"Charity Cycle Ride 2009" Top 5 Page for this destination Zambia Travelogue by Acirfa

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Cycle Zambia Challenge for Transaid

So it came to the date of May 7th and time to head off to Zambia, to attempt to cycle 420km over 5 days, all in the name of charity! And, I’m delighted to report-I did it!! There were times when I doubted that I would-but with the help and support (both from others on the trip and texts from home) I crossed the finish line, having completed the full course.

I admit that during some training days before departure, when squinting into driving rain, pushing myself and my bicycle up the long hills in the Sussex countryside, I did wonder about giving up the whole project.

But it took just one day to put the whole into context-on the first day, prior to starting the ride, we were all taken to the Industrial Training Centre Trust, to see first hand the Transaid Project that our efforts were supporting.

The ITCT is being used by Transaid to implement its Professional Driver Training Project which aims to reduce the number of fatal accidents on Zambia’s roads through building capacity to deliver quality HGV

Our visit was interrupted by a fierce thunder storm which caused major flooding at the centre and a complete loss of power. Despite this, we met with staff and students and learned how the support of Transaid is providing the necessary skills to face the challenges of the roads in Zambia.

The visit revealed the true horror of the African transport problem was described in graphic detail. Accidents on the road, through inadequate training and poor road systems, directly lead to death. And this often leads directly to families losing the breadwinner, or having the added burden or caring for injured or disabled members injured in accidents.

As we were about to leave the premises, news reached us that a mini bus taxi had crashed into a freight train at a nearby crossing, bringing chaos to Lusaka roads. It took us nearly 3 hours to travel 20km to our accommodation as a result. What more reason did we need to be motivated to complete our cycle tour, the evidence that education and training is so greatly required, had just come along and shouted at us in the face.
Suddenly those cold wet days in the UK were banished memories as we had the opportunity to make a real difference!

The challenge this year ended up with 25 willing participants from various backgrounds but all with an ability to cycle which exceeded that which I had managed to attain in the 6 months of training. Fortunately there were no egos to assuage and all mucked in to help me through! Not just in practical terms (training me in technique) but by a plethora of words of encouragement, and accompanying me on what seemed to be 420 km of uphill riding.

We began our ride on the Sunday, the first day was 73km, we all made it, despite a challenging hill at the beginning. That was just an introduction however, we had yet to face off road dirt tracks, sand roads, potholes, a day of covering 105km, countless hills and heat, putting us through our paces and testing our endurance levels to the maximum.

Though exhaustion did play its part in preventing me from fully embracing all around me whilst cycling, the real beauty of the trip was the route-this took us well away from traditionally visited areas, so we were able to see Africa in its raw beauty-and most importantly, Africans being their natural, welcoming selves untarnished by outside influence.

Sunny smiles of welcome littered our trips through remote villages and whilst somewhat rustic (at best) the accommodation meant we were actually part of the African experience-I can assure you that such charity trips don’t extend to five star hotels in the evening.

Overall, it’s been a hugely enjoyable experience-getting fit to take on the challenge, actually meeting the sponsorship target, and successfully completing the course. So much fun, so much hard work and all for a truly worthy cause.

The Challenge

Day 1 - Fly to Lusaka, collected and taken to the ITCT for presentation
Day 2 - Road Trip to Motel in Kafue where we fitted our bikes and began our cycle ride.
Day 3- Kafue to Mazabuka (Approx 73km)
Day 4 - Mazabuka to Monze (Approx 94km)
Day 5 - Monze to Choma (Approx 105km)
Day 6 - Choma to Kalomo (Approx 78km)
Day 7 - Kalomo to Livingston ((Approx 69km) Afternoon at the Falls
Day 8 - Obliterated by illness
Day 9 - Last visit to the Falls, then we began our return journey to the UK

The photo shows a bicycle ambulance, used in the villages, 40 of these can be purchased in favour of a motorised vehicle.

We spent time interacting with staff and students

Flooding at the ITCT

Breakfast at Eureka Bush Camp, Lusaka

Our first morning before bike set up.

  • Page Updated May 9, 2016
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