Tomás tunes his bike for Africa quest

Tadhg Evans

He stunned observers on both sides of the Atlantic by completing a 3,000-mile cycle across the United States less than a year ago, but Ballyferriter man Tomás Mac an t-Saoir's appetite for cycling didn't diminish during that remarkable slog, and now he's ready to take on an even tougher cycle in a new bid to raise funds for the Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation.

In November 2018, Tomás will set off from the great pyramid of Giza on his 'Tour d'Afrique', a 12,000-kilometre journey that will take some four months, bringing him through no less than 10 countries in the process of making it to the finish line in Cape Town, South Africa.

"I haven't set a date yet," the 23-year-old told The Kerryman. "Like any cycle tour, safety is the main concern. A lot of people have expressed their concerns about me biking in Africa, however, it really isn't as bad as people say it is."

"The challenges in Africa will be different [to the USA cycle]. The state of roads is a concern, especially when it rains, as they turn to mud and they're almost impassable. The heat will be an issue, and I'm sure I will pick up food poisoning at some point. I'll also have to stock up on clean water."

"I've already had some sleepless nights ahead of this adventure; but it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I won't be young forever. Travelling is the best education there is;."

Planning is at an early stage, but Tomás said Castlegregory's Mikey Moriarty will join him from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa over the Christmas period, keeping him company for around a month.

In the meantime, Tomás said he's prepared to pin down two or three summer jobs to fund the trip, in between diligent training and keeping tabs with situations along the sprawling route.

"It's a lot for me to do myself, so I may bring a couple of people on board to help me plan this cycle," he said. "I need visas for each country; bureaucracy can be a huge headache in some parts of Africa, and I'll need to be very organized.

"I'm fully aware of the potential risks. However, people, culture, learning, and my insatiable curiosity is what is driving me to travel the world by bicycle. Being able to share my life with people and exchange my views and learn from those I meet is an incredible feeling.

"Like my father says, the best university is the university of life."