Road.cc wrote an article about my trip from Cornwall to Cape Town last month and I thought it was about time for an update from the horse’s mouth.
My journey will hopefully start at the beginning of November and I will be travelling through France and Spain before hitting Africa. From there I will pass through Morocco, Senegal, Ghana and Namibia to name just a few of the countries on my route.
The reasons for the trip are simple. I could not find a graduate job despite having tried to do as many extracurricular activities as possible at university. Maybe a basic British sign language certificate isn’t as important to employers as I first thought! I am not the only one affected by the recession though. Research by the National Union of Students in April this year found that 80% of undergraduates were either concerned or very concerned by their employment prospects. The number of graduate vacancies has declined by 75% and it is estimated that around 40,000 graduates will be left jobless this year. Not good if you consider the average student debt is over £15,000.
Despite this I fancied making the most of the situation. Instead of moping around at home for a year I decided to cycle from the poorest area of the UK to the richest area of the world’s poorest continent. I want to put into context the recession and the so called credit crunch and prove how fortunate we all are. In the article about me on this website last month I said “Hopefully when I get back I appreciate that even in the credit crunch we are more fortunate than many.” I realise now this was naive. I already know this. I’m not going to Africa to find a sob story. The people of Africa are proud of their countries and are hardworking, positive people. Laughter and smiles are not far away.
Planning the trip has been good fun. I have learnt a lot about bikes, the history of Africa and about different camping equipment. I have also learnt how to deal with marketing departments of various companies and although I had to get used to rejection I have also been sponsored by a lot of very generous companies. I am still looking to sell advertising space on my jersey but I want to pay for the trip myself and give as much as possible to the charities I am supporting. I have raised most of my funds through manual labouring and I think I am starting work in the next fortnight assembling strip lights in a factory. It’s not glamorous but I can’t afford to be fussy and knowing what it’s paying for will spur me on.
Sticking with the theme of the recession even my training has been Credit Crunch busting. I have been training on an old unmarked mountain bike, an ex-hire bike bought locally for £90 and turbo training on an old tourer with pipe insulation for bar grips which I bought for £20 in the local paper. I’m still looking for a new bike though so hopefully one will come along and find me.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing Africa and I’m looking forward to posting regular updates on road.cc. Stay tuned and check out my website www.ridingouttherecession.co.uk