I'm in Western Sahara at the moment. I've heard through the grapevine that taking the iron ore train from Nouadhibou to Choum is a great experience. Can someone that has done it will a bike tell me how it is to get all your stuff on and off the train and what the deal is when you arrive in Choum at night? Do you have to take transport to Atar or is there a road you can ride? Many thanks.
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I have not taken the train (I traveled the main highway), but I have been in that region twice and I have spoken with several backpackers and cyclists who took the train and told me how it works. Because most foreign travelers just hop into one of the empty iron-ore carts and ride for free, there is absolutely no problem with taking your stuff along: just lift your bike up and put it into the cart. Ask one of the Mauritanians standing around to help if you need it.
What is important, however, is to wrap your bike and your panniers very well. The train is very dirty with iron ore dust and sand, so it is helpful to arrive in Nouakchott with a good length of plastic sheeting (try to buy it in Dakhla from a construction materials shop).