In August 1991, Dan and I set off from Andover in Hampshire for our adventure. Before we pushed off from our parents' house, we had been packing our stuff up onto our bikes in the garden.
My girlfriend (now wife) had designed t-shirts for us to wear emblazoned with the title 'The Hawkins Tour' across the top and a map of Africa below with our route dotted along the continent.
At one point, the local reporter and her photographer came along to interview us and take some pictures. It was a quite a frantic morning before we finally set off.
But, we did not see the outcome of the interview with the press until we returned a year later. Although our intentions to travel beyond Africa when we reached Cape Town never happened, it was still a good thing to have asked the press along.
We did not invite them along for the sake of publicity for a cause. After all, Dan and I were not raising money for a charity. We were cycling down Africa for the hell of it. We were not selling a book or a TV program (who would have been interested anyway?).
Having the article was a good memento of the start of an amazing year in the saddle with my brother.
Losing your photographs and your writing has to be one of the worst things that can happen to you. Losing your money, your camera, your netbook and tent poles rank pretty highly in bad things that can happen, beaten only by fatal diseases or being killed by a mad driver.
World cyclist, Peter Gostelow has been cycling through Africa for many months now and he has been writing an exceptionally good blog about his experiences. He has also raised over £11,000 to help fight malaria in the continent and was distributing mosquito nets when he had most of his possessions stolen from his room.
He has asked for help by way of donations to help him get his journey back on the road. Please help him to get going again and raising money for fighting this terrible disease. You can read about his recent experience here and donate to his cause too.
I'm really enjoying reading Peter Gostelow's blog, Big Africa Cycle, as he makes his way south in this incredible contient. He's in Uganda at the moment avoiding the tourist trap backpavker hotels and trips. His photographs of Uganda have been amazing. You can see some of them in this post.
Reading his blog makes me want to go back and do more cycling in Africa!
I can't help but be moved when I read Peter Gostelow's blog about his journey through Africa on a bicycle. Now, he is in Uganda having just come through the DRC and his photos and words show how friendly are the people and beautiful is the countryside.
Life on a bicycle is so simple and Peter illustrates this so well. He is cycling through National Parks in Uganda where there are elephants within a hundred metres of him. He is cycling along tracks where there is no traffic and staying in hotels for $5 a night. Wonderful.
Take a look at his video below with the elephants in the background.
I've now completed the first 24 days of our journey from my diary. It's going to take me several months at the rate I am typing up the diary at this rate. I need to up my work rate.
I looked up the website of someone who was an inspiration to us both before we left England that August, namely Josie Dew. She has cycled all over the world and written many books. You can see them here.
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family and is now a magazine editor and occasional adventure cyclist.
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