A mother and son from Brighton have just completed the cycle ride of a lifetime, a mammoth 1852 mile journey from Canada to Mexico for Build Africa.
Why Build Africa?
“We chose Build Africa because, after looking at their website and talking to them, we could immediately see how passionate they are about their work. I also feel passionate about helping Africa, and the fact that Build Africa supporters get to see how their money is being spent was a real incentive to get involved.”
Brad and Trudi had to plan the trip meticulously, booking each motel and campsite beforehand and setting their daily mileage targets. The booked flight home added an extra incentive to reach the Mexican border in good time, and having somewhere specific to head for each day helped them on the extra tough rides.
“85 miles was the furthest we cycled in one day. We did this twice. But the hardest day was definitely the 75 mile ride up a mountain in 40 degrees. It was a gradual climb up to 1800 feet.”
While Trudi is a keen long-distance cyclist, Brad only started cycling properly a couple of months before their departure. It was certainly going to be a mammoth challenge.
“I started by cycling the London to Brighton and then progressed to Brighton to Paris, and Land’s End to Brighton, which is 1000 miles”, Trudi told us.
“We would wake up in a tent or motel room at about 6am and pack the bags up. The mornings usually started out cold and foggy on the coast, so we had to take extra care! Usually we’d try to get about 25 miles done before breakfast. We’d stop off at a Starbucks on most days so we could take advantage of the free wifi and keep in touch with friends and family back home. Then we’d continue for 30 miles until lunch and shopping for dinner supplies if we were camping that night. The final 25 miles after lunch were the hardest and slowest. And when we arrived at the final stop in the evening we made sure to check our bikes for the following day.”
What did you enjoy the most?
“The physical and mental challenge, the changing scenery, the different people that we met on our way, and knowing the money we were raising impact families who really need some help.” What will you always remember? Reaching the coast after a long period of forests and hills was amazing. The day we spent riding along the famous Big Sur in Northern California was incredible too: high cliffs and amazing views. Arriving at the Mexican border was emotional after everything we had put ourselves through as well."
What surprised you most?
“The nights were colder than we expected, even in California, and we definitely did not take enough warm clothes. But the most surprising thing which we did not anticipate was the amazingly varied scenery which we rode through. In one day we cycled through desert, forests, beaches, dry planes and on high cliffs. It livened up what could have been quite a monotonous journey! Also, the Americans we met were all so friendly; interested in what we were doing and were very quick to offer us help if we needed it!
Brad and Trudi’s mammoth North American journey did not get the better of them, and they are both keen to continue with long distance cycles. “It’s going to be hard to top Canada-Mexico, but we’ve talked about going round the world, across the USA or across France coast to coast. Anything is possible.” Brad is also running the Brighton Marathon in April 2014.