Peter previously alone on a lonely road in North Africa. Image courtesy of crazyguyonabike.com (click to enlarge)
ExWeb interview with Peter Gostelow, The freedom to explore
Posted: Aug 11, 2009 12:03 pm EDT
In less than a week Briton Peter Gostelow will start his 1824 month cycling journey through Africa. He is no stranger on a bicycle after cycling three years from Japan to the UK. ExWebs Correne Coetzer caught up with Peter in his rush to get everything ready for departure.
ExplorersWeb: What inspired you to plan this cycle journey through Africa?
Peter: I first visited southern and east Africa 8 years ago. I have warm memories of my time travelling there. Cycling through Africa is a continuation of my World tour. The Americas may follow.
ExplorersWeb: What do you find most rewarding about your cycling?
Peter: The freedom to explore, to see places and meet people that few other people have the opportunity to.
ExplorersWeb: It is a long road through strange, unknown places. What will motivate you to keep going?
Peter: There is always something new to learn and see. Charting my progress slowly over the map and hoping that people back home and around the World are following my trip and supporting the charity is a big plus.
ExplorersWeb: What are you looking forward to?
Peter: Getting off the beaten track in lots of different countries. Meeting people who have a story to tell.
ExplorersWeb: What are you not looking forward to?
Peter: The reality of corrupt officials and people who will naturally see me as a rich westerner, which in comparison, I will be.
ExplorersWeb: Africa is not always a safe place. What dangers will you be looking out for? What safety measurements do you have in place?
Peter: I will listen and talk to as many people on the ground about safety issues as possible. Planning ahead to insure I dont arrive in big cities at night without a contact is also important.
ExplorersWeb: Fellow British cyclist, Helen Lloyd is going to avoid Central Africa, but you plan to cycle through that area. Which Central African countries are you planning to cross? What possible difficulties could you encounter there?
Peter: Yes, my current plan is to cycle through Nigeria, Cameroon, and possibly across the DRC towards Uganda. This plan could totally change depending on how secure I feel and the information I gather from people who have travelled through these countries.
ExplorersWeb: What paperwork (visas, permissions) did you have to get to travel your route?
Peter: None. I have a passport and vaccination certificates. I will apply for visas on route.
ExplorersWeb: You have surely packed your gear already. How much does your gear weigh? What is the standard kit that you will have with you on your bike?
Peter: My gear minus food and water is about 30kg. Check the equipment list on the website for a more detailed look.
ExplorersWeb: You dont take all your food with and the African food could be strange on your stomach. What medication do you take with? Will you use malaria tablets?
I will probably use Doxycyclone as an anti-malarial. I will pack a first aid kit with the usual requirements for tropical travel (rehydration salts, diarrhea tablets..)
ExplorersWeb: How do you feel at the moment?
Peter: Excited, a little stressed, but Ive already spent 3 years travelling overland on a bicycle from Japan-UK. This is not new.
ExplorersWeb: Anything else?
Peter: If you have any contacts in any of the countries I am likely to pass please get in contact through the website.
Peter Gostelow who currently lives in Dorset, UK, was born in 1979 and became an English teacher and long distance cycler. During 2005 to 2008 he cycled from Japan to the UK, a distance of 50,000 km. Peter is single and when he is not cycling he plays squash, reads short stories by Somerset Maugham, Apocalypse Now, and listen to Afrobeat and various World music.