The Ride to Raise Awareness of Poverty and AIDS in Africa - FAQ's
What are the dates for this year's ride?
Bike Zambia 2014 will be taking place from Thursday, June 26th to Tuesday, July 8th. Riders leaving from the west coast will often need to fly out by Tuesday, June 24th to make it to Lusaka by Thursday, whereas riders from the east coast may be able to depart on Wednesday, June 25th. ALL RIDERS ARE EXPECTED TO BE IN LUSAKA BY JUNE 26th, NO EXCEPTION. Rides have the option of flying out as early as July 7th, although most previous riders agree that it is well worth your time to stick around a little longer for activities, such as safari or rafting.
Is it safe to ride bikes through Zambia?
Yes. At times, there will be cars or trucks along the road but we will be riding as a group to increase safety and will have van support along the whole route. When we stop overnight we will be staying in hotels or established campgrounds with local staff and security.
How much do we need to raise?
Our recommended minimum fundraising goal is $3500 but we encourage everyone to aim high. Those who don’t feel they can reach that goal should contact the Bike Zambia Planning Team to see how else they can support the ride. Riders are also welcome to fundraise beyond the $3500 if they feel they need help covering the 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 just 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 and donate if you haven't asked! Other methods include hosting dinners or events, but all and all the possibilities are endless.
What do we have to pay for?
Bike Zambia asks for a $125 registration fee to cover administrative and planning costs and to pay for emergency travel insurance for all riders. Beyond that riders should expect to cover airfare, vaccinations, and any special gear that a rider may opt to bring to make their ride more comfortable. The Planning Team is working hard to secure airline partnerships and other sponsorships to alleviate the costs of the ride.
Are we going to see animals and game along the route?
Maybe. For the most part game is not found running alongside the road with us, but is found in national parks. It is important to note that the purpose of Bike Zambia is not for game viewing, but much more focused on visiting the communities that we are cycling through. You always have the option of planning a safari after the ride is completed.
Can I use this as training for a bike race?
No. The focus of our ride is to build a community of bikers and this will not be a race to the finish. All riders will be expected to ride with the group. Due to safety concerns and because we will have a limited amount of road support along the route, 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 riding 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. The group flight dates will be departing on June 24th for Lusaka and leaving on our return journey on July 7th.
How do I get my bike to Africa?
You don’t! Transporting a bike to and from Zambia can cost around $400, so 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 not a cost that you will have to worry about.
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 the sandy, dirt roads. You should plan for some training on a mountain bicycle 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). We will provide a full packing list as the ride approaches.
What will we eat?
Some meals, especially lunch, will be prepared by the Bike Zambia team and others we will purchase in local stores and restaurants. Those with dietary questions or concerns should contact the Bike Zambia team. You can read about local Zambian food here: http://www.zambia-advisor.com/Zambian-Food.html
Where will we sleep?
Each night we will sleep in a different town/village along the route. Accommodations will vary depending on the location but always have a bed and 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.
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!
Where will we get water?
The Bike Zambia planning team is planning on securing bottled water for the entire group in Lusaka and along the route. We will make sure that all riders have access to water to stay hydrated. All riders should plan on bringing at least one water bottle.
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 locals. 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 that the contributions are going towards.
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 400+ miles over 7 days and conditions may be more difficult than what you’re used to. The BZ Planning team will be training here in the Bay Area on Saturdays and if you are not in the area we can provide guidance on how to train. See more info here. Regular updates can also be found on the blog.
What is the demographic of the participants?
Last year, riders ranged from 22 to 75 years of age, many from the SF Bay Area, but also from many other cities around the US.
Are there Meet & Greet or other fundraising 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?
Please visit this informative pdf for information regarding vaccinations for Zambia travel.
In a nutshell, the required vaccination is Yellow Fever. The recommended Vaccinations include:
Hepatitis A & B
Polio (recommended adult booster)
Measles, Mumps, rubella (MMR)
Tetanus (revaccination every 10 years)
Anti-malaria pills are also recommended.
How do people donate to my ride?
When registered for the ride, you will be given your own personal fundraising page. Click here to see fundraising pages of current riders or encourage supporters to visit the Bike Zambia donate page to make a general donation - this can later be credited to your fundraising page.
Your supporters may donate by check as well - just send checks made out to Chooda-Bike Zambia to Chooda - Bike Zambia, 5015 Northern Lights Dr., Unit H, Fort Collins, CO 80528. 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.
Are donations tax deductible?
Yes. Bike Zambia is in the process of registering as a California non-profit (under parent organization Chooda) which means that any sponsorship is US tax deductible. Our 501c3 status is pending, but donors and sponsors can now make good faith donations to Bike Zambia and receive tax deductions on their donations.
Chooda and Bike Zambia are exactly the same organization. When we registered for non-profit status we wanted to leave room for future projects outside of Zambia (ie Hike Nepal) so we created a more inclusive name. Chooda is a Bulgarian word that means “wonder.”
If you have any questions or comments about our ride, or if you wish to get involved in any way, please shoot us an email. Keep checking back for more details. You can also join our Facebook page, subscribe to the blog, and follow us on twitter to stay in the loop