Exploring the Beauty of Algeria on a Bicycle
The International Bicycle Fund is a non-profit, independent organization that has as its goal the promotion of using bicycles as a means of transportation. As part of this initiative, Bicycle Africa specializes in bicycle tours as a means for Westerners to gain insight into Africa and its people on a one-on-one level. Their philosophy is based on cross-cultural, educational, environmentally friendly, sustainable eco-tourism. Tourists who are looking for adventure and a truly enriching cultural experience are offered the opportunity to travel by bicycle through the fascinating North African country of Algeria.
Participants in a Bicycle Africa tour do not necessarily need to be ultra-fit mountain bikers. It is highly recommended that cyclists travel in groups of six to ten with an experienced guide who has in depth knowledge of local customs, as well as which areas are most beneficial to visit. The cycling is generally easy to moderate, with an average distance of 65 kilometers being covered each day. Accommodation along the way ranges from western style hotels to traditional village housing. There are a number of routes that can be followed, some easier than others. The route that takes tourists along the Mediterranean coast is hilly in parts, but is considered to be fairly easy, with the major roads being well-surfaced and safe. The traffic around Algiers and on the main road leading to Constantine can be heavy, and cyclists may want to follow the secondary road between the two cities.
The region of the Atlas Mountains used for bicycle tours has numerous paved roads to choose from. The cycling is a little more challenging, but the stunning scenery, fascinating history, rich culture, friendly people and good food will make the extra effort worth while. For those who would like a taste of the desert without engaging in an epic trans-Saharan journey, there is a route that runs through a series of interesting towns – Ghardaia, Ouargla, Touggourt and Biskra – on the fringes of the desert, each with their own distinct features and atmosphere, and each worth taking the time to explore.
The book “Bicycling in Africa: The Places in Between” by David Mozer gives an excellent overview of the benefits, and possible pitfalls, of cycling tours through Africa. This is a very useful guide for adventurers who are considering taking a bicycle tour through Algeria – an experience which is sure to be memorable.