Big-hearted bosses get on their bikes for lifetime challenge in Africa to aid charity

Three directors of an Ilkeston firm are gearing up to take on a gruelling long distance bike ride in Africa, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Stuart Pinson, Tony Seabridge and Peter Ward, of roofing and cladding specialists Cladceil, will be pounding the pedals for about 250 miles across Tanzania from June 19-23.

Their trip of a lifetime will start in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest in Africa, and finish at the breathtaking wonder of the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest inactive volcanic depression in the world.

It is in a conservation area that is part of a UNESCO world heritage site which is home to big game, including lions, and through which millions of beast migrate spectacularly.

They will be part of a 30-strong group on The Big Heart Bike Ride which will involve cycling past three national parks and seeing the life and culture of the Maasai tribe in their natural environment.

The directors, 43-year-old Stuart, 47-year-old Tony, both from Ilkeston, and 45-year-old Peter from Bramcote, have so far raised £11,120 for the British Heart Foundation, with the Manners Industrial Estate company itself giving £5,000.

Tony said: “As friends we have thought about doing something for charity for a couple of years.” They considered options and chose this when contacted by Action for Charity. “We thought it would be something different,” he said.

So different that they have each been training for the past five months by cycling, even in the rain, for up to 150 miles a week in the Ilkeston area, Shipley Park, Attenborough Nature Reserve and Trent Lock, Sawley.

Stuart said he never realised there was so much countryside for cycling in. “You can ride almost 30-miles on tracks without touching a road.”

But in Tanzania the group will be pedalling for up to eight hours a day on dusty roads in temperatures of up to 30 degrees. They are likely to start early morning to avoid the worst heat, and all three have bought special equipment and clothing to enable them to deal with conditions and complete the challenge.

Bikes are supplied over there, though riders can take their own saddles for comfort! Each of the men has bought training bikes and spent more than £1,000 on flights and travel for the trip which will involve staying in lodges and camping out.

“It’s not just a ride, it’s an experience,” said Stuart who with colleagues will be guests of honour at a Maasai village.

They will be taking stationery, pens, pencils, rubbers and sharpeners, bought by Cladceil, to give to local schools.

Peter said: “Although none of us have been affected by heart disease we realise it’s an important issue and worthwhile charity.”

Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer, claiming around 73,000 lives a year – an average of 200 a day.

Nancy Smyth, head of events at BHF, said; “Thanks to Stuart, Tony, and Peter for taking on this challenge and supporting the charity.”

Peter added that this event may be the first in a corporate social responsibility project. “If all goes well we will look at other possibilities,” he said. “It may become an annual thing.”

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PICTURE CAPTION: (left to right) Stuart, Tony, and Peter facing a challenging bike ride in Tanzania

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