Super cyclists arrive in midlands after 169-day Africa trek

2008-06-24 00:00

AFTER cycling down Africa, eight South African and Irish cyclists arrived in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands this week full of praise for the countries they travelled through, and with R1,5 million already collected for charity.

The group arrived in Nottingham Road yesterday afternoon after cycling on the continent’s bumpy roads and footpaths, and sleeping in tents or in roadside homes for 169 days.

Throughout the journey, Gareth Brauteseth (24) learnt that Africa is a wonderful continent. “People have been very friendly. They were very hospitable.”

Having cycled for thousands of kilometres, Brauteseth finds himself even more proud to be an African. He said cycling helped him to get in touch with ordinary people in urban and rural areas.

Didi Francis (24), who is the only woman in the group, said: “Sudan was amazing, Tanzania was beautiful. What I noticed is that each country is unique.”

South Africans Brauteseth and Francis, together with countryman Grant McDermott, and three Irishmen — Ollie Fegan, Denis Dwyer and Niall Treacy — began their journey in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, while South Africans Richard Conyngham and Matthew Eb joined the group at Arusha in Tanzania.

The route followed was Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Bostwana, before entering South Africa.

Brauteseth said that along the way they would take one day off after every six days of cycling.

They will be having an invitation-only function at the Victoria Country Club tomorrow night, hosted by fellow cyclists, and another gathering, at the Royal Showgrounds on Saturday, where the public is welcome to join them before they continue their journey to Cape Town.

Members of the public are also invited to cycle with the group on Saturday from Nottingham Road to Pietermaritzburg. They will be leaving at 9 am from Gowrie Farm clubhouse and there will be a presentation by the group at the Royal Showgrounds at 3 pm.

Anyone wanting more information can e-mail cycleforchange @gmail.com, phone 076 763 6433, or visit the website www.millenniumcycleforchange.org.

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