In Tandem with Africa and Asia
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Stage 3, part II - The Big Push to the Copperbelt
The group saw some cyclists say goodbye but we were joined by fresh blood for the final stage to Ndola. Little did we know that we'd enjoy a police escort out of Zambia's capital city...
by Mark Jenkins (I/C Logistics)
Lusaka to Ndola - Zambia Group Ride, Week II August 15th - 19th
3 punctures, 2 tyre blow out & one crash... (but not on Thandie)
Our accommodation in Lusaka was very comfortable - The Lodge was also playing host to the Zambian Finance Ministry
who were holding a conference at the same time we were staying there. Lusaka is a busy city home to central
government and heavy industry such as Lafarge Cement. It is also the base for Alive & Kicking, the social
enterprise which Beyond The Bike is supporting. Alive & Kicking manufactures footballs for distribution in
surrounding areas and employs local labour. The leather for the footballs is supplied at a favourable rate to the
organisation from Zambeef, one of the largest companies in Zambia, who use the leather by-product from the meat
industry for high quality products such as leather handbags. The lower grade leather is split and passed on for
making footballs, which are hand stitched in premises within the Zambeef complex. The footballs are used as a
medium for important health messages such as HIV and Malaria awareness.
The cycle ride has been supported by Copperbelt Energy Corportation (CEC) who have purchased Zambikes for the
riders to cyle to Ndola, where they will now be donated to Beyond Ourselves schools in the Copperbelt region who
will in turn pass them to those students & teachers in greatest need of transport. The chairman of CEC, Hanson
Sindowe, arranged for a police escort out of Lusaka to help us clear the city traffic, plus the assistance of one
of his secuity officers, Sam. Our police escort was Charlie riding his Honda motorbike, who cleared us a path,
while performing circus acrobatics, towards Ndola.
We arrived at Fringila Lodge that evening but just before the farm Kerry had an unfortunate fall and hurt her ribs.
Fortunately our medics Lydia and Nathalie were on hand to patch her up and there was no lasting damage. The Lodge
is based on a mixed farm where beef, pork, grain and vegetables are produced, sold at their Farm Shop and placed on
the table of those dining in their restaraunt. Andrew Woodley who farms at Fringila rode the tandem for the first
10kms the next morning, and his parents donated boerowors by the kilo to the tour pantry.
Our arrival in Kabwe at the Tuskers Hotel was unremarkable but we were received kindly and then chose to explore
the town. We ventured into the market and braved the fish stalls where all the produce was dried - undoubtedly the
only way of preserving produce that had to travel unrefrigerated from the nearest watersource (probably the Kafue
River that we crossed earlier in the trip).
Our penultimate day of cycling would take us to Nsobe Game Park. 40% employee owned, it is a model of future
development for game reserves that are often owned entirely by Western interests. Staff motivation and training is
of a high standard and this is reflected in the experience provided. Speaking to their chef, I learned that he had
lived in the UK for 15 years having moved to Aberdeen as a child, experiencing the UK education system and learning
his trade in Scotland. I wondered out loud how he must have coped with the Scottish summers (never mind the
winters) as we basked in the fading evening light.
Our final day of cycling was a relatively short distance but the gradients were relentless as we approached the
capital city of the Copperbelt. Ndola is rail hub and we passed the rail yards at the outskirts - fuel tank wagons
were a welcome sight getting some of the relentless freight traffic off Zambia's crowded roads. Ndola's football
stadium, intended to have been completed in time to be used as a training venue for African nations before the 2010
World Cup, was still being finished with labour being undertaken by a Chinese engineering company.
Ndola was where we said goodbye to the Zambikes, washing and oiling them before they are passed on to the
community. Our cyclist go their separate ways; some are moving up to Kitwe to join Cranleigh School for the
project at Kawama School, where students and staff will be building classrooms fit for teaching and running holiday
activities with Grades 1 to 6 in the coming weeks.