“May your greatest dreams and goals be ahead of you; not behind you”—thus said the man, the myth, a legend, Safari Arie Hoogerbrugge. It is but one of his numerous inspirational quotes from this legendary long-distance cyclist.
Late last year, 49-year-old Arie Hoogerbrugge finished biking over 26,000 km starting from November 12, 2019, across Canada, down through the USA, from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean Sea in Mexico, and arrived at his home in Belize on November 25, 2021.
Arie biked 12,340 km across Canada during the 2019-20 Canadian winter, and not even Covid-19 could stop him. Arriving in the USA on November 25, 2020, Arie biked 7,857 km still through Covid-19 and 6 different states along the Pacific and South West. Entering Mexico on June 9, 2021, Arie biked 6,251 km from the California Baja to Chetumal on the Caribbean Sea before arriving home in Scotland Halfmoon, Belize.
Safari Arie: Who the Man Is?
Adventurous Arie was born and raised in Grimsby, Ontario Canada on May 18, 1973. Spending most of his life in the Greater Toronto Area, Arie has also lived and worked in Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Vancouver, and Belize.
His friends, family, and acquaintances he meets while traveling generally interpret him as someone who is curious, passionate, and unique in comparison to others they may know.
Arie has had a few interesting careers in his lifetime. In his early 20s, he turned his childhood hobby of keeping reptiles and amphibians in captivity into a business: first starting a wholesale company and then opening a retail reptile store that also did educational reptile shows for kids.
Later in life when he turned 40, he became a long-haul truck driver, driving 1.2 million km across North America over 6.5 years. Arie has had a home in Belize since 2003.
So, what influenced him to have this maniacal bike ride dream?
Two things. In 2010, Arie did a 6,500 km bike ride through northern and western Canada and it was one of his greatest life experiences. Secondly, a few years ago, he watched a YouTube video of a guy riding a bike down Canada’s most northern highway, the Dempster Highway, during the winter. This instilled in him a desire to ride through a Canadian winter to test his mental strength.
To pursue his set goals, he goes all in and doesn’t care if that may push him to the edge of failure. Yup, this is the type of man he is. He strongly believes that he still has a lot more to do, a lot that is waiting ahead of him. He feels the need to constantly push himself, challenge, and transcend his limit to prove himself worthy of the standards he himself upholds.
The Mythical Journey
Hoogerbrugge a.k.a Safari Arie divided his overall routes into two phases. To fulfill his first phase, he started riding from the Terry Fox memorial in St. John’s Newfoundland on Nov 12, 2019. Due to COVID-19, he had to change plans, but he managed to bypass some restrictions and continue his journey. Thus, he completed his initial phase of crossing Canada which took him 285 days.
Among the wonderful places he visited in Canada, are notable: Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, and Western Canada.
The second phase took him on a journey across the USA and Mexico. After crossing all 10 provinces of Canada, he went off to ride across 6 states of America and 14 states of Mexico.
He had a wealth of magical experiences while riding across the three Americas. Besides Oregon, out of all the places he has encountered, Hoh Rainforest in Washington D.C. was his favorite visit. That was not the only magical place Arie has visited, though. He mentions the Golden Gate Bridge, Death Valley, and the Grand Canyon as major “highlights” for him. He also considers Utah the most beautiful place in America.
Mexico for him was a mythical and awe-inspiring experience as well. For one, he learned to make jewelry in merely two weeks. Another surreal experience for him was when he was interviewed twice for the news press and multiple times for social media. A truly mystical experience was when one of his poems was framed and showcased at a Zacatecas restaurant.
In total, in this ordeal, he crossed 26000 km and encountered 76 hosts: 55 hosts in Canada, 10 in the US, 20 in Mexico, and 1 in Belize.
Nonetheless, all of his bike rides have made him experience new places, new cultures, new traditions, new people, and new environments which inspired him to discover more, search as well as gather more knowledge, fulfill his epic journey, share, describe, and cement his legacy to the whole wide world.
What Is Arie up to and Where Can You Find Arie Online?
Upon Arie’s arrival at his home in Belize, he is pursuing his other passion of farming and tree farming hoping to raise as many tree seedlings for the reforestation of rainforests and jungles.
Arie’s website is www.safariarie.ca where he journals his day-to-day activities as well as provides fascinating information and infographics of his journeys.
Arie is also very active on Facebook and occasionally posts on Instagram. Arie is also a prolific photographer taking almost 37,000 photos on his bike ride.
Editor’s note: Historically Arie is a very prolific blog writer on his website. Since arriving in Belize Arie has not been able to secure a proper internet connection, and so his website is slightly outdated, but be assured Arie is looking forward to becoming that prolific writer once again!
Yup, there’s a boa constrictor and all!
Read about more exciting adventure journeys from The Cyclist Guy.
Steven is a professional cyclist and his passion is cycling. He has been cycling for the last 6 years and he loves using bikes while outing as well. Based on his experiences with the different types of bikes; he is sharing his opinions about various bikes so that a beginner can start right away. Find him on Twitter @thecyclistguy Happy Biking.