Norfolk teenager sets off on cycle trek from Kenya to South Africa

Jack O’Shea Africa the Ride
Jack prepared to set off on is epic cycle with a gentle cycle on Zebra Plain. Photo: Twitter/realafrica

A teenage rowing coach from Norfolk has begun his epic 9,000km solo cycle ride through Africa from Kenya to South Africa and become the youngest person to complete the ride unsupported in the process.

19-year-old Jack O’Shea, from Bradfield, near North Walsham, set off yesterday in his bid to raise £10,000 to be shared between the Kitale School in Uganda and The Real Africa Trust.

His journey will see him pass through eight countries and plans to arrive at South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope in July.

“I have always had a love for adventurous sports and travelling and after reading Mark Beaumont’s books I had a desire to get on my bike and cycle a large distance across a continent,” Jack said.

“I started reading other peoples blogs about long distance cycling and overlanding, I started to research some of the countries I plan on cycling through. I can’t wait to meet new people from a wide variety of cultures and learn about different ways of life,” he added.

Jack O’Shea Africa the Ride
Jack O’Shea meets some of the Ol Pejeta rangers. Photo: Twitter/realafrica

The Norwich School rowing coach will begin his journey at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy where he has stayed for two nights to assemble his bike and equipment.

He has also taken the opportunity to see the anti-poaching dog unit in action and visit some of the northern white rhinos which live there.

Jack O’Shea Africa the Ride
Jack O’Shea visits the last 2 northern white rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Photo: Twitter/realafrica

Explorers against Extinction donated a conservation arms and ammunition Spaniel to Ol Pejeta’s anti-poaching canine unit using funds from its 2017 campaign.

They have also supported Jack through their Young Explorer Programme with a financial bursary as well as advice on logistics, route-planning and security. In addition, they have arranged for local back-up should the need arise and organised for him to start his journey at Ol Pejeta.

Jack O’Shea meets rangers at the K9 unit. Photo: Twitter/realafrica

Explorers against Extinction is a wildlife conservation campaign organised by registered UK charity the Real World Conservation Trust. The primary aims of the campaign are to raise awareness about the threats facing the world’s most iconic species and their habitats while also raising significant funds for nominated projects pivotal in the battle to protect them.

The Young Explorer Programme, which launched this year, supports young people with a passion for exploration and conservation. Benefits of the programme include travel grants, practical guidance and advice.

Once Mr O’Shea completes his challenge he will fly home to begin studying paramedic science in London and if you would like to sponsor his journey, you can do so via his virginmoneygiving page. and you can follow his progress on his Africa the Ride website.

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