This trip started as an idea of biking from Tangier in Morocco to Tunis in Tunisia. In early May 2022 I took the train to southern Spain and the boat to Tangier, and the next day I started biking. I knew the border between Morocco and Algeria had been closed since 1994, so the initial plan was to bike to the border, then back to the Spanish enclave of Melilla, then a ferry back to Almería in Spain, then a ferry down to the westernmost city of Ghazaouet in Algeria, next bike back to the other side of the border, and continue east.
It didn’t end up that way. The first day was hard biking in the mountains, and I also had a technical mishap which ended with my right pedal eventually falling off. I ended up biking for 10 km or so with just one pedal, then pushing my bike for over an hour in the dark up to Chefchaouen, a rather famous small city high up on the side of a mountain range. The day after I got lucky and found a mechanic that could re-attach my pedal. I paid him a hefty bonus, since the alternative was for me to get back to Tangier, or even Spain, to get a whole new crank arm.
After this incident I decided to stay along the coast. I guess I’m getting old. More hotels, less hills, less crazy adventure. I was wrong about the hills. The fourth day was a grueling hot day climbing up three very steep passes. I met a guy going the other way with a heavy expedition bike. It must have been terribly hard.
I bought a ferry ticket online from Melilla, but when I reached the heavily fortified city all border crossings were closed. Not just for me, but completely closed, apparently for some political reasons. I stood outside gaping like a goldfish, finally accepted reality and bought another ferry ticket to Almería the same night from the neighbor city of Beni Enzar.
So, back in Spain. I bought a ticket to Algeria, waited two days for the departure, then when checking in down in the harbor the ticket clerk asked me for my visa to Algeria. It turned out I had done some remarkably sloppy research. There I was, with the second wasted ferry ticket in just a few days. In disgust I abandoned the whole idea of biking to Tunis and the next day took the train to Madrid and instead biked to Paris. Another story.
But the scenery is great, biking along the Mediterranean rewarding, and in May it is still not too hot. I might pick up this idea of biking to Tunis some other time.
Tour details (grading from 1 to 5)
- Time of year: October-May
- Difficulty: 3, but some days are 4
- Duration: 5 days
- Scenery: 3
- Comments: At times desolate