Cycling Sierra Leone and Liberia | Could you cycle 300 kilometres though the African jungle?
Introducing Street Child's West Africa Cycle Challenge…
We like to think we’ve done a fair bit of bike riding in our time here at Mpora. From MTB in Romania to road riding in the Swiss Alps, it’s fair to say we’ve been pretty lucky in terms of seeing the world on two wheels.
Now though, a whole new type of challenge has presented itself – in the form of Street Child’s West Africa Cycle Challenge. The first ever edition of this supported ride, which is taking place over seven days in May, will see participants complete 300 gruelling kilometres (186 miles) and travel from Bo, a city in Sierra Leone, all the way to the deserted (but surfable) beaches of Robertsport on the coast of Liberia.
Now for you hardcore road cyclists and enduro racers that may not seem like a lot of mileage – but then you probably haven’t cycled in 40°C heat or 95 per cent humidity all that much in the past. Trust us when we say it makes life a little more difficult.
And then of course there are the roads in Sierra Leone. Organisers say the route is about 50 per cent paved and the rest of the time you will be tackling hard-packed dirt roads, farm tracks and just about anything else you can imagine being used as a way of getting from A to B in rural Africa.
Organised by British charity, Street Child, the West Africa Cycle Challenge is a fundraising expedition – and as such it’s open to anyone who wants to take on a really unique (but demanding) challenge on the bike.
Incredibly, this route has only ever been ridden once before – as far as the organisers know – by a keen cyclist and former Street Child volunteer, Florian Weimert. He did the ride in 2014, solo, but those taking part in May will be supported by a professional crew of drivers and local experts.
“Cycling from Sierra Leone to Liberia was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. I got to know the unique hospitality and friendliness of the local people and remote villages, and cycled through beautiful lush, green and untouched landscapes. To anyone considering taking part, I would say: ‘Go for it, ride on and expect great things to happen!’"
Roxanne Hargreaves, who is organising the Challenge for Street Child, is equally enthusiastic.
“I’ve been a cyclist in London and Kent for years and I absolutely love riding my bike, but to do it in Sierra Leone and Liberia is something on a whole other level. The people are so welcoming, the landscapes are stunning and then you’ll also get to see a little bit of what Street Child does in each of these countries – so you can see how your participation is helping the people there."
After seven days of tough riding, the riders will have a little bit of time to decompress on the Liberian coast, which is famous for deserted beaches and having some pretty awesome surf.
If this incredible trip sounds like your sort of adventure you can sign up for the May event, which takes place over seven days, beginning in Bo, Sierra Leone on 30 May 2017.
West Africa Cycle Challenge will be exhibiting at the London Bike Show from 16-19 February. Find out more about the trip, including fundraising targets at www.westafricacyclechallenge.co.uk.
Or lust over some photos from the route on their Instagram.