Joburger to cycle from Cairo to Cape Town to raise climate change awareness

2019-08-17 08:02
Michael  Rea with his e-bike and Land Rover which he will use to travel to Cairo where he will then cycle back to Cape Town. (Supplied)

Michael Rea with his e-bike and Land Rover which he will use to travel to Cairo where he will then cycle back to Cape Town. (Supplied)

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It's all systems go for a Johannesburg man who plans to cycle almost 10 500km from Cairo, Egypt, to Cape Town on an electric bicycle (e-bike).

And one of the reasons he's doing it to beat the Guinness World Record and become the fastest man to ride from Cairo to the Cape.

But, most importantly, he wants to raise awareness about climate change and money for a KwaZulu-Natal charity he is associated with.

Speaking to News24 on Thursday, 50-year old Michael Rea said he was excited about his upcoming cycle journey which he hoped to finish in 38 days.

Rea will set off from the pyramids on August 30 and is expected to arrive in Cape Town on October 10 where the City's mayor is expected to welcome him. 

He said he was inspired to undertake the trip after he had ridden across Canada in 2018, cycling from the west coast to the east coast of the country. 

"Last year, I had a period of unemployment and went to Canada. I went and picked something out of my list of things I wanted to do before I am 40, but I didn't get to and I rode across Canada on an e-bike…"

Rea said to the best of everyone's knowledge, he was the first to have ridden across Canada on an e-bike, but because he was unaware about it, he had not registered it for the Guinness World Record.

Now he wants to set a record.

"What I found was that the e-bikes are game changers. They are amazing! I am a 50-year-old guy who is not precisely in the perfect energy of a cyclist, and an e-bike changes the game.

Fuel funded

"I am also trying to raise awareness for people who think they can no longer exercise that they actually can, because the technology is there," an excited Rea said.

Rea, who has been living in South Africa for more than 20 years will have to cycle around 248km a day to break the world record and achieve his goal. 

While cycling through the various countries, he hopes to also plant around 50 trees along the way and offset the carbon footprint of the trip.  

He will also be raising funds for Siyathuthuka Khalokazi, a charity which he and a group of women from KwaZulu-Natal run.

With the funds, he hopes to convert the rural homes of 10 women from the organisation. This would include installing solar power at their homes and boreholes for better access to water. 

'Zimbabwe will be a challenge'

While there have been concerns raised by friends and family, Rea said nothing would stop him from fulfilling his dream. 

He said he had many challenges in his life, having had a heart attack at the age of 11 and experiencing backaches. But all of that never deterred him.  

"The challenge will be getting through Zimbabwe, where there is nothing available. Having to plan, make sure I have all the fuel, water and food that I need to go from one end to the next. The border crosses are also going to be a significant challenge," he said. 

He added that there would also be potential corruption and bribery, which he would not form part of.

 "I have got spares for the vehicle and bicycle, but you know we can plan and plan and things are still going to happen. A lot of things have to do with mental readiness and acceptance that things will happen and I will need to make a plan," Rea said.

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Read more on:    egypt  |  cape town  |  climate change

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