Finding Yourself And Others Along The Way

Sergio de Arrola / Rolling Habits Africa


Spanish photographer and cyclist Sergio de Arrola went on an epic journey, traveling from Cairo to Capetown on a bicycle. I wrote the introduction to the book Rolling Habits Africa, that resulted from this trip.

Finding Yourself And Others Along The Way: A Photographic Roadtrip On A Bicycle

I’m not unfamiliar with the bicycle serving as a main form of urban transportation. Seven out of eight adults in my country, The Netherlands, own at least one and ride on it frequently, myself included. We might be exceptional in that way but meanwhile, you can see European city dwellers of all ages choosing the bike as an alternative means of transportation. Some of them are just more ‘hardcore’ than others. I mean, it is certainly not without risk to attune with the attitude exhibited in traffic, the apparent impatience and bluntness expressed by those who are themselves safely cocooned in their mobile containers. Commuting over roads that still lack a decent infrastructure for the bicycle? It takes guts to expose yourself to such circumstances when the local authorities still haven’t made redesigning the streets a priority.

Taking such risks, living on the edge while enjoying the freedom, that’s not ‘hipster’, that’s rock ‘n roll! The attraction is in combining the mentality of a truck driver, the physical endurance of a sportsman, and the mindfulness of an environmentalist. It is exactly that mix of elements which I recognize in Sergio de Arrola (Spain, 1979) that helps me understand and admire the execution of a plan so wild and exotic that it can only be performed by a handful of the most extreme cyclists out there. I mean, how many people do you know that first traveled the United States from Coast to Coast on a bicycle in order to continue doing more or less the same in Africa, starting in Cairo and ending up… all the way South, in Cape Town?!

It is only for Sergio himself to see what is going on inside his head, but luckily for the rest of us, he has managed to capture his adventures photographically. […]

Full text in the book. It can be purchased here