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Helen Lloyd to 'Take On Africa' - A 20,000km journey by bike from the UK to Cape Town
Helen Lloyd's adventurous, independent 20,000km cycle ride from the UK to Cape Town in South Africa, to raise money for charity and document through photography the lives of the people she meets along the way.
By: Helen Lloyd
Helen's adventure will take her through at least 25 countries, traversing two continents. Taking a ferry from Poole in Dorset, her first port-of-call will be St.Malo in France, from where she will cycle south into Spain.
However, crossing into Morocco is where the adventure really begins: Not wanting to make life too easy, she will cycle through the Atlas mountains before heading through the Sahara along the Atlantic coast and on towards the West Africa region. Her route will then take her through East and Southern Africa, before eventually arriving at her destination, Cape Town.
Helen graduated from Cambridge University in 2004 and since then has worked as an engineer but always spent her holidays exploring far-flung destinations. Her first major trip abroad to India when she was 16 ignited the travel-bug and since then she has, among other places, trekked in Patagonia, hitch-hiked the Karakorum Highway in Pakistan, travelled the silk road in China and back-packed through South America. Her favorite 'holidays' however, were when she cycled round Ireland and Cuba.
Helen says that, 'Travelling by bike provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore and see the African continent, in a unique way that cannot be experienced from the window of a bus or 4x4. It's the best way to appreciate the enormous cultural and geophysical diversity'.
It is this close contact, by cycling, that Helen hopes will enable her to undertake a series of photographic projects to document the lives of the African people she meets along the way, which will be exhibited on Helen's 'Take On Africa' website.
'I hope to, through photography, go beyond the stereotypes so often portrayed by western literature and the media - To discover the truth about the continent and show you the people, places and events which don’t make the headlines, travel brochures or charity appeals.'
Helen is also using the bike expedition to help raise money for the Welbodi Partnership, a UK charity supporting the provision of paediatric care in Sierra Leone, where child health statistics are among the worst in the world.
The Welbodi Partnership was set-up by Tom Cairnes and Matthew Clarke. Matthew is an enthusiastic and dedicated friend of Helen's, who spent time in Freetown, the capital, during his medical elective. Unusually for a charitable organisation, the Partnership is working directly with the government; the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
The Partnership is currently focused on providing care and training at the Ola During Children's Hospital in Freetown, which is a model to be expanded nationwide to meet the long term objectives of providing locally run, accessible healthcare to children nationwide.
Helen expects the whole journey to take two years, 'The trip isn't just about cycling – I want to see and do other things along the way. It will also allow time for set-backs such as getting ill, bad weather and diversions to avoid politically unstable regions and other potentially risky situations.'
To help cope with the extremes of the journey, Helen has had outdoor equipment and clothing provided by her sponsor Webtogs.
Helen will be providing regular updates, photos and videos on her website: http://www.takeonafrica.com. Please visit this website for further information on the expedition, to sign-up for email updates and to view the documentary photographic projects. Related websites – To sponsor Helen: http://www.justgiving.com/
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An independent 20,000km charity bike ride from the UK to Cape Town, documenting through photography the places, events and people met during the two year journey through Africa.