August 2, 2007 (Toronto, Ont.) – Tour d’Afrique Ltd, the creators and organizers of epic transcontinental bicycle odysseys across Africa and Europe are gearing up once again to make bicycle history.
Their latest bicycle race and expedition, The Silk Route, will follow the ancient route of the silk trade across the entire continent of Asia – from Istanbul, Turkey to Beijing, China – becoming the first modern self-powered “˜caravan’ to ever undertake such a journey.
Following in the footsteps of Marco Polo, General Zhang Qian and Genghis Khan, 45 expedition riders from all over the world are making final preparations in an attempt to make bicycle history by traversing eastwards through Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China – a distance of almost 10,000 km’s.
Henry Gold, company founder and leader of the expedition said whether they race it or ride it, the participants are in for an experience like none other. “We’ll be celebrating sportsmanship and fellowship, crossing borders, making friends, overcoming obstacles, experiencing new ideas and cuisines — all with a view from the best seats in the house — our bicycle seats.” he said.
Silk Route is the third expedition in an exciting new category that Gold is pioneering — Trans Continental Bicycle Races and Expeditions. His other two renowned annual events are Tour d’Afrique (12 000 km from Cairo to Cape Town) and Orient Express (4000 km from Paris to Istanbul)
Edwina Mattinson from Quebec, Canada has done both. The Silk Route is her third trans-continental expedition.
Mattinson, who loves adventure said her first cycling expedition was “life changing”.
“It’s a huge confidence booster,” she said. “It’s a personal challenge that’s unlike any other. ” Mattinson, like many other participants, is also raising funds for two charities — Nova West Island which provides home palliative nursing care and Holly’s Room, which is raising money to honour Mattinson’s friend, Holly Nelson, who died in 2005, by giving money to the Montreal General Hospital’s new psychiatry ward.
Departing from Istanbul on 4th August 2007, Silk Route cyclists will re-discover the magic and adventure of this historical route. Participants will explore the wide ranging and beautiful landscapes of Southern Georgia, bathe in the great inland seas of the Caucasus, taste the delights of Samarkand and test their courage in the dusty furnace of the Takla Makan. They will cycle to the top of the world, climbing to over 3600m through the Taldyk Pass in Kyrgyzstan and camp below sea level in the stunning deserts of China’s Xinjiang province before arriving at their final destination, Beijing, on 18 November 2007.
The Silk Route features approximately 88 cycling days, averaging 111 km (69 miles) each day, broken up by 19 rest days and a day of travel across the Caspian Sea – a total of 108 days.
For regular updates and more information visit www.tourdafrique.com