Bicycle Africa bicycle tour, adventure travel

Bicycle Africa

Dogon village, Mali, West Africa (click to enlarge)

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The simplest explanation for Ibike / Bicycle Africa genesis is it is an extension of the passions of David Mozer, its founder, and an educator, bicyclists and African studies specialist.

David first work on multicultural education in the mid-1960 as a student videographer for a program exchanging video tapes with schools in Japan and later as an advocate for more cross-cultural education programs before the local school board, and then as a participant on the cross-cultural programs that were created.  About the same time he started bicycle touring.  He started by criss-crossing the region around where he lived, either with friends he could persuade to join him or by himself if none could be found. As an undergraduate David had an interdisciplinary major that include biology, ecology, political science and ethnic studies.  His first trip to Africa was in 1975 as a Peace Corps Volunteer to Liberia.  During the next two years he taught math and science and hiked hundreds of miles visiting isolated village schools directing an education extension program.  He then traveled extensively studying the rest of West Africa.  After completing a Masters Degree in Applied Economics, David returned to Liberia on contract with the American Embassy, at which time he administered a grant program for village development and reported on economic conditions.  During his travels, David collected hundreds of pieces of African art, a stack of material on culture and folklore and extensive knowledge of conditions in Africa.

Apprehensive about the prospects for personal fulfillment in any of the obvious career tracks, David set out to design his own.  He made part of this work challenging some myths and misinformation that flows through Western society and helping people learn about, understand and appreciate the diversity and complexity of the world.  To do this there is no better way than a first hand experience.  He felt the strongest rewards and contagious enrichment from travel came not just from see natural feature and wildlife, but when you combined this with learning about the diversity and complexity of cultures and meeting people as well.  To be true to other values he held, he wanted the program to be environmentally friendly, economically beneficial to the host community and culturally sensitive.

With this philosophy driving the structure, the first programs explored the diversity and complexity of Liberia, starting in 1983.  During the program, participants stayed in villages, and ate the varied and succulent local cuisine.  Discussion ranged from agriculture to zoology, making stops at anthropology, architecture, geology, history, meteorology, political science along the way.  Participants learned about traditional religion, healing and education, and modern development programs, health care and education, met civic leaders and enjoyed the lush beauty of the land and generous hospitality of the people.  After the first trip one of the participants offered, "A month on a Bicycle Africa trip is worth four years of college anthropology."

But part of the information void for Africa is the tendency to under-report its diversity and to let one country represent Africa, so systematically, over the next seven years, keeping to the same philosophy and design, the programs was expanded to include the exploration of the diversity of other parts of West Africa and destination in North, South, East and Central Africa as well.  Each program is design to highlight the diversity and complexity of the area.  Even within each region contrasting programs are offered back-to-back so the participants appreciate that it is difficult to generalize about even small areas of Africa.  Since 1983 we have offered programs in more than 20 countries using more than 40 different itineraries.

In the late 1990's we started to expand the program again, this time to outside Africa.  Using the same philosophy that world is complex and it is best to explore it in an environmental friendly, economically responsible and culturally sensitive manner, we have added cultural heritage programs to Cuba and other destinations in the Americas and Asia.  The Bicycle Africa program is now part of a family of programs called Ibike Tours.

Complete Chronology of Bicycle Africa Cultural Bicycle Tours
More on Bicycle Africa's Philosophy
Download and print a Bicycle Africa brochure (PDF).

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