Reader Blog: Ditching the 9-5 Job to Cycle 20,000kms from London to Cape Town

TWC reader Emily decides to ditch the nine to five in favour of an epic 20,000km adventure by bike with her partner James

I’m Emily, a 30 something year old who works for a marketing agency in Shoreditch. I love my three bicycles; one old school Tour of Britain roadie, a Giant TCR that I now use to commute around London and my beloved Fondriest that has taken me all over the world competing in triathlons. However, I have just welcomed a fourth member to the clan, a brand spanking new touring bike, who has quite an adventure ahead (and needs a names so ideas are welcome).

On 12 July I set off with my boyfriend James to fulfil a dream to cycle from London to Cape Town. The journey will take us some 20,000kms east across Europe before heading South through Turkey, Cyprus, Jordan and into Egypt where we will wind our way through eastern Africa passing through Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and into South Africa, we’ll be taking 11 months to travel allowing us the time to stop and engage with the people in the countries we plan to pass through. You can see our outlined route here.

We’re supporting a fantastic charity called World Bicycle Relief who really do understand the power that a bicycle can bring someone.  With mobility, people gain a pathway to education, healthcare and economic opportunity and therefore gain the power to have a better life. Here in the UK, we generally use our bikes for enjoyment, fitness or to commute due to a lifestyle choice. It is easy to forget that in much of the world, a bike is central to survival yet still remain unaffordable to most.

World Bicycle Relief have pioneered the Buffalo Bike which they give to people, in particular school kids, as an engine for economic and cultural empowerment. In short, you give a school girl a bicycle, she’ll not only get to school and back – she’ll do so safely and will be more likely to stay to see through her education and stats show it leads to a 60% improvement in performance. Not a bad statistic.

We are both regular cyclists (well actually probably more me than James…!) but we have never ventured into cycle touring before. It is something that has always been of interest but you never really known where to start. It’s a minefield out there with all sorts of kit around, lots of bloggers talking about it but not much information about what you should buy and why. So, we hope to change that by talking through what we are taking with us and why but more importantly whether it does the job.

We hope you enjoy our blog, next up will see us attempt the iconic Coast to Coast cycle path from Whitehaven to Tynemouth to try out all of our gear for the first time…

You can find out more about our adventure on our website.

Emily and James are also inviting you to join them on the first leg of their trip – London to Brighton to raise additional funds for World Bicycle Relief. If you fancy the challenge you can sign up here.


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