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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 6 Sep 2011
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Illizi to Djanet on a bicycle

Sahara-Mike: Sahara - Cycling from Illizi to Djanet, Algeria

I wonder if nowadays it is possible to do such a trip without a guide.

Regards

Tomek
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Old 7 Sep 2011
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Hi Tomek,

I don't think so, but would wonder, when the guide regulation could fall. On the other side, I don't know when it will be safe enough to go there another time.
We did it 2 years later on a tandem from Tunesia when the kidnappings took place (when we arived in Djanet the first people were searching some motor bikers that were missing) and the first bombs were falling on Bagdad when we were sitting in the bus to go back to Tunis.
Then the road was simple as wholly tarred, only the Gassi Touil had some bad asfalt.
Another cyclist of that year was Martl, he has also a trip report: Travel-Fever - Reisebericht - Fahrradtour Sahara

Regards
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  #3  
Old 7 Sep 2011
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riding a bicycle in southern Algeria

Hi Chri8,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chri8 View Post
Hi Tomek,

I don't think so, but would wonder, when the guide regulation could fall. On the other side, I don't know when it will be safe enough to go there another time.
We did it 2 years later on a tandem from Tunesia when the kidnappings took place (when we arived in Djanet the first people were searching some motor bikers that were missing) and the first bombs were falling on Bagdad when we were sitting in the bus to go back to Tunis.
Then the road was simple as wholly tarred, only the Gassi Touil had some bad asfalt.
Another cyclist of that year was Martl, he has also a trip report: Travel-Fever - Reisebericht - Fahrradtour Sahara

Regards
Nice achievement of yours. Do you have your private gallery?
One may say that the more effort you put in the more satisfaction you get. I think that experiences like riding a bicycle and walking with camels provide much deeper impressions of the desert than one may get by using a car.
Riding a motorbike is somwhere in the middle of that scale. Of course everything depends on the itinerary and remoteness from water and people.

Regards

Tomek
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Old 7 Sep 2011
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Hi Tomek,

unfortunately my camera was already wrecked in the sands of Gassi Touil (lot of sand wind). And the only film was lost, when I gave it to develop.
But if you want to see other sandy cycle fotos, you can look in my Trip report of my Agadez-Bamako-tour.
Agadir - Bamako, Radtour über Weihnachten durch Westafrika
btw there I also met a polish cyclist (train to Choum and further on to Atar, and then by hazard in Bamako again)
in Mauretania I went to Ouadanne and Tazazmout.

Regards

Christian
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Old 7 Sep 2011
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wow

Hi Christian,
I must say I am pretty impressed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chri8 View Post
in Mauretania I went to Ouadanne and Tazazmout.
Did you mean Tazazmout es Srhir to the N from Ouadanne or Tazazmout between Tidjikja and Tichit?

How much water did you carry when heading on desert piste?

How much did you drink a day while cycling through sandy areas?

Regards,
Tomek
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Old 7 Sep 2011
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Hi Tomek,

it was to the north of Ouadanne, I got a good oral description for the track in Ouadanne.
The tracks I took weren't so sandy, after Tazazmout there was some km's of sandy stretch around a Oued that opens from the rock bank, where one had to push. But on a bike, it is not realistic to take sandy areas.
When I was there, I did not drink too much, it was in december, later on in Guinea I drunk 10 l a day.
For Tazazmout the max. water I took was around 15 l. Some children showed me where to find water at Tazazmout. The biggest problem there were flat tires, when driving on the plateau through dry gras, there was some plant with sharp needles spiking in the tire.

Regards

Christian
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Old 7 Sep 2011
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sand bike

Quote:
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But on a bike, it is not realistic to take sandy areas.
Yeah. I am fully aware of that it is extremely exhausting to ride on a bicycle on sand. There is however a bike specially prepared for sand: Surly Pugsley.

See more on Jakub's page: Canning Stock Route by Bike 2005

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Tomek
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Old 8 Sep 2011
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That bike looks like a successor of the 3-wheeler "invented by Jean Naud in the 80ies. That should do it.
TROIS ROUES POUR TOMBOUCTOU - JEAN NAUD - CHASSEURDAVENTURIERS

I cycled in Mauritania back in 97 with a normal MTB. Even 2.5" wide tires were too narrow in sand and I had to push the bike frequently. With a max. of 20l of water and the other baggage that was quite tiering (at > 35°C) bat it was possible to "ride" > 30km a day. However water consumption peaked 10l a day.
I would not repeat that ride, but it was very interesting and I don't regret it.
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Old 8 Sep 2011
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cycling in the sand

Hi Yves,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yves View Post
I cycled in Mauritania back in 97 with a normal MTB. Even 2.5" wide tires were too narrow in sand and I had to push the bike frequently.
even 4" wide tires as in the prevoius picture don't allow to ride all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yves View Post
With a max. of 20l of water and the other baggage that was quite tiering (at > 35°C) bat it was possible to "ride" > 30km a day.
Which month was it? What was your route?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yves View Post
However water consumption peaked 10l a day.
Nice Hope you used some supplements to deter dehydration...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yves View Post
I don't regret it.
I have no doubt. It will be one more interesting story for your grandchildren.

Regards

Tomek
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Old 8 Sep 2011
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Tomek,
I was traveling in Mauritainia in January, it was unusually hot.
The route: NKC - Atar - Chinguetti. Back by truck/Taxi because I went ill.
Then later Tidjikja-Rachid and back.
No supplements - only enough water, tea, camel milk and every now and then some Zrig. After 3 weeks I was better adapted to climate and the efforts, but in the beginning my form was insufficient.
Also wide bicycle tires will benefit from deflating in soft sand.
However, the omnipresent thorns in Sahel are a constant thread for the tires.
Be prepared.
If you can, try to get a copy of Jean Nauds book )I don't have it any more).
Worth reading.
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Old 9 Sep 2011
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wow guys, respect
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Old 13 Sep 2011
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We saw this Italian guy in the photo below on the 'middle' piste from Djanet to Tam - just before Serouenout Fort. He was on his own but this was just before compulsory guides were introduced in Algeria. The cyclist had an array of local plastic water bottles on the bike but not nearly enough for him to reach the first towns near the Hoggar. He was relying on passing traffic for water.

Just love that blue, blue sky.
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Illizi to Djanet on a bicycle-img0301.jpg  

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Old 15 Sep 2011
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Hi Richard,

from cyclists, that did the same stretch I got the information, that they took 40 l each. But they even found water on the way, at Dj. Telerteghba.
It is too risky to rely on other persons when on a bike. We had a trailer with us, to take enough water. But when you are on the tarmac road, you even have to refuse the water. In the north the people working for the oil fields always wanted to give us some water, we couldn't carry it all. But after Illizi it got much calmer and we weren't offered any water.
In the Atacama the situation is even more difficult I find, as there you also have to know if the water is drinkable.
This year in Mongolia, while cycling on a very lonesome sandy track (with few water provision possibilites) we encountered the first tourists after one week in the country: 14 jeeps with french jubilees, and we were offered orange juice and water (I would have prefered coke

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Christian
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