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16 October 2012 No comments

Five Bike To Dakar From Paris.

Events Bicycles Travel & Adventure Cycling
By GARETH
Five Bike To Dakar From Paris.
We've heard of stones sufficiently hot to fry eggs on, but brewing coffee is another level. Benedict, Chris, Daniel, Edward, and Shamoon got in touch earlier this year. The five final year students at Imperial College London had in mind one last memorable team road trip before their university days became a distant memory, replaced by the sort of days where you have to get up well before two in the afternoon. Between the finish of their exams and graduation, they decided to ride from Paris to Dakar, a route perhaps more famously and more often covered by motorized wheels. Safely back, they called recently to let us know how their saddles had treated them. Below, Benedict has provided a flavour of some of their experiences, documented in full at paristodakar.org. IC Paris-Dakar Cycling Expedition About 2 months ago, my team and I set off from Paris on our bikes on an epic 5500km journey to Dakar. Inspired in part by the legendary Dakar Rally, we wanted to prove that we weren’t just five crazy university lads (although admittedly there may be a slight element of craziness there) who set out on a voyage way above their heads. Arrival in Dakar Our expedition, IC Paris-Dakar Cycling was first approved by the Imperial College Exploration Board, whom we received a major part of our funding from. After garnering the support of several sponsors we were also able to get a major discount on some Brooks B17 Saddles. Thanks to Action Against Hunger for providing us with cycling jerseys for the trip Over the 5500km we cycled; where we travelled over 6 mountain ranges, across 6 countries and 2 continents, across one FCO red-listed country, across the Sahara desert, through a flood, sun and rain, with 11 punctures, 37 broken spokes, 4 crashes but no major injuries; our Brooks almost always kept our asses rosy (A technical term in the saddle trade - Ed.). Those lovely country roads in Europe… ... to a very sandy and windy desert in the Sahara! The roads were flooded coming into Dakar, so we took the (abandoned) rail tracks. And then we were in Dakar. Quite an epic way to season our saddles but those fine wrinkles in the leather represent the countless miles we pedaled, through hard times and easy, up hills and down again, powering along flats, through winding country lanes, along the bleak sandy plain of the desert. There was very little "down time" for our troops on the road to Dakar. The slightly sweat-rusted rivets represent every ounce of effort put in, pushing to the limit and further, through illness and pain. The gentle curves of the leather represent the time spent in the saddles, moulded perfectly to us, the two and a half months spent with the bikes as our home and means of transport. Each of our experiences is etched permanently into our Brooks saddles. As part of our expedition we have also been raising money for Action Against Hunger to help fight the food crisis in the Sahel region in Africa. Our reason for choosing this charity was that the work it does directly affects some of the regions we travelled through on our voyage. So far we have raised £1500 but further donations are welcome (www.justgiving.com/ICParistoDakar).   We are also planning an exhibition of our photos which we hope to sell for charity, so keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page. So… thanks so much to Bregan at Brooks for helping us out with the saddles, and please do check out our website (paristodakar.org) and Facebook page for more information and updates about our trip. And finally please feel free to donate on our Just Giving page. We are still looking for donations and they would be greatly appreciated. Cheers and happy cycling!   www.justgiving.com/ICParistoDakar