UPDATED August 7, 2016

BY Michael Coo

IN Company


UPDATED August 7, 2016

BY Michael Coo

IN Company


Tour d’Afrique: By the Books

Over the years a number of our cyclists have made the decision to transform their cycling experiences into compelling literature – from paperbacks to hardcovers to stunning coffee table books – in English, Dutch, German, Norwegian & Portuguese. We salute all of them for their passion, dedication, imagination and talent in bringing their adventures to life through their own words and photos.


Title: Tour d’Afrique
Author: Wilbert Bonne
Published: 2004
Language: Dutch

Hardcover, 204 pages, Colour photos

Out of print


Title: Tour d’Afrique: Zwischen Harte und Herz
Author: Sandra Simon
Published: 2005
Language: German

Hardcover, 255 pages, Colour photos

Available online

“The then 21-year-old Sandra Simon decides to take part in the toughest mountain biking in the world – the Tour d’Afrique. The young cyclist soon realizes that this company is much more than “just” a mountain bike ride. Countless encounters with people of other cultures, as well as valuable experiences and impressions on the African continent, change the worldview and the life of Sandra every day.”


Title: The EFI Club: Surviving the World’s Longest, Most Unpredictable Bike Race
Author: David Houghton
Published: 2006
Language: English

Trade Paperback, 153 pages, Colour photos

Available Online/CAD/US$15

The Tour d’Afrique has been described as as “the longest and most difficult bike race in the world”. And within those who have undertaken this excruciating journey, there is an elite group known as The EFI Club. These are the select few who have survived Every Fucking Inch between Cairo and Cape Town, despite illness, injury, mechanical breakdowns, small children with big rocks and all the misfortunes that Africa can muster.”


The EFI Club is so much more than a book about a bicycle race. It’s a courageous journey of mental and physical perseverance, evoking every emotion from sorrow to joy.” – Jane Armstrong, Canadian Duathlon Champion

The book touches on hot issues such as the fighting in Darfur and the scourge of AIDS. I highly recommend it to everyone interested in cycling, pushing the limits, and simply reading damn good travel writing.” – Lorne Hicks, Endurance Cyclist


Title: Rustico Riders Cycle Africa
Author: Beryl Doiron with Bernie Doiron
Published: 2009
Language: English

Hardcover, 190 pages, B&W photos.

Available Online/CAD$39

A four-month cycling trip from tip to tail of Africa – in the company of like-minded individuals, accompanied by a support team – was the perfect way for Beryl and Bernie Doiron to marry their joy of cycling with their love of travel and to escape the Canadian winter. Departing Cairo with its pyramids, they cycled through ancient Egypt, the deserts of Sudan, the mountains of Ethiopia, the lush rolling hills of Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia, the beautiful terrain of Botswana and Namibia and along the Atlantic Ocean of South Africa to Cape Town: a fifth of the journey on clay, washboard, rock, sand, and dusty roads. It all made January to May 2008 a memorable summer: 10,000km down roads less travelled, time to interact with some of the world’s poorest people, pitching tents in desert and on bush ground and eating local foods. Again and again, the authors were struck by the welcoming faces of people with very few of life’s amenities, who appear to live in peace and harmony with their surroundings. In small village and countryside, the people and lifestyle also triggered memories of early childhood, growing up on a family farm and nearby fishing village in Prince Edward Island, Canada.


Title: Seidenstrasse: Zwischen Magie und Wirklichkeit
Author: Sandra Simon
Published: 2009
Language: German

Hardcover, 216 pages, Colour photos

Available Online/€20

Im Jahr 2007 startete die erste moderne Radkarawane im Rahmen eines 90-Etappen-Mountainbikerennens von Istanbul in Richtung Peking. Sie bewegte sich auf der wohl spannendsten Route der Welt – der Seidenstraße, das Geflecht uralter Handelswege zwischen Morgen- und Abendland. Ich habe damals an dieser Mountainbikeexpedition teilgenommen und möchte auf diesen Seiten die Geschichte festhalten, die das Leben in Asien für mich schrieb. Es ist die Schilderung eines großen Abenteuers, das in den Kreisen unterschiedlicher Völker und umgeben von kulturellen Glanzlichtern und landschaftlichen Höhepunkten an der Grenze zur körperlichen Erschöpfung stattfand.


Title: Afzien voor beginners
Author: Louise Cornelis
Published: 2010
Language: Dutch

Trade Paperback, 98 pages, Colour photos

Available Online/€17

De Tour d’Afrique is een loodzware fi etstocht. Hij voert in vier maanden tijd van het noorden van Afrika naar het zuidelijkste puntje van het continent: van Caïro naar Kaapstad. Dat is in totaal meer dan tienduizend fi etskilometers, gemiddeld 125 kilometer per dag. Over bergen, door woestijnen, op slechte, onverharde wegen. In kou en hitte, en dwars door de regentijd. Langs de Nijl, de Kilimanjaro en de Victoria Watervallen. Maar ook over honderden kilometers saaie, rechte asfaltwegen door de bush. Sommige deelnemers fi etsen tot ze erbij neervallen, terwijl anderen het grootste deel van de tocht in de bezem wagen doorbrengen. De Tour d’Afrique van 2008 was bovendien turbulent: in Kenia dreigde een burgeroorlog en de groep was veel groter dan anders.


Title: Volg je hart: 12.000 kilometer door Zuid-Amerika
Author: Dirk van Asselt
Published: 2010
Language: Dutch

Paperback, 327 pages, Colour photos

Available Online/€24

Dirk neemt de lezer mee in zijn strubbelingen, zijn motivatie om deze fietsreis te ondernemen, zijn verwachtingen en wat het hem gebracht heeft. Bovenal beschrijft hij alles wat hij heeft gezien, hoe de dagen verliepen, de overweldigende natuur, het kamperen , het afzien en wat fietsen op 4.500 meter hoogte met je doet. Dit alles vergezeld door een selectie van zijn mooiste foto’s om de lezer een indruk mee te geven van het natuurschoon van Zuid-Amerika.

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Title: A Home To Head For
Author: Eric Olverson
Published: 2011
Language: English

Paperback, 248 pages, B&W photos

Available Online/US$13

“After returning from two months assisting at the Thamsanqa orphanage in South Africa, Eric Olverson felt he needed to do more to help. Despite having had life-threatening meningitis a few years previously, he decided at the age of 59 to take on what would be one of the most demanding undertakings of his life – a 12,000 km sponsored cycle ride across Africa – which would challenge him physically and mentally and alter his view of life. This is his story of why he decided to do this journey and what happened. He describes the daily challenges, the hair-raising and often hilarious situations he gets into, his bonding with his fellow riders over the 4-month journey and eloquently depicts the continent of Africa as a land of shifting landscapes, diverse people and cultures and sheer beauty.”


Title: 10: Celebrating Ten Years of the Tour d’Afrique Bicycle Race & Expedition
Author: David Houghton (ed.)
Published: 2011
Language: English

Hardcover, 251 pages, Colour photos

Out of print/Read e-book version here

Exasperating, bewitching, schizophrenic, addictive; the African continent is an assault on your sensibilities. 10: Celebrating Ten Years of the Tour d’Afrique Bicycle Race and Expedition is a powerful photographic journey of the gutsy men and women who have pedaled across Africa on the planet’s most exceptional bicycle adventure. Since 2003, riders and crew of the Tour d’Afrique have captured their intensely personal experiences as seen from the saddle of a bike; most of the time anyway.


If you want to know what is required to undertake the gruelling, 4½-month bike trip from Cairo to Cape Town, this is the book for you: stunning photographs taken by the decade’s worth of explorers who have essayed the event, as well as quotes that document the life-transforming consequences riders have experienced. Introduction by Tour d’Afrique founder Henry Gold, whose once-madcap idea has been more than validated.” – Toronto Globe and Mail, The 2011 gift books guide: A select guide to great coffee-table books

Both the pictures and the text offer a vivid description of traveling by bicycle in places where recreational cycling is rare and novel. Several anecdotes are painful to read—children throwing rocks at the riders, for one—but 10 captures the event’s struggles and triumphs in a way that seems very real.” – Outside Magazine

With a foreword by Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler and an introduction by Tour d’Afrique founder Henry Gold, the 252-page volume is vicarious adventure at its best, and is a book worth savouring and slobbering over.” – Michael McCoy, Adventure Cyclist Magazine


Title: The Slow Way Down
Author: Gerald Coniel
Published: 2012
Language: English

Paperback, 276 pages, Colour photos

Available Online/US$47 (used)

Gerald Coniel shares his epic 12 000 KM long adventure across the African continent. His daily struggle to ride every last inch of the Tour d’Afrique is truly captivating. “Slow Way Down” gives a fun and fresh look at Africa while exposing the challenges of racing a bicycle on some of the most daunting roads on the planet. An entertaining and exciting story so inspiring that it might even get you jumping on the saddle yourself“.


Title: Tour d’Afrique: 12 000 Kilometer Radrennen von Kairo nach Kapstadt
Author: Hardy Grune
Published: 2013
Language: German

Hardcover, 272 pages, Colour photos

Available Online/€20

Die Tour d´Afrique ist mit einer Rennstrecke von etwa 12 000 Kilometern und 120 Renntagen eines der längsten und härtesten Radrennen der Welt. Hardy Grüne ist diese Tour zwischen Rennen und Expedition im Sommer 2011 mitgefahren. Neben der sportlichen Herausforderung der Tour d´Afrique interessierte ihn die intensive, hautnahe Begegnung mit Afrika. Beides hat er in einem Bericht festgehalten. Hardy Grüne berichtet von einem Rennen für Selbstversorger. Der Veranstalter der Tour d´Afrique beschränkt sich auf Streckenkennzeichnung, Zeitnahme, Notfallhilfe und die Organisation der Lagerplätze. Übernachtet wird im Zelt in improvisierten Camps. Die Teilnehmer sind eine bunte Mischung aus Extremsportlern, Ausdauerfreaks und Abenteurern. Welche Motivation auch immer jeden Einzelnen antreibt – belastbar muss er sein. Als wären die langen Tagesetappen in Hitze und Staub nicht Strapaze genug, kommen mit der ungewohnten Ernährung und den hygienischen Einschränkungen weitere Belastungen für Körper und Seele dazu. Von den wechselhaften politischen Rahmenbedingungen einmal ganz abgesehen. Dieser spannende Bericht über die Tour d`Afrique ist zugleich radsportliche Reportage wie Reflektion über einen unruhigen Kontinent, dessen archaische Schönheit den Autor Hardy Grüne immer wieder überwältigt.”


Title: Le Kiwi Tour d’Afrique
Author: Lindsay Gault
Published: 2013
Language: English

Paperback, 336 pages, Colour photos

Available Online/CAD$23

This is a Kiwi mountain biker’s story of a race and an adventure across 11,000 kilometres of African roads. The journey crosses 10 African countries, and contains all the elements of danger and excitement that you would expect from these countries. Armed holdups, typhoid, malaria, 50 degree heat and elephant charges are all in the mix. The story also records the passage through the turmoil of the split of North and South Sudan, and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.


Title: I Must be Mad: A Photographic Journey Through Africa from the Saddle of a Bicycle
Author: James Campbell
Published: 2013
Language: English

Hardcover/Trade Paperback, 192 pages, Colour photos

Available Online/CAD$210/CAD$160

Every year, about 50 or so cyclists are informed by their loved ones that they are mad. These cyclists are made aware of this fact shortly after informing their friends and family members that they intend to ride their bicycle the length of Africa for four months, averaging about 125km a day for a total of over 11,000km. The thought of cycling through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa may be a little daunting, but the adventures that we all know to be waiting out there on the road cannot be ignored.


Title: Mitt Afrika
Author: Sigrid Mogard
Published: 2014
Language: Norwegan

Hardcover, 306 pages, Colour photos

Available Online/KR299

Fra de første pedaltråkkene i Sudan og til målstreken nås i Sør-Afrika, tar Sigrid leseren med på virkelighetens eventyr. Sykkelturen varer i fire måneder, går gjennom ni land, og er 11 800 kilometer lang. Hun sykler gjennom ørken, sterk vind, intens varme, bratte fjell og på varme lavasteiner. Hun blir spådd av en heksedoktor, hører barnelatter, opplever deprimerte og berusede geiter, og hun ser løver og elefanter på nært hold. Dette er en fortelling om Sigrid sine opplevelser fra sykkelsetet gjennom Afrika. Fra møtet med arabiske kamelselgere i Sudan, steinkastende barn i Etiopia til vakre masaikvinner i Kenya. Hun svømmer med delfiner på Zanzibar, og sykler med elefanter i Botswana. Smilende og kontaktsøkende barn heier henne fram gjennom hele Afrika.”


Title: Mais Que Um Leao Por Dia
Author: Alexandre Costa Nascimento
Published: 2015
Language: Portuguese

Trade Paperback, 427 pages, B&W and colour photos

Available Online/R$38

Cruzar o continente africano – de Norte a Sul – é uma aventura indiscutível. Viver esta experiência montado em uma bicicleta é aumentar a dose de adrenalina da viagem. Foi assim que o jornalista Alexandre Costa Nascimento tornou-se o primeiro brasileiro a participar do Tour d’Afrique, expedição que atrai ciclistas do mundo todo pelo desafio de percorrer os 12 mil quilômetros que separam o Cairo, no Egito, da Cidade do Cabo, na África do Sul. Neste livro, Alexandre narra a aventura vivida durante quatro meses, mesclando informação dos 11 países visitados com as surpresas oferecidas em cada etapa- visuais impressionantes, animais selvagens, desertos, tempestades de areia, calor de 40 graus durante o dia e frio de 0 grau na madrugada, pneus furados, quedas, machucados, doenças inesperadas. Além de um relato impressionante, Mais que um Leão por Dia mostra a transformação pessoal vivida pelo jornalista, o autoconhecimento conquistado, as amizades construídas e o despertar para o tema bicicleta como fator determinante para a mobilidade em todo o planeta.”


Title: Dodging Elephants
Author: Alice Morrison
Published: 2016
Language: English

Paperback, 154 pages, no photos

Available Online/CAD$6

Flung off the corporate hamster wheel by impending redundancy, Alice decided to carpe that diem and sign up for the longest bike race on earth, 8000 miles from Cairo to Cape Town. Under-trained and over-optimistic she set off with 62 fellow lycra-clad racers to tackle the adventure of a lifetime. Having imagined a leisurely ride across the continent with plenty of time to rest under a baobab tree and contemplate her navel, she was rudely awakened as the peloton raced across Egypt at full speed and the dream became a reality. “As I was crouched on my hands and knees with my butt cheeks spread, while the long-suffering doctor checked to see if any of my saddle sores were infected, I realized that my Mum was right and that I WAS crazy to do this!” admits Alice“.


Title: Rolling Habits Africa
Author: Sergio de Arrola
Published: 2016
Language: Spanish/English

Hardcover, 200 pages, colour photos

Available online/€50

“Rolling Habits: Africa is the second book from Spanish photographer Sergio de Arrola. The book is a hopeful journey through a continent full of prejudices. An image focused on human beings, free from politics, religion or money. Three elements that have marked the history of Africa, and humanity in general. The book contains a series of photos, shot in panoramic and 35mm format, that immerse you in a journey through majestic landscapes, accomplice faces and everyday situations.”




2 Comments for "Tour d’Afrique: By the Books"

Hi- Just wondering if you have contact info for David Houghton-

trying to obtain a copy of his EFI club book re cycling across Africa- it appears to be out of print and the link goes to an unaffiliated site.

Loaned my copy to a friend years ago and never got it back.

As an aside- does he have a new cycling book out?

Thank you, Chris Wille

    Hi Chris, I emailed you the information you requested.

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