A team comprised of three British cyclists Peter White, Peter Godwin and Julian Claxton managed to make a 70- days charity cycling trip to Rwanda as a way of raising funds for handicapped Olympics teams from Rwanda.
Pete White, 31, Pete Goodwin, 28, and Julian Claxton, 30, travelled approximately 6,000 miles and through 12 countries in just 70 days by bike from the UK to Rwanda to raise thousands of pounds in sponsorship to make a difference to youngsters in the country.
The ‘Cycle to Rwanda’ trek started on 28th April 2012 from The West Suffolk Wheelers HQ, Shakers Lane, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and ending in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. The trio arrived in Kigali, Rwanda at 3pm on July 2, 2012, aboard their cycles and was received at the British Embassy in Rwanda. They were escorted by the Rwandan police traffic patrol trucks which attracted the attention of many local residents.
The trek will be part of the teams’ contribution to the commitment of the City of Bury in helping raise funds for the Rwandan Olympic team currently camped in the St. Edmunds camp ahead of the 2012 Olympics in London.
By the time of arrival in Rwanda, the team had so far raised 10.000 pounds, and was hopeful to raise more money from the documentary of the road trip from Britain to Rwanda. The team says that though this over 7000 kilometer bicycle trip was not an easy one, they have been able to attain their goal ahead of the Olympics slated in less than a month, in London 2012.
Here are some of the excepts of who they are and why they made this long trip
The Arena has been chosen to host the Rwandan Olympic and Paralympic teams Pre-Games Training Camp as they prepare for London 2012. The team aim to arrive in Kigali, Rwanda, in time to accompany the Rwandan Olympic team on their journey to Bury St Edmunds.
Why fund raise?
In 1994, Rwanda was torn apart by a brutal and swift genocide—in roughly 100 days, close to one million Rwandans were murdered. Since the end of the Genocide, Rwanda has enjoyed political and social stability. This has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, tourism, and mining industries. Nevertheless, large numbers of Rwandans live in poverty and disease and lack of education remain big issues in Rwanda.
The Cycle to Rwanda challenge is part of the ‘Sport For Rwanda’ fundraising appeal which aims to raise £80,000 by 2012 to provide 140 schools in the country sports equipment and training materials to introduce sport to the Rwandan educational curriculum, through charity Rwandan Aid. ‘Sport For Rwanda’
was set up by the St Edmundsbury Olympic Steering Group as part of its Go Rwanda project to build a lasting legacy with Rwanda.
What route will they take?
The trek will take them from Bury St Edmunds to Harwich where they will cross by boat to the Hook of Holland. From there they will cycle the 700 miles through France to Marseille, taking a total of six days. They will travel from Marseille by ferry to Tunisia’s ferry port and then cycle 1,750 miles in 18 days through Tunisia and Libya (recent events may change the route nearer to the challenge) to Cairo in Egypt. From Cairo they will journey 1895 miles in 18 days across Egypt and Sudan to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The final leg of their journey will take 16 days and 1,605 miles from Ethiopia through Kenya and Uganda to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
The Cyclists speak out
My name is Pete White and I am a senior planning officer at St Edmundsbury Borough Council . I am 31 years old and I live in Great Whelnetham, near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, with my wife Rachel. Our first child Sophie Grace was born in December 2010.
I am pretty much a bicycle nut I guess. Ever since 2005 when I was asked to cycle Lands end John O Groats I have ended up taking on cycling challenges annually. To date I have cycled 1400 miles along the River Danube from south west Germany to Bucharest in 18 days. Also made 600 miles along the river Rhine from Rotterdam to Basle in 2008, and the made the length of Wales last year, and 600 miles from Hamburg to Prague earlier this year.
I find these adventures a physical, mental and logistical challenge which are amazingly rewarding. I am very keen on travel and watching the world go by at 13 miles an hour gives you hours of sightseeing opportunities.
I want to cycle to Rwanda for a range of reasons. To broaden my understanding of Africa, to learn about the culture of places that I only have preconceived ideas about, to push my body to its limit by cycling at altitude, over mountain ranges, through deserts. I want to wake up next to the Nile and to see the sun rise beyond Mt Kenya. I want to test my ability to navigate along a route that is over 6000 miles long and I want to take on the unpredictability that this challenge will bring. But most of all I want to try and make a difference, albeit in a small way to the people of Rwanda who have experienced such unimaginable horrors and hardship in the very recent past.
Interesting Fact about White: I once had an AK47 pointed at me by a Slovakian border guard for nearly cycling through a checkpoint border by accident.
My name is Pete Goodwin, I am 29 years old and I live in Colchester. For the last five years I have worked in the Art Business and I am currently the Sales Director for Artique Galleries Ltd.
My entire life I have been driven by the pursuit of excellence in everything I do. Having been involved in a range of outdoor sports my whole life, more recently I have become entirely focused on long-distance and road based cycling.
Recent journeys of note include the 600 miles along the river Rhine from Rotterdam to Basle in 2008, the length of Wales last year, and 600 miles from Hamburg to Prague earlier this year. I cycle hundreds of miles every month to stay conditioned for the next challenge as well as explore new routes and improve technique.
I have long had the desire to make a difference to those who have little or nothing, and the 6000+ mile challenge to support Sport for Rwanda will allow me to start down that path. I have grown up with the luxury of easy access to sports equipment, professional training and safe places to enjoy the results of both. By contrast, Rwandan children have nothing. In addition, they have very little hope of the situation changing. This is an opportunity to make a very real difference and increase awareness.
London 2012 and the fact that the Rwanda Olympic and Paralympic teams will be holding their Pre-Games Training Camp here in East Anglia, gives us a real chance to highlight not only the disadvantage that young people in Rwanda have in the world of sport, but also try to create real life actions that symbolize the ethos of “Everyone’s Games.”
The challenge is huge. The countries we will travel through bring adverse weather, high temperatures and difficult terrain to bear on what is already a difficult physical task. We plan to succeed in all aspects of completing the task and achieving awareness, as well as raising significant funds to make the difference.
I genuinely cannot wait to begin!
Interesting Fact about Goodwin: I got to the final stages of selection for TV’s Apprentice, but at 22, I was considered too young!
Hello I’m Julian, I am 30 years old and I live in Oulton Village, near Lowestoft. I’m a member of Great Yarmouth Cycling Club and I also run my own photography business.
When I heard through the media that the two Petes were looking for a third rider I knew this challenge was for me. It combines my three passions: cycling, travelling and photography. The trip is going to offer the opportunity to document a once in a lifetime experience and to be a significant part of the expedition will really provide me with a story to tell my grandchildren in the future.
I genuinely believe this will not only make an impact to those in Rwanda, I feel it will drastically change our lives as cyclists and human beings.
Interesting fact about Claxton: I am the official photographer for Sigma Sport cycling team on this year’s Tour of Britain.
Neil Dykes -Support Rider
I am 52 and a property investor working mostly in the USA. From Suffolk originally, I now live in Bristol when I’m back in the UK.
I have spent countless hours of pleasure on my bike, touring in New Zealand, China, Vietnam, Laos, India, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Eastern and Western Europe, Ecuador, Ethiopia, North America and Mexico. Probably my most notable ride would be winning the National Junior Championships in 1976!
Other memorable rides have been the descent into Batopilas in the Copper Canyon in Northern Mexico, the deepest Canyon in The World. Riding amongst the moonlit volcanoes along the Pan American Highway in South America and joining the rush hour traffic on the bike lanes of Beijing. I have also ridden over the highest road in The World, the Kardang La in the Himalayas; at 18,380 feet above sea level it’s higher than the Everest Base camp.
I’m delighted to be selected as the support rider for the Ride to Rwanda Team; it seems fitting that their support should be on two wheels and not four! I hope that I can put my touring experience to good use, enabling the team to keep on the move and complete their epic journey regardless of any breakdowns or technical hitches on the road. When I toured Africa in 2009 I was touched by the friendliness of the African people; this ride is a great way to raise awareness and funds for the people who showed me such generosity. It is amazing how little we need to do to make a significant difference to peoples’ lives in Africa.