Arctic to Africa

How it all began : The Video

I’ve put together a short video of myself and the team cycling the first few days of the Arctic to Africa trip. The video includes cycling the first 20 miles up to the Nordkapp. The most stunning scenery I think of the entire trip.

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Arctic to Africa

Into Africa

I’m writing this on the ferry crossing over to Africa. I can’t quite describe how I feel. I am excited to be going to another continent, exhausted from all the cycling, amazed at what I have achieved and apprehensive about entering Morocco in cycling shorts as a female.

I can’t quite believe that I can say that I have cycled from the Arctic to Africa. 5 months ago when I started thinking about taking part on this trip I thought I was nuts. I didn’t tell many people to begin with because I knew others would tell me I couldn’t do it. I didn’t even own a bike at the time and I wouldn’t exactly say I was in good shape to be signing up for such a challenge.

I am now only three days away from Casablanca, my end destination. I have no idea what to expect when I get off the ferry and I have no idea how I will feel when the cycling is finally over. To be honest I’m not sure what I am going to do with my time, I’m so used to waking up every morning and getting on a bike.

Written on the 21st July 2013.

20130729-201244.jpgHere I am moments from cycling off the ferry into Africa.

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Arctic to Africa

What was I thinking?

From Barcelona to Gibraltar is approximately 750 miles and we have just cycled it in nine days straight. The weather has been an average of 32°c and the terrain has been spectacular although deceptively hilly. It has been my hardest stretch of cycling on this entire trip.

What I didn’t realise when we left Barcelona was just how close we would be cycling to the Sierra Nevada mountains. We were trying to hug the coast as much as possible to make the most of the cool sea breeze and the flatter terrain. However once we reached day 4 out of 9 our chosen route started taking us inland and up and over so rather large hills. We soon lost the refreshing wind blowing in from the coast and it became insufferably hot. Standing still was excruciating, cycling felt like having a hair dryer blowing in your face. Going up hill was slow and never ending. All I could see for miles in front of me, to the left and to the right was more hills, the roads were long and open with no trees and no shade. The sweat literally pouring off of me, my hands so sweaty that holding on to the handle bars was becoming more and more difficult. I lost all concept of distance and it felt as though I was in the middle of nowhere when in reality I was only 15km from the nearest town. At one point I almost ran out of water and started seriously panicking. At this point I didn’t have the option of jumping on a train to the next rest day location, I had no choice but to keep peddling. The only way I was going to make it to the next town was to cycle. Fortunately what takes over an hour to cycle up takes mere minutes to cycle back down the other side. The ride downhill is exhilarating! Getting up to speeds of 42mph on roads with hair pin bends, breath taking views and the knowledge that at the bottom is probably a petrol station fully stocked with water and ice cream.

I’ve made it to Gibraltar but I still have Morocco to tackle. Starting tomorrow morning I begin the last leg and step foot on African soil.

Here are some pictures so you can see what I’ve been cycling through the last 9 days.

Don’t forget you can still sponsor me for a day or more of my trip using PayPal. I still need the finances to get me all the way to Ghana.Make a Donation Button

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Arctic to Africa

Too much cycling

I spend roughly 12 hours a day out on the bike, at least 8 of those hours are spent physically in the saddle peddling, sometimes more. Then add in time to eat, sleep and get lost and you can see how I have so little time for blogging.

So this is a short post so I can share some pictures from my time cycling through the South of France. From Switzerland we cycled along lake Geneva on the north side and crossed the border into France just south of Geneva. We then cycled the Rhone Alps and into the Rhone Valley. Although it was hilly and very hot, the scenery was stunning. I even had the opportunity to cycle some of the same roads in this years Tour De France. I really never had much interest in visiting much of Europe before this trip but each country surprises me with just how beautiful and unique each one is. Next stop, Spain.

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Arctic to Africa

New Barriers

Ash was on wake up duty this morning which meant we were abruptly pulled from our slumber at 6am to the sound of him aggressively shouting ‘GET UP’ at the top of his voice. I won’t repeat the response he got but we did all agree there is opportunity for him to improve on his technique and next time take an approach perhaps just a tad more gentle.

We were wild camped next to a small village football pitch in a park in a town called Reinfeld. We had set up camp at about 9pm the night before and were on the road peddling by 7.40am. We had to cover as many miles as possible today as we were behind schedule for getting to Frankfurt by Thursday evening.

Today turned out to be one of the hardest days cycling yet. Not quite as hard as the first couple of days at Nordkapp but close. Everyone talks about breaking through pain barriers, well today I was breaking through tiredness barriers. The previous two days we had cycled 84 miles from Copenhagen to Maribo, then 80 miles from Maribo to Reinfeld and today ended up being 90 miles to reach a town called Soltau.

I have never been this tired in all my life, we finally stopped to camp at about 9pm. That’s almost 14 hours we were out on the bikes, probably at least 9 hours of that sat in the saddle peddling. It was a day of start and stop rain, very bumpy cycle paths, narrow roads with fast cars and the cobbled streets that Germans seem to love so much. It was painful, slow and exhausting. Not to mention we had to navigate our way through Hamburg. The last few miles of today were cycled through tears of utter exhaustion. Even the phrase ‘digging deep’ seems too light hearted, I’ve dug deep and I’m still digging.

Written on June 24th 2013.

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On our way from Stockholm to Copenhagen

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Just after the first ferry crossing of the trip somewhere between Stockholm and Copenhagen

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Crossing into Denmark our 4th country

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Riding late means you get to see beautiful sunsets


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After cycling 1200 miles I had my first capital city rest day in Stockholm last Saturday. We headed out on tired legs to see the sights and take some pics.

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Arctic to Africa

Stockholm with Hipstamatic

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Arctic to Africa

Making it to Stockholm

We left Nordkapp on Thursday 30th May. 15 days of cycling, 1 rest day and 1200ish miles later we arrived in Stockholm. What an achievement!!

It feels like months ago we were cycling to the top of Norway in the midnight sun but it was a mere 2 weeks ago. We have covered a huge distance in such a short time. Most cyclists we have met along the way have allowed twice the amount of time to cover the same distance.

It’s been quite the adventure so far. Cycling in the midnight sun, seeing reindeer in the wild, loosing a team mate and finding him again, plenty of bike trouble, hijacking a pedalo, cheating death on the roads in Sweden, wild camping in a Grill Hut, grimacing through torrential rain and crossing the Arctic Circle.

Tomorrow we head off towards Copenhagen, after about 4 days of cycling we will cross in to our 4th country Denmark. We are a day behind schedule already so will have to make up the miles over the coming weeks.

You can help me reach Africa by donating towards my food and accommodation budget.
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You can also give directly to the charity here.
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Another late arrival to the campsite. Cycled along this gorgeous river at sunset though.

Another late arrival to the campsite. Cycled along this gorgeous river at sunset though.

Bjasta, Sweden

Bjasta, Sweden

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