18 January 2024

Powering up for charity: Avani MD’s 400km Kenyan cycling challenge

**Amanda is looking for a main sponsor to take pride of place on the front and back of her cycling journey. Get in touch to find out more!**

Avani Solutions is continuing to raise money for Only a Pavement Away and the Licensed Trade Charity in 2024.

The pedal power of Avani MD Amanda Thomson will take on a 400km fundraising bike ride in Kenya next March.

The Pedalling For Pubs Challenge 2024 involves cycling from Nairobi to the Masai Mara on a tough week of riding.

Swapping flat Norfolk for Kenyan hills

“The sort of rocky roads I’m used to come in slabs with bits of marshmallow in, but I’ll be swapping flat Norfolk to cycle the hills of Kenya next spring raising money for our chosen charities,” says Amanda.

No stranger to a bicycle, she nevertheless describes herself as in the ‘weekend warrior’ category of cyclists and says she’ll need to build stamina and mental strength for the Kenyan challenge.

“During the week I generally don’t cycle, but I get my lycra on at the weekend,” she explains.

“The sort of rocky roads I’m used to come in slabs with bits of marshmallow in, but I’ll be swapping flat Norfolk to cycle the hills of Kenya”

On your bike, after a fry-up!

“I normally cycle with a group of people and we design our route based on where there’s a cafe. We ride into the wind, but make sure it’s behind us on the way back.

She adds, “Cycling is better than running because it’s possible to have a fry-up and get back on your bike.

“Maybe not a Full English, but I’d certainly go as far as a bacon bap with brown sauce!”

Off-road riding at altitude

Cycling in Kenya won’t be so leisurely. A team of sponsored cyclists will ride 400 km across five days on challenging terrain.

“As well as the distance, we’ll be cycling at altitude – sometimes as high as 3,844m – and it’s going to be off-road with not a single bit of tarmac, so quite lumpy, rough terrain and uphill, so lots of climbing.”

The route, through the southwest of the country, includes up to a kilometre of elevation gain every day! Recent floods have also washed away roads so some re-routing will be necessary. So how will a weekend warrior train for such a challenging ride?

Physical and mental training

“I’m going to liken it to an ultra-run, which is any distance longer than a marathon.

“You can’t run an ultra to prepare for an ultra. So, I can’t cycle between now and March in a way that replicates cycling in the Kenyan hills. I simply have to make sure I’m fit enough – and that I have the mental stamina as well.”

To make sure she’s fit Amanda plans daily sessions on a static bike, twice-weekly gym visits and as much on-road cycling as winter daylight hours allow.

“We’ll be cycling at altitude – sometimes as high as 3,844m – and it’s going to be off-road with not a single bit of tarmac…”

Supporting hospitality industry charities

Amanda’s efforts are in support of two charities connected to the hospitality industry.

Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) was founded in 2018 to be a conduit between hospitality employers and charities working with homeless people, including prison leavers and veterans, to enable them to overcome barriers by finding work within the hospitality industry.

The Licensed Trade Charity has been ‘serving drinks people since 1793’. It helps pubs, bars, breweries, wines, and spirits people, who are facing a crisis, with practical, emotional, and financial assistance.

“Supporting Only a Pavement Away is important because being homeless is something that could happen to almost anybody and I think it can happen unwittingly, so people need a hand to get out of it.

“And where OAPA helps people into work in hospitality, the Licensed Trade Charity helps people already in the industry – so there’s something of a life cycle from one charity to the next and in supporting both,” says Amanda.

Already sponsoring Amanda’s Pedalling for Pubs challenge are:

Five Insurance, part of the Brown & Brown Team – Independent insurance broker providing commercial insurance expertise and great service to UK businesses.

Chestnut Group – Award-winning pubs with rooms in the East of England.

Calvatis – Innovative development and manufacture of Calgonit industrial cleaning products.

Image Development – a refreshingly simple brand consultancy, combining marketing, psychology, and creativity. Image Development helps businesses cut through noise and nonsense to reach the results that really matter across their marketing. Brought to you by the great people at Image Experiential

Rijo42 – The Real Spirit of Coffee, the UK’s leading independent supplier of commercial coffee machines. Swiss precision engineered machines, award-winning coffee, and first-class service.

Their logos will be on Amanda’s cycling jersey and Avani will actively publicise sponsors online before, during, and after the event.

Opportunities to sponsor Amanda are still available! For details of sponsorship options email info@avanisolutions.co.uk.

Alternatively, you can make a donation via Amanda’s JustGiving page.

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