What’s it all about?
On 26th February 2011 I will be getting a ferry from Portsmouth, England to Santander, Spain. There, I’ll be collecting my little Honda C90 “Gapper” motorcycle, meeting up with the eight other riders (plus one support vehicle) and riding the length of Spain to Algeciras. On C90’s!
From Algeciras, we get a ferry to Morocco. This is where the journey gets interesting. We go south west across the Atlas mountains towards the west coast of Africa. Then it’s basically head South. As long as the sea is on the right hand side – we’re going the right way.
We’ll make our way down through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal and into The Gambia. Then we turn left & keep on going until we reach Bansang Hospital at the Eastern end of Gambia.
Once we get there, we donate the bikes, plus all our gear, and a large number of spare parts to the hospital. Then we set about servicing the bikes, and generally helping out around the hospital for a few days. When serviced, the rugged little Honda “Gappers” will enable the local health care workers to cover a vary large area much of which has little or no infrastructure.
To demonstrate in the most vivid way that you can do a lot with very little. In the life of a Honda C90 this mileage is actually very little – the mileage between two services if you like. When the ‘Bike gets to its destination it will lead a very full life, fulfilling literally a life saving role for the community its serves. A community of over 600,000 of the poorest people in the world. Doctors, district nurses and others covering a vast area with poor infrastructure that would destroy most conventional vehicles in rapid time.
The ‘Gapper’ ( a pet name in Ireland for these ‘Bikes as, where the fuel tank would be on most ‘Bikes – there’s a gap) is the most widely sold ‘Bike in the world. It has been in production longer than most if not all other motorcycles – ever! It is simple to work on, has a solid reputation for reliability and is one of the easiest ‘bikes to get parts for, anywhere in the world.
The seemingly mad idea of riding one thousands of miles and then give it to a hospital proves two things;
The riders doing this have, after seeing the ‘Ride Reports’ and read the book about previous trips to the hospital see a very clear, immediate and most of all direct form of action to help those that live in a place so foreign to our comfortable Western World that it seems more like a different planet than a different country, that’s not so far away after all.
So much so that they are prepared to self fund raise, provide a ‘Bike and, then ride it there – taking a month to do it and go from our cosy Western Civilisation across Europe to a continent and conditions far from home in every way.
Secondly, it highlights the blunt fact that this works. As I said at the start;
… in the most vivid way that you can do a lot with very little.
This is where you come in. Of course I’m looking for money! As stated – this is self fund raising. I am not a registered charity. I am asking for your faith in me as an individual with good intent.
One of the reasons these trips are organised this way is that it is simple, direct action.
- Nil administration cost.
- No intermediaries.
Bear in mind that the obvious alternative would be to ship the ‘Bikes in a container. Import to The Gambia and oversee their journey and use. However, much of the journey that way would be in a climate of bureaucracy that is to put it mildly not straightforward and also not always as legally minded as ours – thus much is lost, stolen or diluted by having to grease palms to achieve objectives.
And then some!
Enroute I will, as time and resources allow, be writing on this web site, and taking photos of the journey. I’ve thought a lot about this and reckon in my simple minded way that a good approach to this would be to talk to the local people as i travel and ask them some basic questions – get an idea of what their life is like compared to this fair skinned soft and comparatively well off European.
- How much an unskilled person earns as a petrol pump attendant?
- How much is a family home, rented or bought – a house / flat /shack / tent?!
- How much is (where appropriate) a pint of beer, a packet of fags, a litre of fuel, a years education, a trip to the Doctor, a prescription?
- Have they got electricity, running water, a tarmac road?
Basic stuff – but an eye opener into the bargain.
A window into a world so far away from ours that the number of miles just dont show that clearly.
firstly, thank you for reading this far.
Now please – Will you help by giving a little or a lot to get me and the ‘Bike there?
Thanks for making a difference.