Buying a bicycle in Guinea
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Dec 10, 2012 4:12 AM Last Post By: redsalmon
Jul 27, 2012 4:23 PM
Buying a bicycle in GuineaI'm planning a trip to Guinea in the dry season and would like a bike for some bush road/track travel. Guinea Forestiere looks an attractive area to cycle.
I'm not looking to do long distance touring - that's what bush taxis are for - rather shorter distance multi-day trips. Exploring away from the pulic transport routes is the dream. I'd prefer to buy a bike there as i'll only be cycling for a few weeks, bringing a bike from UK seems too much cost/hassle as I'll fly in to Gambia.
Here's my thoughts and wants --
- bike should carry camping gear
- be easily repairable (i'd expect most small towns have some kind of bike repair person)
- mountain bike style with few gears would be good for the hills
- light and strong is ideal
- cost about $100/$200
Options might be -
- used euro/n american bike -- i once bought a used US mountain bike in Accra for about $100, one of the best bikes i've ever had and very enjoyable. are used quality bikes in Guinea easy to find?
- chinese bike -- not a good reputation and the ones i've seen look rubbish. the rear carriers seemed very weak and don't know if easy to weld on a stronger one. but if they're common might be easy to fix when it folds?
- indian bike -- very heavy? no gears? are there any in Guinea Conakry ?
Buying a bike close to where i want to use it could save on transport costs, maybe Kankan or Nzerekore have a selection as good (or better, given border trade) as Conakry?
Thanks. Any thoughts/experience yous have would be very welcome.
Jul 27, 2012 5:11 PM
1A quick guess:
1. Not widely available in Guinea (that I have seen)
2. Easily available possibly in most major towns, then take it to a welders & do what you want
3. Never seen
Lovely country but make sure you have something very sturdy!
Jul 27, 2012 9:11 PM
2There is a Chinese commercial centre in Conakry (close to Madina), where Chinese manufactured ones are sold for about 20 quid.
Jul 28, 2012 5:45 AM
3Kankan's very flat and had a lot of bike shops selling bikes when I was there (about 5 years ago). The quality seemed okay for biking around town, but I wouldn't have wanted to test them on hills. I assume they were Chinese, but didn't ask. I spent a long time looking at bikes in Kankan because I wanted to rent one for a few days, but in the end the only bikes for rent where in terrible shape so I gave up on that idea. I can't remember seeing anywhere near as many bikes in N'zerekore, but I wasn't really paying attention.
I'm not a great cyclist, and due to my inability to rent a bike in Kankan, I have no cycling experience in Guinea. I did meet a Japanese cyclist once who had been all over Africa on his bike, and he told me Guinea was his favorite place. However, the roads in the country are terrible, and the bikes that you're going to be able to get there are not going to be great at all. If you want to get out on about in the countryside, my advice would be to either:
1. Bring a decent bike from home.
Guinea is a terrific country for hiking, and unless you have a decent bike with you, you may well find it considerably easier to set out on foot, particularly if you want to hit the hills (though I did once come across two gents cycling the hills around Mt. Nimba with a half a cow each on the back of their bikes - so if you're up for the challenge, cycling will certainly be possible).
Jul 29, 2012 8:31 AM
Jul 31, 2012 5:01 AM
5thanks folks, much appreciated food for thought ...
yes, issue with chinese bikes as expected , cheap but likely not robust. points taken that no gears = less to go wrong and it's possible to weld a luggage carrier on. Good to know Kankan likely has bikes for sale. I would bring a bike over from UK but i'll have plenty other 'sports' kit to lug around.
anyways chinese bikes sound cheap enough to donate/trade if can't be fixed, and switch to default walk mode. i like the walking fine enough but a bike to get to the start of foot only tracks can be very handy ... looks like I'll be back here asking for trekking tips soon ...
thanks n cheers
Aug 20, 2012 7:38 AM
online at Hansrossel.com there's good (but undated) info on buying bikes in Gabu, Guinea Bissau and Kedougou, Senegal, giving possible options on buying a bike before, but close to, Guinea Conakry
prices quoted are 50,000 - 75,000 CFA for Indian/Chinese make mountain bikes. authors say bikes come from Gambia and probly cheapest to buy there.
Nov 24, 2012 3:07 AM
7I bought one of those Chines mountainbikes in Kedougou, Senegal before heading into Guinée. I've walked more than biked, sometimes because of the roads/paths but mostly because every time I was riding the bike, something broke down. After three weeks, EVERY part except the frame and the steer had been replaced!!!! Luckily the spare parts are easy to find and better quality than the original.
my 2 cents, IF you buy a chinese bike, immediately replace all the loose parts: pedals, wheels, brakes, gears, ... but much better, stop one of the locals passing by on a vélo brousse (probably what you refer to as an indian bike, basic bicycle without gears and indestructible) and start haggling to buy it from him!
Dec 10, 2012 4:12 AM
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