This interview is part of a series in which we interview certain people featured on the database of long distance cycle journeys (LDCJ), which records individual bicycle trips over 10,000km in length. For more details, click here.
Helen Lloyd spent a couple of years cycling through Africa, tracing the west coast before heading through countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a solo female, this would have been a remarkable enough journey on its own, but she has recently followed it up with a solo journey across Asia by bike, packraft, horse and foot – much of which took place in the depths of the Siberian winter. Visit her website for details of these and other journeys, and in the meantime here’s a taster of Helen’s approach to adventure.
1) What gave you the idea for your first 10,000km cycle journey?
2) Best thing that happened on a cycle journey?
3) Worst thing that happened on a cycle journey?
4) Favourite country and why?
5) What do you wish you’d known before you started on your first journey?
6) Anywhere you’d still like to go?
7) What were you doing before your first 10,000km+ cycle trip? And now?
8) You did most of your Africa trip as a solo female. How do you think that affected your journey? What advice would you give other women contemplating something similar?
9) You’ve cycled through the heat of Africa and, most recently, freezing Siberia. Which do you prefer – hot or cold – and why?
It depends what you mean hot and cold! Neither of the real extremes are pleasant. Down to a certain temperature (say -30C) I think I prefer the cold – it is clean and sterile the environment so no problems with dirt and dust and bugs (mosquitoes), and with good clothing/equipment, camping can be quite comfortable. Below -30C life gets a bit harder and below -40C it is a struggle and the emphasis is on survival, not enjoyment.
10) Spending several hours a day in the saddle can be a bit boring. What daydreams keep you going?
The next adventure. And food.
You can read our review of Helen’s book about her Africa trip, including details of where to buy it, here.
Interested in cycle touring? Visit the Database of Long Distance Cycle Journeys >>