Beyond the Bike

Stories from Stuart and Claire's original & recent journeys….

“Mzungu – Give me Money…” ($138bn please)

With Laure

Should the UK (& other nations) be spending 0.7% of GNI on AID?

As I highlighted in my last blog, the aid debate is probably the most contentious issue surrounding Africa development, highlighted by the recent spat between Bill Gates and Dambisya Moyo. Since then, we’ve travelled through Rwanda into the DRC and are now in Tanzania. All three countries have been recipients of vast sums of overseas aid and I’ve met and spoken with many stakeholders, including several people asking me for money - “Mzungu - give me muni’ is the usual catchphrase that I’ve been  trying to ignore. On a macro level, meanwhile, the UK has been leading the way in meeting the UN commitment for countries to spend 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA). In the UK, the majority of this money is spent by DfID, the Department for International Development and we were lucky to be hosted by its Rwanda chief, the impressive Laure Beaufils and her lovely family in Kigali…..

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Beyond the Bike II, Zambia 2013

Lusaka to Livingstone, 487km July 16th - 19th 

At the start of August 2011, I was cruising into Livingstone from the South on Thandie, stoked by a powerful Irishman; my original African adventure just beginning. Two years on, I found myself once again rolling into Livingstone on a somewhat more slender tandem bike, this time from the North & stoked by a commensurately slender, but equally determined stoker…


2011                                                     2013

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A BIG thank you!

Nearly two months after arriving back permanently in England’s Green and Pleasant (& wet) lands, I’m delighted to note that we have now met or should I say SMASHED our fundraising target. Including gift aid, Beyond the Bike has raised more £115,000 for its partner charities, thanks to YOU!! So where has that money gone, you might ask…

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Stage 16: A tour of France & Home...

Burgundy to Blighty. June 25th – July 14th, 975 km.

Coincidentally, I’ve started writing this blog whilst watching the Tour de France’s 16th stage: a ball busting 197km in the Pyrenees with a couple of hors-categorie (beyond categorization) climbs. Whilst my final week in France included a 221km day & involved a British team showing the locals a thing or two about cycling, the similarities end there…

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Stage 15: From Tuscany to a Car Park in East London...

Siena to Stratford, May 5th – 18th, 1250km
People talk of false starts. I’ve never heard of a ‘false-finish’ but I was searching for the equivalent word on May 18th. On that grey spring day, I found myself unexpectedly cycling an African made bamboo bike with 150 other cyclists within a couple of miles of my old workplace in Canary Wharf, the first time on English soil for exactly 10 months...

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Stage 14: The beginning of the end - Cycling the Slam on a bamboo bike...

Olympia, Greece to Siena, Italy. 1350km April 23rd - May 4th

My beloved Thandie has done herself proud over the last 9 months, managing to carry me & some 150 stokers 11,000 kilometres through Africa & the Middle East. But the prospect of doing more than 1300km, with over 10,000m of climbing in 10 days on a 30kg steel bike didn’t appeal. This made the decision to dump her for a lighter, younger & better looking model all the easier…

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