Peter Gostelow: Bicycle Travel for the Betterment of the World

Peter Gostelow's bicycle travel itinerary covers 25 countries in Africa and over 25,000km. He's on The Big Africa Cycle, raising funds for to fight against Malaria.

Malaria still kills an estimated 1 - 3 million each year.  90% of deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers have shown that malaria can actually cause poverty in a country, due to the way the disease impacts economic growth (costs include lives lost, medical care, government expenditures, labor patterns, and so forth).  As Gostelow points out: Malaria can be (almost completely) prevented by mosquito nets which cost less than $5 each. His bicycle travel supports The Against Malaria Foundation, an organization that uses 100% of their funds to purchase nets.

Peter Gostelow has raised over £8,450 / $13,031 on The Big Africa Cycle, which equals more than 2,600 mosquito nets. His goal is one bed net per kilometer,  and he's cycled 12,033 kilometers thus far. He's a little behind as far as funds go (he generally spends his time bicycling, not marketing), and he's not as far through Africa as he'd hoped he would be. In March, he encountered a hold-up. More specifically, he was attacked by a machete in Dakar, which severed four of the tendons in his left wrist and wounded his ankle. Five men approached him in the evening, two of whom had machetes, and he resisted giving up his camera until he felt the blade on his skin. Gostelow tells the story on his blog as though the event were rather surreal, and reflects afterwards that his attackers were "possibly as scared" as him. He notes that "it could have been much worse," and vows to continue his journey.

After a few months of rest, Gostelow was on his bike again, continuing to travel south. Gostelow loves to bike and he has a serious case of wanderlust. The Big Africa is Gostelow's second major tour. His first occurred between 2005-2008, when he bicycled from Japan to England. He taught English in Japan for two years, and then began "The Long Ride Home," a 50,000km bike ride back to his home in England. On that trip, he experienced food poisoning and tire trouble, but he managed to bike safely through Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Gostelow documented his travel with artistic pictures (he's a talented photographer), and he has presented his work and story to a number of schools and colleges.

Gostelow left England in August 2009. He's on his way to Cape Town. On August 17th, he celebrated one year of on-the-road travel, with sushi and squash in Monrovia, Liberia.  Gostelow has the support of a number of sponsors, including Bolle, Buff and Trailblazer. He could use your support, too, via comments, donations, or tweets. He's almost halfway.

Photo Credit: thebigafricacycle