At the risk of sounding like Dr Seuss,…Today is the day. I’m off to great places. A place 165km from Nairobi to be exact, on my bike, to start my Tour d’Afrique. Will you join me vicariously on the ride of my life?
Around 40 others have been cycling since Cairo and have now accepted me into their group, to ride with them for the next 8 weeks, clocking around 120-200km per day, in the currently sweltering heat.
Am I ready for such a ride? Well even if I’m not I have to be, because this group will leave with or without me. I’ve had the added bonus of having 3 days to acclimatise to the heat, dust and sunshine in Kenya. I’m continually amazed at how the Kenyans keep themselves looking so clean with freshly ironed shirts.
Meanwhile my toes have gotten red from walking in the dirt of the roadside in my sandals and running across to the other side, avoiding being hit by the cars that seem to think pedestrians have no rights. I’ve been charged 5 times as much to visit Nairobi’s National Safari park because I’m a tourist. Bonus was seeing these two – although I’m looking forward to seeing more in their natural habitat. More photos are here
I’ve eaten some excellent chocolate croissants at a swanky cafe that exists just a short walk away from the campsite and lodge and offers great Cafe Lattes (thanks to the English influence here).
I’ve got to meet Rose, a female entrepreneur who started her business thanks to a microloan through Zidisha and has built her own supply company for construction. James, also an entrepreneur and volunteer, take me along to meet her (see his comment on our visit on Rose’s profile and story in the link above). And I got to meet volunteers for Girl Power who receive money from Women Win to fund their work in helping young girls in the slums to receive a better education and put an end to violence and abuse.
But now it’s time to get serious. About cycling, about my butt, about my ability to ride such distances each day in order to complete this personal challenge and raise the full $10K I pledged to donate to Women Win (with your help).
How Do You Prepare?
I’ve been thinking about doing this ride since 2006 and so I’ve had some time to prepare mentally, but in terms of getting organized and packing that began back in November 2011 when I made my first purchase of some biking gear and got my first sponsors on board – thanks to Caroline at Six Figure Start, Unbounce and Chrometa for believing in me!
I figured I could give you some insight in to what I had to pack for such a trip in this short and somewhat entertaining video…
The list is long and involved but I feel I have it all. No amount of equipment, medical supplies and spare parts though is going to prepare me for the multiple punctures I’m about to endure thanks to the thorns that have been plaguing the riders until now.
How Have I Prepared My Business?
With 5:30am starts each day, packing up the camp, eating breakfast and then essentially riding for up to 8 hours, I don’t feel there will be much time or desire for me to want to jump on my laptop (if I have internet) and manage my business. So I made sure it’s essentially running without me while I’m away, give or take a few things.
I’ve already talked a lot about the importance of being able to build a thriving business that you can walk away from and earn money in these places:
Why You’re A Brilliant Diamond In The Making – Your Life Your Way
The Art Of Pursuing Your Mission In Life – The Crave Company
Otherwise here’s my take on how I’m running my business from my bike including what tools I’m using to ensure everything runs smoothly!
Leveraging The Power Of Outsourcing
I have a fantastic virtual assistant I found on Elance through Laura, who’s been doing wonders and makes me feel like my scheduled newsletters, social media updates through my fave dashboard Hootsuite, blog post publishing and contact form emails are all in capable hands. I’m also thankful to many wonderful people who stepped up to guest post at the perfect time to offer their expertise.
To get Margaret, my VA up to speed I provided training by screen capture `How to videos’ I did on Camtasia and accompanied with a short step-by-step word document. These I did over the last few months when I put aside time to take this extra step and record each critical task. I then shared these videos and docs with my team via Dropbox. They’ve gone on to update documents as they’ve added in steps or notes in real time so we all end up with the same updated copy – love it!
Servicing My Important Clients From My Bike
My Business Design Coaching clients will still get unlimited email support from me, but also signed up to work with me on the proviso that during March and April we would not be able to have a Skype session. I have scheduled reminder emails to go out to them to keep them on track thanks to Boomerang, in addition to be answering their questions when I’m back online and will ensure notes are added into CRM manager simply by sending an email with my notes to Highrise.
Keeping In Touch And Staying Relevant Online
I am lucky to have friends and family who seem to want to enjoy my journey from the safety of their armchair, desk or holiday destination, and just watch me ride the long distances each day… there’s a special treat for you below if that sounds like you!
In addition I’m happy to oblige them with updates on my favourite sites which include my Facebook page and my dedicated page for this ride. I’ll be posting videos to my YouTube channel whenever I have enough upload speed (the one above took over 2.5 hours to upload!) and of course photos to Flickr and some on Facebook.
In terms of business updates and staying top of mind I’m happy to have Hootsuite schedule out recurring tweets for items that happen regularly – like to remind them of my podcast, newsletter, and tools I use.
Thanks to Tweet Old Post I know that a few times a day past blog posts will be tweeted out for you to enjoy (in case you’d forgotten them) and Su.Pr and Networked Blogs will ensure my latest posts go out to Twitter and Facebook when published. My VA is also an admin of my Facebook page and my Google Plus page so any further updates I can’t make, she can do on my behalf. And that’s it.
Weekly Updates From The Road
I’m going to be writing and releasing a weekly journal of the ride of my life. From time to time I’ll send photos and even links to some on location videos.
This is premium content and won’t be released on the blog so if you want to receive it and follow this epic journey for just $7 per month* you can sign up below!
I’ll write every week (never on the same day as I’ll only be online when we have a rest day) but I can assure you it will be insightful, entertaining, thoughtful and illuminating. Plus it’s just for two months so go on- sign up.
*Funds go direct to the Women Win initiative in Capetown I’ll be volunteering at once I arrive there 6,445km later.
Can I say a HUGE thanks to my amazing sponsors, in addition to those I’ve mentioned above. These include Start-Somewhere, KP Athletic Wear, MeetingBurner, Kaleidoscope Marketing, MIO, Strutta, Gypsy Gals, Liz Dialto, Corsett Connection, Fast Fitness To Go, Juicy Geniuses and GoPro for making my journey slightly less costly and way more fun!
Big thanks to Girl Two Doors Down, MIO and Sweat Equitees for helping people to buy stuff and feel good at the same time with a percentage of profits donated to Women Win – check out their designer flip flops, sports watches and exclusively branded t-shirts here!
Together we’ve raised almost $6,400 at the time of writing this and I know we will totally hit the $10,000 mark before I’ve reached Capetown!