that a truly different society can have on them. You do not complete a Bicycle Africa trip unaffected by the experience.
"[Among my friends] there is
commonly surprise that such a trip is possible. And even more surprise,
even disbelief, that it is enjoyable... The mode of travel was vital to
the experience. It gave us time to see and to reflect on what we were
seeing. A motor vehicle would destroy many aspects of the experience.
The very uniqueness of our mode of travel served as an ice breaker whenever
we met anyone. For the Africans it seemed a very convincing demonstration of
the appropriateness of the bicycle for work, travel and recreation."
"Everyday of Bicycle Africa was
an opportunity to learn.... The Africans were very impressed
by the American bicyclists and were delighted to have us in their country. They
were honored that we chose to come to their country. I'm sure we'll be remember
positively for a long time. I learned so much
about Africa and found the bicycle a great way to intimately experience
"I think the bicycle is an ideal way to
explore Africa. It seems like more expensive trips isolate the traveler more
than expand their horizons. I appreciate the inexpensive cost of the program and
the sheer variety of villages, restaurants, and hotels that we patronized.
True, it’s a trip that requires a lot of effort—but that effort makes the
trip seem all that much more valuable because of it, and the experience
with Africa more intimate and sensory.... These trips just do
something to you. I feel like a different person. These trips really get
into your blood."
"This is the most friendly country I've ever been to! People
seemed genuinely interested in teaching me about their country. In Douala
I asked some random guy how to find the Akwa statue and he turned out to
be related to him. He brought out some very old photos of his family and
historical photos of Douala and spent like 2 hours explaining the history
of the city to me without me having to ask. It was really cool. He didn't
even ask me for money or anything!"
"I like the Bicycle Africa approach to traveling – now that I’ve experienced it, I think it will be hard to go back to traveling any other way. I don’t consider myself a cyclist, but I’ve come to develop a sincere appreciation for bicycle touring.
"I think one of the greatest things about bicycling as a means of travel is that it allows you to see so much more than you would otherwise – you have the chance to stop, to talk with people, to find hidden pathways and to go at a pace where you can appreciate your surroundings. It also means that you travel simply – bringing only what you can carry – and it has the remarkable effect of reminding us of what is truly necessary and important in our daily lives....
"I did have fun. I really enjoyed our little group – the initial four and also the addition of Julius and Yau. I thought that the scenery in Cameroon was stunning and the people were friendly. I was glad for the chance to practice my French. I liked the food – rice and beans, ndole, fufu, jam-mu jam-mu, omlettes, bread, Nescafe with sweetened condensed milk (which I now drink at home – probably not the healthiest of beverages!). I especially liked the fact that we ate and slept at places where Cameroonians eat and stay. So often, when we travel, we stay in hotels and eat at tourist restaurants and have an experience that doesn’t really resemble that of the people who live in the country...
"I liked the fact that we could
veer off the beaten path and explore something that we were curious about
– like the Fon’s palance in Babungo – or that we could tour the Sultan’s
palace, visit Peter’s museum, meet the Fon of Nso, or stop at the side of
the road to check out a local market. I also liked I enjoyed the impromptu
stops to look at rubber trees, or cocoa beans drying. It’s nice to be
able to explore something that you’re curious about in greater depth, and
to feel that the schedule allows for it. I enjoyed learning more about
various facets of West African (thought admittedly was sometimes a bit
spacey at the end of the day) – particularly things like the different
language groups in Cameroon. It’s nice to have a bit of context."
The Cameroon program has been immortalized in the "Masked Rider" by Neil Peart.
"The cross-cultural and
educational opportunities were varied and very worthwhile. Sometimes it put me
in an overload mode. Your expertise and explanations of what we encountered made the
experience more understandable and worthwhile."
"The best part was making new friends and riding roads with no traffic."
"We enjoyed interacting with
people of all walks of life and finding out they didn't resent us. The educational
opportunities were limitless."
"Being on bicycles made us both more
interesting and more accessible than the typical tourist. Cycling kept me feeling
health. It was great to be getting a lot of exercise and not being cooped
up in a bus or something."
"I really enjoyed all aspects of the trip. The variety
of scenery, culture and accommodation was great and felt we got a good
appreciation for the country as a whole. Its not a program for
everyone, but for someone relaxed, flexible, and really getting to see a
country in great details, this is an amazing way to do it."
"At sunset, I stood looking over the houses from an adobe rooftop.
The only sound I could hear was conversation -- no radio, no TV, no traffic.
As darkness fell, broken only by stars, a few lanterns and the rising moon,
I climb down to the courtyard and joined the rest of our group talking with
some villagers. These are the times that call you back to Africa."
"Fabulous sights / interesting nights, wonderful trails / energetic travails,
minimal traffica / that's Bike Africa."
"We appreciate the luxury of being in surroundings where the social fabric seems
to weave in all threads, where human dignity is not restricted to the highest
"The best part of the program was visiting the towns, villages, and
local spots outside the cities. Seeing the people in their homes,
towns and villages made the trip."
"Bicycling is by far the best way to see a third world country."
"I just wanted to tell you that I had a wonderful time on the Mali trip.
Even my few miserable moments I now find entertaining. I really loved the
off the beaten path / live like a local approach. It was exactly the kind of
trip I was hoping it would be. Very memorable."
"I found the trip to be exceptionally well
planned; I liked the variety of transportation modes, varying length of
riding days, the ratio of “packed” cultural days next to quieter ones,
etc... I cannot imagine how I could have had a better
time. I loved the people I rode
with, the country I saw, and the wide range of experiences."
"Excellent trip with good balance of cycling, historical education
and cultural immersion...Very positive unstructured approach -- seeing,
experiencing and discussing these experiences was very educational....
Tremendous immersion in day to day Malian society."
"It was the greatest trip of my life -- it was also the hardest but that seems to
help it go into you deeper and make greater changes in how one see's the world and lives
in it. I hope to do another trip very soon."
Hand-painted postcard from Betsy W.
"Once again, thank you for an excellent time; full of special moments, unique experiences, and memories of a lifetime (sound familiar). Really, an unforgettable experience. I wouldn't trade trudging through the sand in Mali and Senegal for anything. Why would anyone want to pass up a chance to see a place like Niongono? Touba was well worth the effort. I can't believe that I actually got the opportunity to pray inside the mosque in Djenne! No one else I know can say that, and that alone was worth it.
"The trip was beyond my expectations. I met some extraordinary people, saw fantastic and remarkable things that I will never forget, and had the opportunity to do more cycling than I had ever done before.
"I would recommend this trip to those people who are open minded,
culturally sensitive, flexible, and enjoy cycling. It's amazing how much
more you see and experience when traveling at the speed of a bike."
"David, I can't possibly thank you enough for exposing me to Africa. I
don't even feel like the same person anymore. When I was in lalaland during
my first week back at work, my boss kept saying "Il, you gotta let it go.
You have to leave that place behind you." All I could think was a part of me
is still floating around in Mali and there's nothing he can do about
it..... Once again, I am eternally grateful for the experience."
"I really enjoyed the combination of cycling and learning
about the local culture. I had never been on a bike tour before, so it was a
completely new experience for me... [The best parts were] staying with the
village chief in Somadogou, backcountry cycling to Niongono and trekking in
Dogon. It was fascinating to see what happens in every day lives of
people... Frankly I'm amazed people aren't flocking to Ibike to go on
"One of the reasons I have chosen the
Ibike option is because of the emphasis on learning about the place and
people, etc. ... Ibike provides cross-cultural / people-to-people experiences
better than any other company I’ve traveled with -- a good thing."
"Thank you so much for providing me with such a unique opportunity to see
Africa. Your extensive knowledge and experience, combined with your
patience, willingness to teach, sense of humor and friendship made the trip
particularly memorable and special for me. I truly appreciate the
insight and perspective (and love of biking!) that the tour has given me.
Looking forward to more Ibike in 2010!"
"[I enjoyed] the uniqueness of the program. It fits me well I am just
grateful it is available."
"This trip exceeded my expectations. David's in depth knowledge of the
history, geography, and culture of the areas provided an added educational
component... I thoroughly appreciated the educational lectures, and
they have motivated me to begin reading modern literature about West Africa
since my return. The educational talks provided much needed context to the
areas in which we travelled, and without them, I do not feel that I would
have been able to appreciate the area as much as I did. In addition to the
historical and cultural education, I also valued the bicycle training, tips,
and information... I had the most wonderful time cycling that I have ever
had in my whole life. While I have always cycled occasionally, this trip
reinvigorated my love of cycling and in particular, cycling in new parts of
the world and learning about bicycle mechanics... I had SO much fun! I wish
I could do it all over again and take over Bicycle Africa myself. There is
not a day that passes that I do not think of my time on the tour... My
goal is to go on one every year."
Senegal / Gambia:
"That trip was the best ever -- yes it was...is memories of a lifetime."
"As a woman in her late 60's, I had some doubts, prior to the trip, but I soon
found that a bicycle tour is a great way to be introduced to West Africa. I am eager to
"Where else can you have an experience like this! To mention a
few of the best parts of the program: sitting in on a class in a rural
primary school, spending the night at the chief's compound sharing our
mutual delight in each other's presence; being invited to speak with the
English class at a school in Foundgionge; the kids on the beach excited to
practice their English with me and find out about my part of the world
(curious kids are always refreshing); Abdoulaye, the immensely eloquent
university student describing his studies- majoring in English and in
African and oral literature; the bag of peanuts given to me by a women in a
remote village where we had stopped for a rest and some water (one of many 'cadeau's
I received); and most certainly Madeleine, our gracious and beautiful Senegalese
hostess. The opportunity to stay in touch with some of the people we met --
"I'm happy to recommend David's Africa bike tours. I did 2 tours -- both were experiences-of-a-lifetime for me.
"David really knows his stuff about Africa, biking, and traveling. His tours are professionally run but very personalized--I felt like everybody's needs were heard and considered in all the decisions he/we made en route.
"The biking: Easily "do-able" for anybody with good basic physical fitness. The pace is never rushed--you can always go at your own pace, and there are frequently lesser- or greater-mileage options on any given day.
"If you're looking for a fancy, upscale trip, don't do a Bicycle Africa
trip. This is by no means a "negative," unless you were EXPECTING a fancy
trip! David's trips give you an opportunity to see how people live and join
in as much as you want. I don't particularly like being a typical
"tourist"--I prefer opportunities to try out life as a "Local;" that's what
I got on my Bicycle Africa trips"
"It was a tough but fantastic experience - David was right when he called
the program an experience of a life time. thank you, David, for your
interesting program and the good leadership and comradeship. Especially I
admired that you always found the right way in a country with so few traffic
"I really like the manner in which the tour was run. Most commercial
tours seem to have somewhat of a bubble feel, with some kind of bubble
separating us from where we are. That is why I prefer self-contained
touring. It is total immersion. Sometimes I go alone. Sometimes I go with a
small group. When I go with a small group, usually one person sort of leads
it. That makes it possible to go places where I don't speak the local
language. The Ibike tour had the same feeling that I get when I go with
friends, with just enough guidance to know we will get there. This is a
"The night in the village was special. Experiences with the people
were definite highlights, also the Mosques."
"Thank you so much for everything on both trips - for your expertise and
help with the bike, your leadership skills, your knowledge of African
culture and issues, and for your charming personality. I found both
trips challenging and rewarding, and will be reflecting on them for a long
time to come."
"Great trip. It was great to talk to ngo and
leaders in villages to hear their missions and purpose."
Togo / Benin:
"In villages we often met the Chief or elders, and
many times were given the honor of long conversations with these important
people... Never have I done a bike tour with so
many heartfelt good wishes and local people showing genuine pleasure at
seeing visitors to their country. Often strangers would engage us in
friendly conversations to learn about our trip, and frequently they would
encourage us to return next year for a longer visit."
"The time I spent with your tour is a highlight of 20 years of traveling
"I really enjoy and get a lot out of your discussions and the
people-to-people interactions. The museum tours were also
highlights... You probably lose sight of , or may not even be aware of,
how profound the impact of your programs are -- even to the super
"Togo & Benin are two of the most amazing countries I've ever visited
and it was a pleasure to explore them on a bike. I just wish there
was more of it. Best. Vacation. Ever. I'm already saving up
for my next trip. These programs are way cool!"
"Thank you for the greatest experience of my life. The visits in private
homes and appointment with the U.S. Ambassador were excellent opportunities.
A month on a Bicycle Africa trip is worth four years of college anthropology
courses. Other prospects pale by comparison."
"People are very hospitable and
friendly and often stopped me on the road to talk and exchange addresses.
They are very interested in the U.S. because of the history of the
founding of Liberia and many want contacts in the U.S. as they hope to
visit here. I now have about 20 pen pals."
"The trip was a wonderful experience. I thank you for
being willing to share your knowledge and insight. The trip upcountry,
seeing how people live, and the opportunity to
hear the various viewpoints of citizens, officials, expatriates,
and missionaries was wonderful. What
we learned and what we saw and who we met are extraordinary for a tour.
I'd stress that in your promotional stuff if you can. I'll be glad to spread
the word in the U.S. Thanks."
For those who like balance, we have even posted some comments on the worst parts of the program.
Unique Programs To Special Places For Memories Of A Lifetime!
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