As soon as we landed in Montreal, in April of 2016, friends and family asked when we would go back to Africa for the second leg of nomads by nomads (N2) project. The answer was the same we had often, if not always, used after a long tour: “We’ll take stock of our images, videos and stories and build a multimedia presentation that we’ll present across Canada, in French and English, to kids and adults, peppering the lecture series with outings in the mountains on our bikes and skis and festive reunions with loved ones. Then we’ll be ready to head back out!”

The task of detangling notebooks and hard drives of data harvested during the first leg—a 21-month long bike ride from Norway to Tanzania—wasn’t for the faint-hearted but resulted in a dynamic presentation we were excited to share. And share we did, for months and months. Canadian summers oblige we loaded our bicycles for week-long bikepacking getaways on Quebec’s myriad of forest tracks. Some spring times saw Pierre head to the Rocky Mountains with his fat skis and climbing skins for some above-tree line carving. “So, when are you guys going back to Africa?”, they would ask.

We had a blast exploring parts of Anticosti Island in early summer 2017…

Fat biking on the frozen train tracks along the St.Lawrence River in Charlevoix. Commuting to the ski hill!
During this lengthy sojourn in Canada we were invited four times by our brother, and mountain guide, Joel “Big Country” McBurney to join his groups of skiers on trips in powder paradises of Eastern British Columbia. What dreams are made off!

Time flew by and soon it was 2020. After some exciting times at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) the world shut down and we raced across Canada to shelter in place in Charlevoix, Quebec. The world became very small and we busied ourselves locally. I worked with some stellar chefs in locavore restaurants whenever they were open. Pierre was asked by the local government to create a master plan for the development of off-road cycling and Sepaq hired him to design 12 bikepacking itineraries within the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve. Then the gargantuan project of building a 30-km segment of the Trans Canada Trail within the Seigneurie de Beaupré, sentier Haute du Gouffre,  fell on his lap.

Blood, sweat and tears while trail building in virgin forest! Sentier Haute du Gouffre.

Chef Sylvain Dervieux presenting the blind tasting menu to an epicurean crowd while I wait to introduce the pairing, at Les Faux-Bergers. Summer 2023.

Seasons came and went. A family friend needed to sell his house. We had only dreamt of having a basecamp and this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We moved in, adopted an adult cat that needed to be rehomed. Sally the black cat, an incredible mouser it turns out, sweetened our days and warmed our hearts. Friends and family stopped asking when we would go back to Africa, surely we would not leave now that we had a house and a furry baby, plus we were not young anymore!

To the naked eye this looked like proper “sedentarization”, but the two of us knew we would make it back on the road.

We won the cat lottery with Miss Sally! She is as independent as she is warm and funny, and could be part of the reason why we lingered for so long in Canada 🙂 We left her in good hands at our basecamp and miss her already.

 

We shared discoveries and adventures with curious crowds across Canada.

In June 2023 we participated in a short film directed by Alexa Fay. The Slow Lane is an account of Pierre’s years spent cycling around the world, our meeting and a little bit of philosophy. It was beautifully shot in Quebec’s wild regions…and in our garage!
How much gear has improved over the last eight years! We are stocked up anew thanks to our marvelous partners! Complete gear list here.

Fast forward to June 6th 2024 at Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International airport’s immigration desk:

What is your purpose in Tanzania”, asked the beret-wearing officer.

Tourism. We travel by bicycle”, we answered.

Bicycle! This is too hard! Motorcycle is better!”, he wryly quipped back with a grin before adding “Were you born in France”, after seeing our very French names, No, we are Canadians descendants from French settlers. A portion of the population speaks French in Canada, like Celine Dion!”, we added

Yes! I saw she is very ill, how sad! Welcome to Tanzania!”, he announced slamming our pristine passports on the counter.

And just like that we were back in Africa.

The Gallivanters Hostel in Dar es Salaam is exactly what the doctor prescribed: airport transport, clean and peaceful spaces, a refreshing pool, cold beer, excellent wifi (to post this!) and a shady yard to assemble our bikes! Ready to leave under a blazing sun…tomorrow!

Usambara Mountains, the Swahili coast and Zanzibar by bicycle! (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - KM 20,960)

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