Two South Africans are currently underway on an epic cycle from Johannesburg to Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of raising funds to buy bicycles for children on the African continent.
Derrick Fourie and Gareth Pickering aren’t trained in endurance cycling, but they have a dream to fulfil and that’s enough to keep them pushing the peddle on route to Tanzania.
The adventurous South Africans recently make headlines when they decided to do a rather unorthodox jump off the Victoria Falls bridge - they bungee-jumped on Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles.
‘Why’, may you ask.
“Qhubeka is all about changing lives with bicycles,” Derrick says. “Having not been an avid cyclist before joining this expedition, I can honestly say that my life has changed for the better since getting my Qhubeka Buffalo bicycle. Jumping off a bridge on my bicycle was one of the most thrilling and best experiences of my life.”
Check it out here:
Derrick and Gareth are two of the four cyclists currently taking part in the Joburg2Kili Expedition.
The expedition took off on 30 July and also includes Warrick and Camilla Kernes, and together the group is aiming to make their way to Moshi, Tanzania covering 4 630km over a 10 week period,
where they will climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Traveller24 caught up with the SA cyclists, currently peddling through Lusaka in Zambia, to hear how the journey has been so far.
T24: Why cycle from Joburg to Kilimanjaro? What is the reasoning and drive behind your cycle?
GP: I was given a great opportunity to ride with Warrick and Camilla on this trip which gave me a chance to tick two things off my bucket list: A long bicycle trip in Africa and climbing the highest peak on my home continent and to raise funds for a worthy cause, Qhubeka.
The purpose of my life is to do cool stuff and this trip aligned perfectly. My plan was to go to Vietnam but having a flexible schedule I had to jump onto this opportunity.
T24: What has been the worst moment so far?
DF: In the first week of riding I had issues with a pain in my knee. I thought I could push through the pain but unfortunately on the leg from Kwa Nokeng at Martin’s Drift in Botswana to Palapye it was just too sore to ride. I was also scared I was doing damage to it so decided to not cycle that day and go ahead in the Jeep with Bobby Fuller who is part of our support crew to find a local doctor to have a look at it. The doctor was incredibly helpful and she gave me an injection and some pain killers and strapped my knee up and I have managed to ride the rest of the journey with no problems, thankfully.
GP: Saying goodbye to my brother as I left Joburg as he and his family are emigrating to Canada.
T24: What has been the best moment so far?
GP: The bungee cycle was definitely one of the highlights so far and in fact our time spent in Livingstone in Zambia was incredible. I have also loved seeing the impact that bicycles have on people’s lives especially here in Zambia as you see so many locals cycling along the roads with us. We met up with a farmer called Wilfred who was riding on a Buffalo bicycle the other day carrying fuel for his machines that make cooking oil. He said that the Buffalo bicycle is the strongest and best bicycle in Zambia.
T24: What message would you like this cycle to convey?
GP: Go out there and don’t be scared to take a chance and do things that challenge you. It is only through doing those things you grow as a person. And ultimately this journey is really to promote how bicycles change lives.
T24: What advice do you have for aspiring adventurers to follow their dreams?
DF: People are often scared to leave their comfort zones of life to take on adventures and travel but if you just take a leap of faith and commit to it you can make it happen and change your life forever.
GP: To never settle for anything in your life, identify restlessness is an opportunity to find purpose and adventure in your life. This is exactly what my passion for life is all about which you can find out more online.
T24: What’s the idea behind Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles, and why should South Africans be invested in this?
DF: World Bicycle Relief is a US-based non-profit organisation dedicated to transforming individuals and communities through The Power of Bicycles.
Qhubeka is the World Bicycle Relief programme in South Africa. It is a non-profit organisation that produces bicycles called Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles that are “Africa-proof”, single-speed and weigh about 23kg. They help people move forward and progress by giving bicycles in return for work done to improve communities, the environment or academic results. Having a bicycle changes people's lives by increasing the distance they can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there.
It really is a great charity that is making a big difference in communities in South Africa and beyond. If anyone wants to find out more on how they can make a donation and change someone’s life with a bicycle, please visit our Given Gain page.
The South Africans, along with Warrick and Camilla, are doing this expedition to raise funds for the Qhubeka charity, which provides bicycles to children to enable them to get to school thus improving their attendance and overall performance at school.
The goal is to raise R100 000 for the Qhubeka charity, which delivers specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to people in need.
What to read next on Traveller24:
- WATCH: SA extreme adventurers set Vic Falls bungee record
- Who jumps off a bridge for fun?
- #SAHeritage: Breaking down tourism barriers