What are the dates for this year's ride?
In 2017, Bike Zambia will be taking place from June 29th to July 9th. Riders leaving from the West Coast of the U.S. will need to fly out by June 27th, at the latest. Riders from the East Coast or Europe may be able to depart on June 28th. ALL RIDERS ARE EXPECTED TO BE IN LUSAKA BY THURSDAY, JUNE 29th, NO EXCEPTION. Riders have the option of flying out as early as July 10th, although most previous riders agree that it is well worth it to stick around for other one-of-a-kind activities, such as game safari, rafting, or touring neighboring countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.
Is it safe to ride bikes through Zambia?
Yes. Our route is traveled fairly often by cyclists. Of course, riders should always keep vigilant about their surroundings and the safety of themselves and others and at times, there will be cars or trucks along the road. We will be riding as a group to increase safety and will have support vehicles and a doctor with us along the whole route. When we stop overnight, we will be staying in established campgrounds with local staff and security.
Where will we sleep?
Each night we will sleep in a different town/village along the route. We will mainly sleep in tents, which are provided. Please refer to the packing list for more details.
How much do we need to raise?
While the minimum fundraising goal is $4,000, we encourage everyone to aim for $5,000 or more. Those who would like ideas on reaching that goal can contact the Bike Zambia Planning Team to get tips and tricks from past riders who have achieved their fundraising goals. Riders can also create separate fundraising events to support their personal costs of the ride.
How do riders usually reach their fundraising goal?
For the most part, everyone finds their own groove when it comes to personal fundraising strategies. A good start is emailing, sending out letters, or social media posts to friends and family to tell them what you're doing - after all, they can't support you if you haven't asked! Other methods include hosting dinners or events and stationary cycling in front of stores, but the possibilities are endless. One pair of riders even organized a Bachelor Auction which raised more than $3,000 in one night!
What do we have to pay for?
Participation in Bike Zambia requires a $200 registration fee which covers administrative costs, emergency travel insurance, and a Bike Zambia jersey. Riders will also need to cover their airfare to Zambia.
Are we going to see animals and game along the route?
Maybe. For the most part wildlife is not found running alongside the road with us, but is found in national parks and nature reserves. Bike Zambia is focused on visiting the communities through which we are cycling and getting to know the people who live there. That said, we have been known to see zebras, baboons, and giraffes in spots where we travel. You have the option of planning a safari after the ride is completed to see the wonderful animals of the African savannah.
Can I use this as training for a bike race?
We do not recommend using Bike Zambia as training for a race. The focus of our ride is to build a community of bikers and this will not be a race to the finish. Due to safety concerns and because we will have a limited amount of road support along the route, all riders will be expected to ride with the group. Riders will not be allowed to ride ahead of the group and we will be setting a pace that is manageable for riders of all cycling abilities.
Can I come late/leave early?
No. All participants will be expected to start with us in Lusaka the day before the ride and finish the ride with us in Livingstone. However, if you wish to travel in Zambia or elsewhere before or after the ride you are welcome to make your own arrangements.
How do I get my bike to Africa?
You don’t! Transporting a bike to and from Zambia can cost around $400 and can lead to lost or broken equipment. To reduce costs for the ride, the planning team will take care of mountain bicycle rentals that are well-suited for Zambian roads. This is cost is included in the Bike Zambia event and is not the responsibility of individual riders.
What kind of bikes will we ride?
We will be using mountain bicycles to complete the route as they are better suited than road or hybrid bicycles for dirt roads and sandy paths. Thorn Tree Safaris provides mountain bikes for the ride. You may bring your own seat and/or pedals if you would like and you should plan to do some training on a mountain bike before arriving in Zambia - it is a bit different than road cycling!
What do I need to bring?
We ask all riders to pack light. Riders should expect to bring clothing to wear while riding their bikes as well as warm and comfortable clothes for the evening. Please plan to bring any medications you will need during the ride, especially prescriptions, as well as sunscreen. We will have limited space in our support vans so those who are traveling before or after Zambia should plan to find storage in Lusaka for any large suitcases (the BZ Planning Team can help you with this). A full packing list can be found here.
What will we eat?
All meals during the ride will be prepared by our tour operator Thorn Tree Safaris. Those with dietary questions or concerns be sure to mention that when completing the rider information form after signing up. We do our best to cater to all dietary concerns and allergies. You can read about local Zambian food here.
Where will we get water?
Water is provided for the entire group along the route. We will make sure that all riders have access to plenty of water to stay hydrated. All riders should plan on bringing at least one water bottle.
Where will we sleep?
Each night we will sleep in a different town or village along the route, mainly in tents. Accommodations will vary depending on the location but always have a mattress and we usually have hot water showers. We encourage all participants to be flexible and remember that this is Africa—we try our hardest to have comfortable accommodations, but we also have limited options. This is part of the experience and we very much appreciate your efforts to integrate to local standards.
What is Zambian weather like in June/July?
The winter in Zambia is fairly mild, with some chilly starts in the morning but strong sun mid-day. Definitely plan on bringing extra sunscreen!
What is the interaction with local community?
While riding through local villages, Bike Zambia riders are encouraged to stop, chat, play games, and interact with the people they encounter along the way. Not only is there the chance for quite a bit of interaction on the road, but during orientation days we will also have a significant amount of interaction with our beneficiary organizations and communities to whom the contributions are going.
Do I need to train for this ride?
Yes. While this ride is suitable for all levels of cyclists, everyone is expected to train and prepare sufficiently to ensure the safety of themselves and other participants of the ride. Even experienced bikers should plan on training. We will be covering 350+ miles over seven days and conditions may be more difficult than what you are accustomed. The BZ Planning team will be training in the SF Bay Area on weekends. If you are not in the area, we can provide guidance on how to train. See more info about weekend training rides on our Facebook page.
Who will receive the funds that we raise?
Organizations in Zambia that work in bicycle empowerment, HIV/AIDS treatment, education and awareness, and support for those affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as organizations that focus on economic empowerment for women and girls.
What are the demographics of the participants?
In the past three years, rider ages have ranged from 12 to 75 years of age. While many from the SF Bay Area, others also came from other cities around the U.S. We eagerly accept riders from any location which can easily travel to Zambia.
Are there any events coming up?
Please visit our Facebook page to see updates about Bike Zambia events.
What vaccinations are required and recommended for travel in Zambia?
The welcome packet contains full information regarding vaccinations for Zambia travel, but you can also visit the . In a nutshell, the required vaccination is Yellow Fever. The recommended Vaccinations include: Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Polio (recommended adult booster), Rabies (suggested), Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR), and Tetanus (re-vaccination every 10 years). Anti-malaria pills are also recommended.
How do people donate to my ride?
When registered for the ride, you will be asked to set up your own personal fundraising page on the Classy platform.
Are donations to Bike Zambia tax-deductible?
Yes. Donations through Chooda to the Bike Zambia project are fully tax deductible as allowed by U.S. law. Chooda, a California-registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations.
Can I donate by check?
Your supporters may donate by check. Checks made out to "Chooda" should be mailed to the following address. Make sure they note the name of the rider they are supporting at the bottom of the check so it can be credited to your fundraising page.
Chooda, 5851 Morpeth St, Oakland, CA 94618.