testimonials

Get inspired by some of our pioneering cyclists who took on the first ever West Africa Cycle Challenge: 

Meet Emily: 

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What was your favourite part of the West Africa Cycle Challenge?

My favourite part of the challenge was the whole experience of seeing new countries from the point of view of a bicycle. It really made me appreciate and feel part of the beautiful countryside, but also made me feel closer to local people. People laughed at us, stared, and waved, and we exchanged so many smiles and greetings with people - it brought a smile to my face every time. Many people had heard of Street Child and greeted the group with such a warm welcome - I was really happy to be contributing to the work they do in a small way. 

Do you have a favourite memory of the challenge?

A couple of my favourite memories are firstly, how good a coconut tasted in the middle of a long, hot day of cycling, and sipping this whilst being towed across a river on a local ferry; and secondly, the overwhelming and sensory experience of being welcomed to Potaru at the end of day one by a huge group of children dancing and clapping. I was proud to have completed the first day of the challenge, and the loud, excitable dancing embodied that feeling for me!

What did you find tough/difficult about the challenge?

The HEAT! When the sun comes out, it means business.  

Which project visit did you enjoy the most? / Which project did you find the most interesting?

I couldn't choose one, but Street Child taking the time to show us many of their projects, in different settings, really meant a lot to me. We were encouraged to ask lots of questions to the beneficiaries of Street Child's work, and it was really valuable to see where the money goes and understand Street Child's aims and challenges in more detail, as well as the daily challenges faced by many Sierra Leoneans and Liberians.

What advice would you give someone taking part in the challenge next year?

Wear a sweat-wicking base-layer under your cycling jersey - counter-intuitively that extra layer keeps you cooler!

MEET ADAM: 

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What was your favourite part of the West Africa Cycle Challenge?

My favourite part was meeting a great group of like minded people and going on the adventure together. I found that there's something so great about getting to know people as you experience a new culture and different challenges together.

Do you have a favourite memory of the challenge?

There's definitely a few I could name. A real highlight was entering the village to an unbelievable reception at the end of the first day of cycling. The locals made us feel so welcome and were incredibly hospitable, particularly considering how little they have. Another great memory was cycling in the torrential rain, so heavy that we could barely see but it was refreshing because of the heat. I remember at the end of that day everyone was really tired because it had been quite a long stretch, but no one complained or moaned about anything, we just sat down and enjoyed a well earned beer together in the evening.

What did you find tough/difficult about the West Africa Cycle Challenge?

The most difficult part was visiting the slum in Monrovia. I've never experienced such filth, where sickness is absolutely rife. For me that was real poverty- we'd been to other places that were extremely poor, but the people had an inner joy. Here, in the slum in Monrovia, that didn't exist. There was a hopelessness associated with this kind of poverty and it was heartbreaking.

Which project did you find the most interesting?

I found the project in Bo really interesting because right next to a relatively built up town there are really rural feeling villages and it was just really interesting to see how these two almost different sort of cultures interact and the unique challenges it presents to Street Child in that area.

What advice would you give someone taking part in the challenge next year?

It's probably a cliche, but it's absolutely the truth that you have to embrace it. All the challenges and quirks, all the thrills and spills. It's an adventure you may never get to experience again so enjoy the ride, the culture and a few days without 1st world technology.