More Tours Postponed, But Bike Touring is Alive and Well
There is a day in the not too distant future where a group of TDA cyclists will roll out of town at the start of a tour with the sounds of shoes clipping into pedals, chains moving along gears, and anticipation giving way to adventure. The cyclists will be a motley group of strangers in bright clothing that already have a lot in common – most notably their shared goal of completing a long distance bike odyssey.
We made more difficult decisions on Monday – postponing the Trans-Oceania to 2021 and cancelling the final two sections of the West Africa en Vélo. For the time being, in 2020 we are only offering the shortened West Africa en Vélo and our Patagonia Adventure. None of these decisions are easy, and with every postponement there is another reset required… the goalposts move again. But we have so much to be hopeful for and we know that cycle touring will return, it’s just a matter of when.
As the company founder said in his latest blog post “The media and the Internet are full of information that makes all sorts of statements, predictions, likely scenarios, conspiracies, accusations and truisms but no guarantees or clarity…What there is, is the realization that life goes on and we all need to find a way to move forward.”
A Hopeful (and Cautious) Restart
Will our first pedal strokes be in Patagonia, Canada, Africa or Italy? It’s still hard to say but we are busy working on ideas for pop-up tours in Canada or Central Europe. We have also been watching very closely the announcement that Italy will soon open up to international tourism and have discussed whether our Viva Italia trip could be an option this year. We are are also still hard at work researching possible new future tours in Morocco, Scandinavia and Namibia.
TDA is known as an organization that overcomes adversity and logistical challenges, and we are using our skills right now to assess, reassess and come up with sound and well thought out decisions – always with safety and the on-the-ground reality as our guideposts.
We are being perhaps more cautious than other bike tour operators as we know that some of the countries now opening up may need to backpedal (pun intended) if their Covid-19 cases increase. This could mean a rapid return to social restrictions and closed borders.
We want to be very clear that it is our intention to run all the tours listed on our website but only if and when it is safe to do so. Travelling in the virus era before a vaccine will be something a little different and an option for those with a healthy amount of flexibility, patience and understanding. The normal TDA daily routines will undergo some necessary modifications.
What To Do Right Now
Our calendar continues to be updated so please keep checking it for the latest news on available tours. Registration is, of course, open for all the tours you find there and you can be assured that you can sign up without any financial risk during these challenging times. You should also feel confident that we will be implementing new safety and hygiene protocols for all our tours. Read more about this on our Covid-19: What You Need to Know page.
While there are no tours currently running, we encourage you to get involved in everything else we have going on. Participate in the TDA Community News initiative by submitting your photos or videos using the hashtag #tdacommunitynews.
Or join us on our virtual fundraiser ride, designed to assist some deserving organizations in East Africa. While we all worry about our own situations, sometimes it is good to be reminded of those people and organizations in much more dire situations than our own. Our partners, One Bike Tanzania and the Africa Impact Foundation, have both reported sudden and drastic funding shortfalls due to the pandemic. Supporting their work means helping some of the most vulnerable people in East Africa in a time of great need. All funds raised in our campaign will go directly to these two organizations.
We are ready to return to cycle touring when the moment is right. Will we be running cycling tours in 2020? We sure hope so and we are working towards that end. But if it doesn’t happen, and if we need to wait longer, that is exactly what we will do.
See you at the next coke stop.