British Pair Ride to Kenya on a Tandem For Charity
9,200km journey from Woking to Nairobi completed in 73
days by amateur duo
SURREY, 26 AUGUST 2011 - Mat Smith (28) and Tim Simpson (26), two amateur British cyclists from Woking, Surrey have this week completed an incredible journey of over 9,200km (5716 miles) to Nairobi, Kenya for the Turning Point Trust – on a fifteen year-old tandem bicycle. The epic trip saw the pair go through seventeen countries, encountering local bandits and horrendous weather on the way to their intended destination.
Beginning in the town square of the pair’s home-town of Woking, Surrey, Smith and Simpson set off on the 3rd June, heading through Europe with the end goal of reaching the Kibera slum in Nairobi Kenya, where the Turning Point Trust, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) are based.
Turning Point Trust aim to improve the lives of children and single mothers from the slum by giving them opportunities to help themselves and ultimately change their lives for the better.
“Having heard about the trust and following a previous visit to the slum to see my sister, I knew this was the challenge we were looking for,” said Smith. “The adventure wasn’t just about raising money, it was about raising awareness of the Trust’s work too. Having been to Kenya and seen the great work the Trust do, we were keen to help make a difference.”
Smith’s sister, Emily Smith works for the Trust in Nairobi and highlighted the cause to the duo, who were in search of a charitable adventure to undertake, having been inspired by the activities of adventurers, James Cracknell and Ben Fogle.
“I was looking to do something memroable before starting university in September,” said Simpson. “However, once we’d decided on what to do, the main aim became securing funds to assist in the purchase of farmland outside of Kibera,” added Simpson.
“The land is used to practically teach some of the local mothers the skills they need to run a farm and provide themselves with a sustainable source of food and income. Turning Point also help put the children of Kibera through schooling, assisting parents in the community with a micro-finance scheme. The scheme provides families with small loans that can be used to start their own businesses; something we thought was incredible and really wanted to support.”
With little experience under their belt, the pair encountered every kind of culture and landscape, not to mention weather; from torrential rain in the mountains of Ethiopia, to the flat, dry, sandstorm-whipped roads of Sudan, this was the biggest and toughest challenge both Mat and Tim had ever undertaken.
“We didn’t get an opportunity to do too much preparation, bar two trips to the New Forest in Dorset, so we were really quite nervous about what we’d encounter,” recalled a proud Smith. “We’re thrilled to have made it back, but our work doesn’t end here. We’re keen to achieve our target of £11,000 and we’ve still got just over £3,000 to raise.”
Now back in the UK, the pair are keen to speak with media about the trip, and discuss the work of the Turning Point Trust, there is also talk of further adventures.
If you’d like to speak with Smith and Simpson, they are available for any media opportunities that will allow them to talk about their adventure and are available at relatively short notice.