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Archive for Monday, June 14, 2010

Cyclist logs 7,500 miles on single trip — across Africa

Jason Becker recently finished a four-month bike ride across Africa from Cairo to Capetown, South Africa. He was riding his bike Tuesday afternoon near Lakeview Road.

Jason Becker recently finished a four-month bike ride across Africa from Cairo to Capetown, South Africa. He was riding his bike Tuesday afternoon near Lakeview Road.

June 14, 2010

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Lawrence local bikes across Africa

Jason Becker, a former Lawrence school teacher, packed up his things and spent months biking across the continent of Africa. Becker said he wanted to do the trip to be adventurous. He is also for a Rwandan charity. Enlarge video

Becker poses in the sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert.

Becker poses in the sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert.

Lawrence resident Jason Becker best describes himself as “adventurous.” The former Wichita high school art teacher has worked his entire life to help others and to venture outside his comfort zone. That effort would never be more evident than during his latest excursion.

“For a couple of years I had just been wanting a change and I wanted something new,” said Becker, who is a lifelong cyclist.

The change he sought took Becker to the Internet, where he searched for the longest and most intense bike trip in the world. He’d had experience riding long distances but never anything like this latest journey.

“We did a mountain bike trip up to Mount Everest base camp four years ago and saw Tibet and Nepal in the process,” said Becker. “That was the thing that I had done to date.”

Participants in the Tour d’Afrique ride near the pyramids in Egypt.

Participants in the Tour d’Afrique ride near the pyramids in Egypt.

That changed when Becker stumbled upon the Tour D’Afrique.

Becker quit his teaching job, sold his house to pay for the $10,000 trip, moved to Lawrence and spent three months preparing for a ride that’s about 7,500 miles — from Cairo, Egypt, to Cape Town, South Africa.

“I didn’t think it was crazy, I just thought it was adventurous and that’s something that I’ve always considered myself,” Becker said. “This seemed like the perfect fit for me.”

Becker couldn’t make the expedition on two wheels without helping others, too. He picked up Project Rwanda as a charity and has contributed more than $1,500 since he first pushed off in Egypt earlier this year. Becker’s goal is $3,000.

The trip was four months long, through rugged terrain and villages with little to no infrastructure. About 60 cyclists participated. Becker has a hard time picking out just a couple of memorable moments, but says his eyes were opened by the scenery and the kindness of the people.

“Namibia by far was I think the most stunningly beautiful place and I think it had to do with just the vastness of it,” said Becker. “You can just see this genuine kindness and willingness to give and beautiful smiles. I guess I’m trying to make them sound like they’re different than we are and they’re not.”

Becker was one of only 12 riders who didn’t use any transportation or help along the way. That feat earned him the designation E.F.I., which stands for Every Fabulous Inch.

Four months into the trip, his mountain bike carried Becker into Cape Town, South Africa, completing a trip he still thinks about almost daily.

“I talk with other people who were on the trip and we miss it,” said Becker. “I miss the people.”

Becker will now use his art skills to re-create the trip in paintings, jewelry and sketches. He plans to hold an art show and pass part of the profits along to Project Rwanda.

For more information about Becker’s charity, log onto projectrwanda.org.

Comments

1southernjayhawk 3 years, 10 months ago

Congratulations on a heck of a personal accomplishment, Jason. I have a friend who did the ride a couple of years ago and from the stories he told me about rock-throwing kids, lack of clean water and good food, military presence, etc you have done and seen a lot.

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ontheroadfitness 3 years, 10 months ago

How awesome is that! I have a hard enough time doing 30 miles! LOL Great job. :)

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curiosityandthecat 3 years, 10 months ago

Congratulations, Jason! Glad you made it back safely.

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lwhite 3 years, 10 months ago

Unbelievable! This makes me even more proud of Lawrence and the incredible people that help make it an interesting and inspiring place!

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yankeevet 3 years, 10 months ago

This is kool; too break away from a job and just go enjoy yourself.....he is not tied too anything except his bike...........

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