UPDATED January 19, 2024

BY Henry Gold

IN Founder's Thoughts


UPDATED January 19, 2024

BY Henry Gold

IN Founder's Thoughts


Celebrating An ‘Impossible’ Milestone: 100 Tours


“To the Canadian organizer of the first Tour d’Afrique, cycling 11,000 kilometres from Cairo to Cape Town seemed like a good idea at the time. And after the lava fields, the bandit territory, the stone-throwing kids and the tire-swallowing sand, it seemed like an even better idea.”

Thus begins the introduction to the article I wrote for Explore Magazine about the first Tour d’Afrique. Crossing Africa from top to bottom on a bicycle was an idea that, when an article that publicized the expedition appeared in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe Mail, resulted in a variety of reactions from ‘I am in’ to ‘this is simply not possible’ to ‘you have no idea what it takes to cross borders in Africa’ and ‘you have obviously not spent a day in Africa – if you had you would know this is simply impossible‘ or ‘this is mad, you are endangering your and the group lives’, finally ‘you are suicidal.’ Even friends who knew me well reacted with wonder – “Henry, this time you really lost it.” It turned out I wasn’t suicidal, nor apparently, mad.

2003 riders crossing Lake Nasser

Towards the end of the first Tour d’Afrique, with only a few days to go, riding through the Karoo, a semi-desert region in South Africa, with a handful of fellows that called themselves ‘the backpack’, as we were always the last people cycling into campsites, one of them popped a question – “Henry, now that we have crossed Africa, what is next?” I was neither thinking about this, nor prepared to answer. But an answer did, indeed, come out of my mouth – “The Silk Route, of course.

Orient Express riders at the start

It turned out that the Silk Route was not the next tour, the next one was the Orient Express crossing Europe, but an idea was born then and there. We will cycle the world. We will create a company that will undertake cycling expeditions all over the world. At the tender age of 51 years old, I found a purpose for the rest of my life. To create a company that will enable regular folks, young and old, male and female, who are neither extreme athletes, nor dedicated lifelong fitness buffs – though both types are welcome to join – to get on a bike and simply have the adventure of a lifetime, get to know a bit of the world, experience different cultures and in the process change their perspective on this amazing planet we live on and perhaps even changing or improving their lives.

Riding the Bolivian Salt Flats

After the Tour d’Afrique came the Orient Express, then the Silk Route, then the Vuelta Sud America, then the Bamboo Road and so on and so on. Just click on our company calendar to see the extent of our reach. All created, organized and run by a small group of dedicated adventurists who work full or part time within our blessed company. One should keep in mind that each of those tours are unique and almost never the same as the previous. Each one requires an enormous amount of planning, lots of hard work and most of all a devoted and enthusiastic team that has the ability to prepare for the unexpected challenges that arise.

Cycling past temples in Thailand

And today as I write this, our little company is in the midst of running its 100th expedition. Yes, one hundred expeditions that have visited and traversed through 83 countries on 6 continents, with hundreds of riders from all over the world who have collectively pedalled over 15 million km on our tours.

To mark this little achievement, we have created an animated short that shows where we have cycled and illustrates that bicycles can reach anywhere in the whole world. Take a look. And keep on pedalling. Here’s is to the next hundred cycling adventures. May the force be with us, and with you.

3 Comments for "Celebrating An ‘Impossible’ Milestone: 100 Tours"

I rode the Tour d’ Afrique in 2009. I started the tour at age 70 and celebrated my 71st birthday in Tanzania. I was the oldest, and slowest rider on the tour. Three of us who were the slowest called ourselves “Team Sweep” and the staff gave each of us a broom! This was the adventure of a lifetime. There were riders from ten countries, and I am still friends with many of them.

The website listed below is a link to my journal and photos on the Crazy Guy on a Bike website.

Hi Henry. CONGRATULATIONS for an “impossible milestone” of 100 tours. You have changed so many lives and have made us realize that nothing is impossible. Joe and I still talk of the TdA most days even though it’s been 20 years since we did it. A lifechanging event doesn’t begin to describe it. Well done, Henry, and I look forward to the 101st tour.!


    Thanks, always nice to hear from you and all of the participants in these wonderful journeys. It sure has been a lot of fun.

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