Event Feature: Ghana Cycle Challenge 2011 – Pedal power to change lives in Ghana.

We first came across this particular challenge last year, when Sam met the team behind the event in Ghana including our very own muchbetter member Kofi (Ghana Bike and Hike)who is providing the mountain bikes for the event.

The challenge.

On September 30th, The Go Ghana! Cycle Challenge will see 22 intrepid participants cycle approximately 350km across what the organisers call “West Africa’s friendliest and most peaceful country”.

The challenge takes them from the historic slave castles on the stunning ‘Gold Coast’ to the airy mountain air of the high ridge overlooking the great Volta Lake, ending with a genuinely royal welcome by the Chief and Elders in the town of Kwahu-Tafo.

The route (Elmina – Assin Manso – Agona Swedru – Aburi – Koforidua – Begoro – Asubone – Kwahu Tafo) passes through a host of picturesque villages along the way. It is 5.5 cycling days, doing about 60 km per day in considerable heat and over a variety of tarmac and dirt roads.

Participants can expect a tough ride but fantastic scenery, friendly folks, and a great reception in Kwahu-Tafo over a day and a half to finish with. The participants will also take part in a friendly football game against a local school and boys from the a local voluntary organisationssoccer academy.

It’s important to clarify that this trail-blaze is not aimed at experienced cyclists per se, but rather at people like Neil, who are willing to get fit, take up an epic personal challenge and experience the sights and sounds of rural Ghana first hand.

What’s it all for?

All proceeds raised from the event will go towards providing clean drinking water infrastructure for the Kwahu-Tafo community with the help of Friends of Tafo (FOT).

Founded byHumphrey Barclay, FOT is a UK charity that was created to assist the sustainable development of the small farming town in rural Ghana. The charity have also called on the help of fellow UK charity Greencare H2O, who have just finished drilling three boreholes in the village.

Humphrey states that “the cyclists’ fund will clean up and hygienically cover the hand dug wells, to complete the transformation to provide clean drinking water for the community”.

Organising the event, the first of it’s kind in Ghana, has not been without it’s challenges. “In this first year, the costs of getting it all going were high and the team have had to do two recces, to really crack the best routes and all the logistics, and so we shall not achieve the ambition of 50% of the participants’ money going to the cause. However, if all goes well, we will do it again in 2012 (at the same time of year, because it’s just post-rainy season and therefore green and photogenic!), and then the costs will be considerably lower. At any rate, everything is very transparent, and we are working very closely with Classic Tours, who have a great reputation in this field, to squeeze every penny towards the cause”.

What does it cost and how can you get involved?

The costs includes a registration fee of 299, followed by a minimum of 2,750 which participants usually raise through sponsorship and which has to be all paid ten weeks before the start date.

This money covers all your principal costs (flights, accommodation, food, bicycles, mechanical and medical back up) and the balance goes directly to the charity.

Participants still have to find visa fees, jabs, and other sundries.

Interested applications should be made to Classic Tours’Emma Getliffe. The doors are pretty well closed for 2011, but early applications are advised for 2012!

You can find out more at the Go Ghana! Cycle Challenge official website or download the PDF brochure

Want to know what it takes to do this kind of challenge?We caught up with an eager Go Ghana Cycle Challenge participant to find out how one should prepare for this event.Read Neil’s story here.

Feeling Inspired?If you fancy an adventure of your own in Ghana but think a week long cycle challenge might be a bit much, check out some of our alternative muchbetterholiday choicesin Ghana.

If you’ve got an adventure of your own that you think we should feature,let us know!

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