Three local men plan to take the ride of their life and complete an 11,000 km bike ride from Turkey to Cape Town, South Africa all in aid of a cancer charity.
Earlier this year Alf Chappell, Sam Tucker and Luke Weller decided that they wanted to go on a bike ride together.
Nothing so unusual about that: they are friends who love adventure and have already travelled extensively and climbed some of the world’s highest mountains together. But this is a bike ride with a difference.
Not only are they undertaking a phenomenal and some would say crazy adventure, they are also raising money for BUVAK the foundation for the Dr. Behçet Uz Children’s Hospital in Izmir; a national centre of excellence for children with cancer.
Luke Weller explains how he feels about their forthcoming trip: “What we are doing is for an outstanding cause and although I have yet to visit the hospital, this is something I will rectify as soon as I arrive in Turkey.
However, I do already know that those children and their families are braver and stronger than any expedition Alf, Sam or I will ever undertake and that is what will motivate us when the hard times hit – knowing that whatever we go through will be nothing to what those children are going through, and that is worth fighting for, that is worth cycling for.”
The journey will take Luke, Alf and Sam from the busy centre of Izmir all the way to Cape Town, South Africa.
On their travels, these courageous men will be passing through many African countries en route and across some of the most dangerous and challenging terrain in the world. They plan to camp to keep the costs down so that all the money raised will go direct to their chosen cause.
Their plan is to raise money for Dr. Behçet Uz Foundation (BUVAK) while undertaking an 11,000 kilometre adventure of a lifetime.
They had hoped to start on 15th September but the unsettled situation in the Middle East, Egypt in particular, has meant delays and altering their route. However, as Alf says: “Somehow we will make our way to the African continent from Turkey.
Plan A was to cycle from Izmir to Mersin or Iskenderun and get the ferry via Cyprus to Port Said but all the ferries have been cancelled because of what’s happening in Egypt.
It looks like this will now be impossible, so we’ll have to revert to plan B, which means cycling from Izmir to Istanbul and fly to Egypt.”
Alf is determined to make this adventure a financial success for BUVAK: “At the moment all I can say is we will get there somehow.
This is not just about me, Sam and Luke; it is also about Dr. Behçet Uz Hospital and the children who need treatment there.
Sick children from all over Turkey can be treated at this hospital, so it is not just a local cause.
We are getting great support from various people and now we ask that individuals and businesses in Fethiye donate to this important cause.
I am being serious when I say I would like everyone to dig deep…really deep into their pockets and their hearts. We will be doing the hard work as well as financially supporting ourselves through out this journey.
We’re approaching various organisations and businesses in the country and also publicizing our bike ride throughout the tourism sector.”
Last Minute Practice
Sam and Alf are now waiting for Luke to join them so they can fine-tune their technique and get in some last minute practice.
They are also waiting for some of the visas they need. Founder of the European Diving Center and husband of Bala Birsin-Chappell, Alf, at 59, is the oldest member of the trio but his team mates are substantially younger: Sam is 26 and Luke 27.
Despite the age difference they are all training hard but none of them underestimate the challenge they face.
“This is about supporting each other, through the good as well as the difficult times,” said Sam. “We are all scuba divers and know how important fitness is.
Alf has been in training for longer than myself but I’m confident that we’ll all be all right on the day.
It is our intention to cycle between 80 and 120 kilometres a day.
Some of the terrain is at high altitude, which will be difficult and the most challenging.”
Luke feels that, “Life is too short to be always looking over your shoulder wondering on the what-ifs.
Twenty years from now I will be more disappointed by the things I didn’t do than by the ones I did.
A lot of people have told me they think it is dangerous to do what we’re doing, however I take the personal viewpoint that if you cannot explore the world I have been created in, what is the point in living in it?”
Alf, Sam and Luke are being sponsored by paragliding company, Sky Sports, Belcekiz Beach Club and Holiday Village, Sugar Beach Club, in Ölüdeniz and Fethiye bike shop, Lykia2teker.
“They are completely crazy, of course, but in the best possible way,” said Murat Tüzer on behalf of Sky Sports. “I have known Alf, Sam and Luke for many years and they were always going to have an adventure somewhere or other but to combine it with raising money for children with cancer makes it so much more special for them and all their friends and supporters.
All of us at Sky Sports are really happy that we can support them and BUVAK. I hope many others will too.”
The countries they will be passing through:
Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa.
Support and Contact
How to support Alf, Sam and Luke and follow * them on their journey:
Dr.Behçet Uz Foundation: www.buvak.com (in Turkish and English)