As you may or may not be aware, myself, Jonathan Dolby, Mike Lockwood and Mark Young here at Microlise are taking on Transaid’s Cycle South Africa Challenge as “Team Microlise”.
So what does that mean?
Well, aside from us needing some very soft cushions on our chairs for a while, we will be completing 450km over 5 days in around 30-degree heat.
Day 1: 115km/71.5miles Including a nice 20km climb to get us started, luckily most of this day will be on tarmac roads.
Day 2: 89km/55.3m Cycling alongside mountains on dirt track roads.
Day 3: 80km/49.7m This day will have lots of ups and downs and we will need to cross a river via a hand operated pontoon (pure luxury!).
Day 4: 90km/55.9m We cycle through a nature reserve, again on dirt tracks.
Day 5: 77km/47.8 We reach the southernmost point of the African continent on dirt track roads and the end of our tour.
So all in all we will have cycled roughly 280 miles which is equivalent to 4988 football pitches end to end. Where are those soft comfy cushions?!
In no way is this going to be an easy task – the terrain and climate alone will be very difficult, let alone the distance. This cycle will require dedicated time and training and will be one of the toughest tasks I will ever put myself through – and I used to be a rower!
This month begins our training – building our fitness levels up by completing around three aerobic sessions per week, five mile cycles and 10 mile cycles. Personally I’ll be making the effort to cycle to work around 3 times a week. For Jonathan, I think just getting on his new bike will be his challenge!
So why are we doing it?
We are doing it for our charity partner – Transaid.
A little bit about Transaid:
Transaid is an international development charity that identifies, champions, implements and shares local transport solutions which improve access to basic services and economic opportunity for poor people in developing countries. Through combining the expertise of the UK Transport and Logistics industry with our experience in international development, we partner with local community organisations, governments, institutions and donors to achieve our aims. This collaborative approach enables Transaid to provide innovative solutions to some of the key challenges facing transport and development today. Transaid was founded by Save the Children and The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and our Patron is HRH The Princess Royal.
Why did I put myself forward?
Having young nieces and nephews, the thought of my sisters not being able to get the urgent medical attention they required when giving birth just doesn’t come into your thought process in the UK, but for the countries Transaid supports, an estimated 75% of maternal deaths could have been avoided through timely access to essential childbirth-related care.
In Nigeria, Transaid has implemented an Emergency Transport Scheme to help transport pregnant mothers experiencing complications. To date over 10,000 women have been transferred to health facilities via changes Transaid has implemented. In many cases those interventions were life saving for mother and child. For me this is an amazing difference and a very worthy cause.
I enjoy cycling, but never had I imagined putting myself through such a gruelling task, not to mention in a different country, on terrain I’m not used to, in intense heat when all my training will be in UK winter and the furthest I’ve gone in one day being 36 miles. What am I doing!!
However, this is for an incredible cause, so let’s see how we get on!
If you do fancy sponsoring us via Just Giving our page is: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MicroliseCycleSouthAfrica
In my next blog I’ll provide an update on our training plans, our fundraising efforts and some pictures of us in action!