Africa Solo: My World Record Race from Cairo to Cape Town
By Mark Beaumont
2016, Bantam, 978-1-47352-695-2, $11.99 pb.
Reviewed by Brian Clark on September 12, 2017
How do you follow up cycling around the globe and then pedaling more than 24,000 kilometers from Alaska to the tip of South America? How about a ride from Cairo to Cape Town? Mark Beaumont met that challenge with aplomb in 2015, finishing in 41 days and 10 hours to smash the old record of 59 days, but it wasn't easy. The 32-year-old Scotsman rode unsupported, occasionally got sick and had to locate lodgings each night, while averaging an astonishing 260 kilometers a day on a route from Egypt through Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana to South Africa. Though Beaumont's focus on speed left him little time to enjoy the continent and its people, his trip offered refreshing peeks into the local culture. In a small town near Khartoum where he found primitive quarters and a broken bed, his hosts prepared a tasty meal and treated him with kindness, even if they couldn't quite understand his unusual quest.