Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
lindseycole
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Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby lindseycole » 2 Jan 2010, 9:41pm

I said in December that if i didn't get the job i'd applied for then i'd cycle to the football world cup in South Africa this summer. Inevitably, i didnt get it and have since been researching the idea non stop. If i leave at the end of Jan i think it's possible to make it for the final (11th July). The only problem is i'd be cycling as a solo female and obviously my mum and friends aren't too happy about it.
So, I'm wondering if any cycling fans can spare 6 months or are in a similar situation to me and fancy embarking on what would be an adventure of a life time.

Please reply to this if you're keen- or if you can offer any advice

Happy new year to all

Lindsey Cole

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stephenjubb
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby stephenjubb » 2 Jan 2010, 11:53pm

have you ever done much touring before and have you read any accounts about travelling in Africa on www.crazyguyonabike.com?

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meic
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby meic » 3 Jan 2010, 12:43am

Firstly your mother and friends are right to be concerned about you. The dangers of world travel are VASTLY overestimated but still real.
You, of course are quite right to do the trip. :D

Asking for travel mates on here seems like a very good move.

As we have no idea of your level of experience or capability it is hard to offer advice which is at your level. So apologies in advance.
Also I really respect your spirit of adventure. I dont know that I would have the courage for that trip.

First thing is Lonely Planet guides. They are possibly the most important piece of luggage that I had when I left on my world tour. Until you have the confidence to go your own way they are the bible.
I met very few people who had traveled together for more than six months, after some time of living in each others pockets most people end up hating each other. It can be avoided by pre-arranging time apart. So you could cycle seperately in the safer countries for example.
As a backpacker I travelled "alone" but never had to be alone as there were always other travellers looking for temporary company for bits of the journey and sharing important information about where they had just been. Using the Lonely Planet books helps you to keep in the same places. When you are confident to go your own way then you can drift from the beaten track but at first it is better to stick on it.
As a cyclist you will have trouble meeting other cyclists to travel with while you are out there making it more difficult than backpacking.
I did meet plenty of women travelling alone, including in Africa. Many of these women were happily going about normal life in Africa alone. Others didnt want to travel anywhere without another male traveller for reassurance.
Personally I have never been threatened or felt in danger in all my foreign travels, I wish I could say the same for domestic travels. :cry:

Some of the points that I think have helped me greatly are.

Dont look fresh or flash. Fairly worn clothes and equipment make you look less vulnerable and less attractive to thieves.
Treat locals with respect and establish a friendly rapport when you meet. Nothing fancy just a "Jambo", smile, nod or whatever the local custom is. I find this has done me so much good on my travels. They will look after you in return for just that.
Yma o Hyd

eileithyia
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby eileithyia » 3 Jan 2010, 9:01am

Well there's lots of advice on here and as others have said it willhelp when we know your level of ability / knowledge etc in cycle touring.

Can't think why you would want to go to South Africa in world cup season though, it will be horrendously expensive and have you thought how you will get back? Flights into and out of SA for the world cup are already escalating in price.
Then there is health issues. Hopefully not the sort of thing a healthy cycle tourist would necessarily consider a hazard, but HIV/AIDS is likely to be a major problem post world cup.

There are some basics to travelling alone, one of which is to always look as though you know where you are going ie do not step out of hotel/accommodation and start looking at guide book/map and looking around to see where you are. Walk out purposely etc., that way you do not look so vulnerable.
Be careful who you ask for assistance from.
Met a girl in a YH in Athens, been out in the islands, had an open flight back ticket, but had missed last flight back from that island. Landed in Athens waiting for money to be wired to her, mean while told me how she kept meeting all these men who wanted to help her out................................!
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

mw3230
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby mw3230 » 3 Jan 2010, 9:33am

eileithyia wrote:......a hazard, but HIV/AIDS is likely to be a major problem post world cup.........

Met a girl in a YH in Athens, been out in the islands, had an open flight back ticket, but had missed last flight back from that island. Landed in Athens waiting for money to be wired to her, mean while told me how she kept meeting all these men who wanted to help her out................................!


HIV/AIDS is a major problem now, not just post World Cup, check with the World Health Organisation. Are you implying that all football fans are promiscuous?

I wonder at your experiences! Not all those who prey on tourists are men and not all men prey on tourists
Retired and loving it

lindseycole
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby lindseycole » 3 Jan 2010, 11:16am

Sorry i didn't mention my experience. I've been competing in olympic triathlons for 2 years and completed a half ironman last summer. i cycled london to paris is 3 days-camping in rain and wind, and i completed lands end to john o'groats in october in 10 days-we stayed in b&bs though.

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby Barrenfluffit » 3 Jan 2010, 11:50am

lindseycole wrote:i completed lands end to john o'groats in october in 10 days-we stayed in b&bs though.


Ok, in some ways it will be similiar to this but for longer jouneys you need to think about what keeps you mentally happy too. Fitness eventually takes care of itself. Guidebooks are a difficult issue on longer trips as you have limited space, a lot of countries means a lot of books and are your often in area's with scant guidebook coverage anyway. Its nice when you cross the backpacker trail cos the domestics get easier and there are people to talk to. Maps can also be tricky to obtain enroute particularly for a neighbouring country. The general info sections about laws, border formalities, traditions, currency etc. are the most useful.

Different climates make packing much harder. A book called "the adventure cycle touring handbook" ISBN1-873756-89-5 has lots of practical info and a chapter on Africa.

TBH I've no direct experience of Africe; these are comments about longer trips generally. If your looking for adventure and challenges I think its highly likely you will find them!

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Jan 2010, 12:12pm

Speaking as a concerned parent rather than transcontinental cyclist - the decisions about going are yours, but if you do go, keep in touch with your mum. At least that's much easier now with mobile phones, internet etc.

My younger son has been all over (and I've just done Dad's taxi service to the airport this morning.) It's just five years since I was getting up, bleary-eyed on a Boxing Day morning. The phone went "It's just me - I'm ringing to say I'm OK." I was surprised and asked if there was any reason to suppose he would not be. (He was in Thailand.) "There's been some sort of earthquake - a lot of people have been killed but I'm on the other side of the country." I turned on the radio to garbled emerging news about the tsunami, already knowing that my son was safe.

AMC
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby AMC » 3 Jan 2010, 12:54pm

All good advice so far! I've been travelling alone for 30 years, and want to reassure you that in my experience it is ok to travel alone as a woman! In my experience travelling alone can be safer as you can be much more alert & learn to listen to your instinctive reactions (which become second nature after a while), and people are always keen to talk to the lone traveller (although this is can be tiring, especially in a language you don't speak.) In my experience, whilst as a westerner you often get treated as an 'honorary man' and invited into all sorts of social situations, people also seem less threatened by a woman, and you can get to talk and hang out with local women, which gives you a wider view of the society you're passing through, especially in countries where women are excluded from public life.

In my experience, feeling confident is the best way to avoid trouble - if you look like a victim, there's more chance that ne'er-do-wells will treat you as one. So take whatever steps you feel necessary to making you feel safe & confident at any given time. The only problems I've ever had have occurred when I've been ill or extremely tired, which is when you are more vulnerable, and more susceptible to being taken advantage of in some way. Eat well, keep hydrated, ensure as best you can that you have enough food & water to see you through, & make sure you get enough sleep. These should keep your immune system reasonably strong, and are the best ways I've found to avoid illness. Having said that, some illness is pretty inevitable, so have a think about health issues before you go in order to work out how you might deal with stomach bugs & fevers, & try to talk to people here who are from the countries you'll be passing through about what's common & how they deal with illnesses there (it'll probably range from local 'herbal' medicine to bio-medical treatments & all sorts in between!). Remember that if you're passing through the Falciparum (cerebral form of malaria) areas of Africa that you must act as soon as you suspect something's wrong as it can very quickly become serious. The symptoms vary enormously & don't always match what the books tell you, so ask locally & stock up on Atesunate. Though of course the best thing is to not get bitten in the first place.

I don't know what your route will be, and I have very little experience of conflict-zones in Africa (ie have avoided going to these areas as soon as any news came through), so can't help there, but I'm sure it's something you've thought about & others will have advice I'm sure. In terms of climate, I'm sure you'll have thought about the dry heat, but don't underestimate the humidity in West Africa, as it could slow you down & affect your schedule, and you don't want to be panicking about reaching the matches on time!

Most importantly of all, trust your intuition. If you have a bad feeling about a person or a place, then act on your instincts; they're usually spot-on, and it's when you're tired or ill that you lose this capacity. However, in my (admittedly limited) travels in Africa I've encountered great kindness, especially when ill, and I found that many places are safer than in Britain. Get prepared & go for it, it sounds amazing!

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meic
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby meic » 3 Jan 2010, 2:16pm

When I did my travels you needed 4 weeks for some vaccination programs and possibly 6 for others.
Rabies and Yellowfever if still needed are not quite as simple as the others.
It would of course be possible to start the treatments now and finish them in southern Europe.
It doesnt give your possible companions enough time to make a decision and vaccinate up before leaving. Many people would be unwilling to go without the jabs.

same goes for their visas possibly?
Yma o Hyd

lindseycole
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby lindseycole » 3 Jan 2010, 2:34pm

I was in Rwanda last summer-so have had updates for quite a few jabs-inc yellow fever.

I've had contact with many people who are already on the road and they've said you can get visas in the the previous conutry (Cairo for Sudan and khartoum for Ethiopia.)

Yes, the jabs could be an issue for someone who hasn't had them-so it would be great to find someone who's either been to africa before or travelled quite a bit.

lindseycole
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby lindseycole » 3 Jan 2010, 7:20pm

However, in my (admittedly limited) travels in Africa I've encountered great kindness, especially when ill, and I found that many places are safer than in Britain. Get prepared & go for it, it sounds amazing![/quote]

I used to work for a charity who ran projects along egypt, suda, tanzania, uganda and zambia. so i have contacts in quite a few countries. i just need to find someone interested to take part in the cycle.......any takers!!!!! :)

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hondated
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby hondated » 3 Jan 2010, 7:52pm

Lindsay. I cannot really offer you any advice other than to say go for it and take on board what everyone has said and that of otheres that will be contacting you..As for me I have yet to summon up the courage to ride down to the Med but one day perhaps and although it maybe a long short go onto Josie Dews web site. You never know she may even be up for it and if she isn't I am sure she can also give you some good tips given the travels she has been on.

eileithyia
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby eileithyia » 4 Jan 2010, 8:54am

Yes I agree HIV/AIDS is already a major problem, but it will not be any better after the world cup. Without revealing too uch regarding my source and the possibility the anecdote is hearsay, I recently heard of a group of people visiting Africa and, despite a large amount of information/preparation etc., a quarter of the group came back infected.



Lindsey, you sound as though you have a good amount of info already and having contacts will be an enormous advantage. I think the main thing is to be aware of the potential pitfalls and tricky situations you can get into. The least safe I ever felt was going out for a meal in Barcelona with 3 American girls who were in the hostel. On our way we attracted a fair amount of attention from local men and eventually, fed up with this, one of the girls made a gesture to one driver, he followed us, tried to stop us by mounting the pavement just in front of us, we ignored him and carried on walking, he drove off. Suddenly he appeared again approaching on foot, flashing his holstered gun and police warrant. We could have been in big trouble for evading a police officer! It was then that I realised how vulnerable we could be, our word against his, not realising it was an unmarked police car etc, beingon the oppsite end of the group I did not even witness the incident.
Frankly I would have been safer out on my own.

Most people are extremely friendly and quite honestly I have been more often frightened/intimidated etc., in this country than I ever have abroad.

Enjoy your trip
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

simonhill
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Re: Cycle to SA world cup-solo female

Postby simonhill » 4 Jan 2010, 12:28pm

Strangely no mention of what type of bike you are planning on using. Probably more important than a rabies jab. Nonetheless, go and enjoy.

If seeking any info, you could try http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/f ... forumID=32 there a few trans African cyclist who post here.