by Kraig Becker
Earlier this week two endurance cyclists embarked on an epic 18,000 km (11,184 mile) journey that began above the Arctic Circle in Norway and will continue all the way to Cape Town, South Africa. Along the way, they will cross through 14 countries on three continents with the hopes of raising funds to build new schools in Madagascar while also attempting a new speed record at the same time.
On Monday, Reza Pakravan and Steven Pawley set out from Nordkapp – the northernmost point of Norway – and began riding south. Their plan is to cycle to Cape Town in 100 days or less, which would be the fastest time anyone has covered that distance. Their route will take them through Finland, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran. After that, they’ll jump over to Egypt and resume the ride, traveling through that country as well as Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, before eventually reaching Cape Town.
Reza and Steven, both of whom are no strangers to long distance cycling, have dubbed their adventure the Cycle Kapp to Cape expedition. They hope to use this opportunity as a fund raiser to help support Azafady, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving living conditions in Madagascar in part through improved education. The cyclists hope to raise £28,000 (roughly $43,320) for the cause, which will go directly towards the construction of new schools in that country.
The two men will have their work cut out for them that much is certain. They are making the journey completely unsupported, which means they’ll have to carry all of their own gear, food and other supplies at all times. All of that equipment adds up to about 30 kg (66 pounds) of extra weight on their bikes which will wear on them as they attempt to cover an average of 180 km (112 miles) each and every day. That won’t be easy to do over the course of the next 3+ months, although they are both accustomed to these kinds of challenges. Back in 2011, Reza set a new speed record for crossing the Sahara Desert on a bike while Steven is a veteran of numerous endurance cycling events as well.
The riders are making daily updates to their blog keeping all of us posted on their progress throughout the journey. So far they’ve been making good time, knocking off 200 km (124 miles) per day despite heavy rains. They are on the road to Russia now and in good spirits as they travel through sparsely populated regions of Europe. Just 95 more days until Cape Town.
[Photo Credit Kapp to Cape]