Many of us dream of packing up and heading out onto the open road with nothing more than our bicycle and our passports, but few of us have the time, the budget, or the nerves to head off on a ride of a lifetime across an entire continent… or two!
However, Ron Rutland from South Africa, otherwise known as #FatkidonaBike, decided to do just that in 2013, and after 27 months on the road, he finally finished his 43,000km bike ride through almost every country on mainland Africa, and much of Northern Europe, in support of his favourite rugby team, the Springboks, and to celebrate “health, vitality, mobility and adventure”.
An amazing achievement that saw Ron lose over 23kg in body weight, it involved too many punctures to count, a cracked bicycle frame, an unidentified virus, five bribes, endless wildlife encounters (we’re talking snakes and lions!), and miles upon miles of un-tarmacked roads, and yet he continued to cross some of the most remote, inhospitable, and dangerous countries in Africa, with nothing more than his trusty bike and a meagre budget.
In a recent report in the Cape Town Cycle Tour Official Magazine, #FatkidonaBike spoke about the many highlights and lowlights of his trip, and it’s only after reading his story that you begin to understand just how challenging his journey must have been.
Despite having obtained visas for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Ron was not allowed to enter these countries due to the fact that all land borders were closed to prevent the spread of Ebola, and due to political unrest and no functioning government, he was unable to get an entry visa for Libya, but he did manage to cycle through every other country in Africa, and that in itself is simply incredible!
When asked why he wanted to take this challenge, Ron said, “The decision to undertake this journey is an accumulation of years of reading stories of great modern and past adventurers, of ordinary people doing seemingly extraordinary things, and of imagining great adventures of my own. Having travelled and experienced the world considerably, I’ve grown to realise life isn’t about what you own, but what you experience and create, and this all has led me to taking the ‘now or never’ decision to have the courage to live a life true to myself and undertake my own great adventure.”
A great adventure indeed! You can read more about Ron’s story and donate to his preferred charity Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, over on the official website: fatkidonabike.com