Beyond the BikeOver the summer Cranleigh master Richard Humes joined Head of Economics Stuart Block as he began his year long fund-raising trip from South Africa to London on a tandem bike. Together they cycled 2,200km from Polokwane to Kitwe in just under four weeks, travelling through three countries. As Stuart continues his cycle, you can follow him on twitter @beyondthebike or at www.beyondthebike.org. Having cycled together 2,200km from Polokwane to Kitwe in just under four weeks, travelling through three countries, Richard offers his thoughts on the first stages of the trip.

Key statistics:
160km: first day (thanks Blocky, nice way to ease into it).
186km: longest day.
155km: hardest day (poor road, very hot, ran out of water towards the end with no settlements to get resupplied at).
35km/h: tandem’s cruising speed when things were going fairly well.
20km/h: ‘cruising’ speed on the local Zambikes we used in Zambia when the group got larger, though cruising is not the correct word at all.
Guinness: what I named my Zambike, as Guinness doesn’t travel well.
4: complete sense of humour failures that thankfully I managed to not express outwardly.

Highlight: phenomenal hospitality and welcome wherever we went.
Low point: 60km cycling entirely focusing on not redecorating the saddle, the beginning of two days of Delhi Belly.

270: number of degrees the support vehicle flipped through having been hit at speed by a combi taxi, finishing on its side.
18: number of people in the two vehicles that were written off in the crash.
0: number of people who sustained significant injuries.
5: number of other support vehicles we had to beg, borrow or hire at various points to replace the loss of the original on day 3.

37: life expectancy of someone born in England in the 16th-18th centuries.
37: life expectancy of a Zambian born today.

5,500: number of peanuts and raisins eaten on the roadside.
5,500 days: time until I expect to feel like eating peanuts or raisins again.

Most depressing sign: ‘Roadworks next 135km’.
Sod’s Law of Asymmetry: every downhill will be followed by an uphill, not every uphill will be followed by a downhill.

£25,000: Cost of one year’s education for one student at many English Public Schools.
£25,000: Cost to build an entire school in Kawama, Kitwe.
£12.60: Cost of three pints of Peroni in my London local.
£12.50: Cost per month to sponsor one of the students at Kawama, providing them with nutritious meals, books, uniform, medical provision and also going towards providing a salary for the teachers and kitchen staff (please email me if you’d like to sponsor one of the students).

Highlight: visiting Janna School, Ndola, the first school build by Beyond Ourselves three years ago and seeing what was possible. This included meeting Anita (6 years old), a ‘double orphan’ living with her grandmother (loss of parents is so common in Zambia that to differentiate family circumstances a single orphan has lost one parent and a double orphan has lost both) . When I first met her last year she had just joined the school, had been diagnosed with HIV and was not responding well to the drugs. Having had a year on the Janna feeding programme she is doing much better and looked a lot more like a six year old girl should.

What I learned: a proper diet is at least as necessary as the ARVs (anti-HIV drugs), if not more so, for children to have a chance of dealing with HIV.

RACH

To see some of their progress: