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Four friends complete ‘ride for respect’ across Africa

A team of cyclists weren't short on adventures as they rode 500 miles around Lake Victoria to raise funds for Viva

From colliding with trucks in Kenya and eating breakfast with lions in Tanzania, to the cheering crowd of children welcoming them home in Uganda, the ‘ride for respect’ cyclists weren’t short on adventures as they rode 500 miles around Lake Victoria.

Yet the team is clear that it was their desire to help children at risk that drove them forward when the cycling got tough:

“We saw so many children at the side of the road, some waved and some just stared in astonishment,” said London-based Sam Friday, one of the cyclists. “They didn’t have a clue what we were riding for, but I know the money we raised will reach a number of children like them and help to improve their lives, and that’s what is important.”

The team of four friends were cycling through three countries on two wheels with one goal: to make sure more of Africa’s children are respected, protected and loved. Extreme poverty pervades the cities of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and far too many children struggle to fight malnutrition or HIV, to get a proper education, or to stay safe from those who continue to practice child-sacrifice.

All the money the cyclists raised is going towards giving children the skills and the space to speak out on what their biggest needs are and to help the charity Viva teach the adults around them how to better keep them safe.

“We wanted to focus on children’s needs, and advocate for their rights through creating awareness to the public and telling people about Viva,” Mike Luweesi, the only Ugandan riding in the team, tells us. This was their motivation to push their bikes’ limits on bumpy roads and challenging inclines, through scorching heat and heavy rain, on routes demanding anything from 70 to 114 miles every day.

However, the most important thing for the team was the success of their fundraising, as fourth cyclist Adam Parnell shared somewhat breathlessly at the end of the ride: We have raised more than £3,000 so far and I also feel we inspired admiration and courage from our sponsors and those we met along the way. As a result we can support Viva in its work for children, which is what we all came out here to accomplish.”

Photo shows Elise Belcher, Sam Friday, Mike Luweesi and Adam Parnell


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