Q: Where does the cycle challenge take place?
A: The ride will start in Bo, Sierra Leone and go through rural Sierra Leone and Liberia to finish in Robertsport, a coastal town in Liberia. You will need to fly into/meet the Street Child team in Freetown and will fly home from Monrovia in Liberia unless you would like to extend your trip in any way.
Q: What is the route?
A: Check out The Trip page to find out more details about the itinerary and the route.
Q: When does the cycling take place?
A: Cycling will start early to avoid the worst of the sun, usually around 6am.
Q: What is the terrain like?
A: The Sierra Leone roads are mainly hard packed mud and there is a little tarmac in Liberia. The route has rolling hills but is not mountainous. Think South Downs, not Alps!
Q: Can I take my own bike?
A: In short, yes. But you do not have to take your own bike. Please note that this is not a road race on tarmac but a cycle challenge in West Africa! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
Q: How can I register?
Q: Who is managing the race?
A: An experienced team of Street Child’s UK and local staff will be organising the event along with other volunteers from UK and Sierra Leone.
Q: I’m not a cyclist but still want to go, can I volunteer?
Q: What facilities will be available en route?
- Regular water and snack stations
- Mobile medical support
- Mobile mechanical support
Q: How should I prepare for the race?
A: Our new training page will be available shortly!
Q: How much do I need to raise to be eligible to take part?
A: Other than covering your costs to take part, we ask that you raise as much as you can! Every participant is required to set a minimum target of £1500 per person. Street Child's experienced fundraising team and mentors will work with each participant to ensure they reach and even go beyond this target! Part of a participant's experience will be seeing where their money goes and meeting some of the children we have already helped.
Q: How much of my package goes towards the charity?
A: The cost of your package covers the cost of your accommodation, transport, food and challenge costs. The charity does not make a profit on your package.
Q: Where does my fundraising go?
£10 can provide a school uniform
£20 can send a child to primary school for a year.
£100 can provide textbooks for a whole classroom of children in a rural school.
£250 can provide a mother with a business grant and training so they can afford to send their children to school
£500 can fund training for 10 teachers and raise teaching standards
£1000 can provide all the necessary classroom furniture and resources for a village school
£2000+ Funds the construction of a first-ever temporary class-room or mini-’school’ in a rural village. It also gives us time to start work on a permanent structure which can take up to 3 years to build.
£5000+ Funds the construction of a village school with 2 classrooms for 100+ children: the first proper school that village has ever had.
Q: Should I be worried about Ebola if I want to attend the West Africa Cycle Challenge?
A: The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared Sierra Leone free of Ebola on 7th November 2015 and Liberia in January 2016. Street Child's focus is now helping to supported the Ebola-affected children. The West Africa Cycle Challenge is confident that the challenge poses no risk to cyclists in the areas we will be travelling to.
Q: Will you cancel if Ebola returns to Sierra Leone or Liberia?
A: We will take advice - and we certainly won’t ask anyone to take unnecessary risks.
Q: Are there currently flights available?
A: Yes: Air Maroc, Air France and Air Brussels are all running a service at the moment. We also hope a direct UK route may open up soon. Please contact email@example.com or the Street Child team for advice before booking your flights. We recommend Air France and Air Brussels if you want to bring your own bike.
Q: I'd love to come but I'm worried that I can't afford it?
A: This event is first and foremost about raising money for our critical work with vulnerable children. If you think you could raise a great amount of money we really want you there, no matter what!
Be in touch to discuss this option further.
Q: How will I get around the country?
A: All in-country transport is provided. This includes transport from the airport. Part of the challenge experience will be visiting projects and villages where Street Child works BY BIKE!!
Q: What will the climate be like in May and January?
A: Sierra Leone and Liberia have a tropical climate, warm temperatures and high humidity. The rainy season is about to begin at the end of May, whilst January will be typically warm and dry. The trip will be hot - but with a dawn start to avoid the worst of the heat and regular water and rehydration stops, hopefully not too hot!
Q: Do I need a visa for Sierra Leone or Liberia?
A: You will need a visa, unless you are from West Africa. Street Child can help organise this and once you are registered we will issue a letter of invitation to accompany a visa application form. A single entry visa for Sierra Leone costs £109 and can be obtained in person or by post from the Sierra Leone High Commission in London. A single entry visa for Liberia costs £75 and can be obtained from the Liberian embassy in London.
Q: Other than being cycle fit, what are the travel requirements?
A: See a travel nurse and doctor at least 6-8 weeks before travel. You should visit your local GP for advice if necessary. Unless you travelled recently to a similar destination it is almost certain you will need vaccinations. Two absolute must-haves are a vaccination certificate for yellow fever which is required for entry into Sierra Leone and Liberia and anti-malarial drugs.
Q: What about travel and health insurance?
A: This is the responsibility of every individual participant. Make sure you are covered for sporting events of this nature and that it covers Sierra Leone and Liberia. We ask that you make sure you are personally covered for your trip.
Q: What money should I bring?
A: Bring cash. Stirling notes are easily exchanged, as are dollars. Credit card use in Sierra Leone and Liberia is very limited - worth bringing the card strictly as a back-up only (the banks in Freetown have chip and pin machines for emergency withdrawals). Big denominations of cash get better rates - but avoid pre-2006 series Dollars as they are rejected by many businesses and some banks.
Q: Where will I stay?
A: Throughout the challenge you will stay in a range of accommodation from guest houses to school buildings!
Q: What should I pack (apart from cycle kit)?
- Torch and batteries.
- Rain coat.
- Mosquito repellent with 50% DEET.
- Favourite food and snacks/energy snacks
- Anti bacteria hand gel - dramatically reduces your chances of travellers tummy
- Mosquito net (a double one is recommended as there are few single beds) and a sleeping bag liner.
- Swimming costume/ shorts
- Travel towel
- loose fitting clothing/mosquito clothing for evenings
- An old unlocked mobile phone - so you can buy a Sierra Leone sim and use the top up cards out here (massively cheaper than using your UK phone).
- Dioralite / Senacot / Imodium - Your digestive system is likely to be a bit unsettled, prepare in advance!
- Insect bite cream.
- Antiseptic cream and plasters, any chamois cream or equivalents you like!
- Cards, games, activities for the evenings (electricity is not guaranteed/very sparse in rural areas)
- Money belt (not essential but a good idea).
Note: although this is a supported ride there is not masses of space in the support vehicles, it is essential you pack light. There will be opportunities to rinse or wash some kit on the way.
Q: Do I need lycra and what cycle kit should I pack/can you recommend?
A: Not really, cycle in clothing that is comfortable for you, being aware that you will be in the saddle for 4-6 hours a day.
- Your own pedals and cleat shoes (if you would like)
- Your own saddle (if you would like)
- Cycling with cycle gloves can ease any hand pain/shock.
- sun protecting clothing – t-shirts to cycle in etc. that protect your shoulders and arms
- sun glasses (good for bugs and dust!)
- baseball cap/sweat band for under your helmet! (top tip!)
- Women should be especially aware that a bare chest and shoulders or really short shorts are frowned upon by the local community. Please pack appropriate supportive sportswear!
- cycling clip shoes/cleats if you have them but we find cycling in walking shoes is the best option on these roads and in this environment.
- sports water bottle
- YOUR OWN CYCLE HELMET
Q: Do I need loads of bike paraphernalia or bike stuff?
A:. Expensive cycling tools and gear are not needed and might not return in the condition they arrived in. There will be a mechanic travelling with the group.