Englischsprachige Literatur

Manser Riaan

Around Africa On My Bicycle

Ball, Jeppestown 2009


Here we have the ultimate book for the cycling enthusiast, although you wouldn´t want to take it on a cycle-tour, with its kilo extra weight in your panniers. Riaan Manser took 2 years and almost 3 months to cycle round the coast of his African continent, starting out from Capetown in 2004.

And he wrote a thrilling story about his adventures as a stubborn cyclist and proud South African (a small South African flag flies from his handlebar!), always eager to get involved with the people he meets along his tracks, always pondering about their mostly desolate fate and the political problems they are faced with. And always on the lookout for possible sponsors that might help him on the next leg of his journey.

And he needs them desperately, as he continuously runs out of money, although he refuses to invest a single dollar in bribes to get visa permits and avoid hassles at border controls. He even sails to Spain from Marocco and enters Algeria from Spanish territory to avoid paying a 30 Dollar bribe at the Maroccan-Algerian border.

His life is seriously threatened in Liberia, but he finds himself in dangerous situations in almost every country he passes through. On the other hand there is always one generous caring person or other that helps him out of tight spots.

His only true friend and companion, his bike, is more or less falling to pieces after half of the 36 500 km he has to cover, but he is not prepared to abandon it, mending it and adjusting new parts most of the second half of his journey.

So the reader not only sees Africa through Manser´s sympathetic eye, but can´t help admiring his stamina and endurance.

It is sad to hear that he is welcome by even the poorest rural people in black Africa, but is almost stoned by their Muslim counterparts.