Dr. Unni Karunakara, the recently retired president of Doctors without Borders/Medecins sans Frontieres, is riding 3,100 miles (5,000 km) down the length of India from north to south. His mission is to spread public health information in the many villages and cities he will visit along the way, and act as a humanitarian ambassador for Doctors without Borders, which provides medical care to impoverished people around the world. He is about halfway through the trip that will take four months and bring the physician over mountain ranges and down rural roads to the tropical coast 100 days later. Read a news release about Dr. Karunakara’s humanitarian expedition here.
Karunakara is riding a Schindelhauer touring bike equipped with Gates Carbon Drive, a Brooks saddle and panniers, and Rohloff internal hub.
“I have been working in international health for eighteen years from treating patients, advocating for life-saving medicines, and fighting to improve access and the quality of healthcare,” says Dr. Karunakara. “I feel I have a unique opportunity to pause, reflect, and explore with people what health means to them and how they experience it. I love to cycle. As a medical intern in India in 1988, I biked from Delhi to Leh and Srinagar to Delhi. I dreamed, one day, to ride from one end of India to the other. Twenty five years later, I can fulfill this dream and combine it with my other passion, which is to connect with people, start meaningful dialogues, and learn from each other.”
Read more on the Brooks blog, support Doctors without Borders by donating here, and visit the trip Facebook page.
Jorg Schindelhauer explains the features of Dr. Karunakara’s bike.
The P18 is a premium touring and trekking bike from German bicycle maker Stevens. The P18 combines the Gates belt drive with a Pinion gearbox (the blue apparatus in the bottom bracket area of the picture above). Gearbox technology is exciting because it brings some of the low-maintenance attributes of motorcycle and automobile shifting to bicycles. The P18 also features Deore XT disc brakes and Supernova lights, a durable anodized frame and forged adjustable rear dropouts for belt tensioning. If you need a strong and clean drive train for hardcore trekking and commuting, this is the bike. Learn more at the Stevens website, and check out the pictures below.
Pilot Cycles is a Dutch company that builds innovative titanium bikes. Pilot recently produced this custom trekking and commuting bike featuring the Pinion gearbox. The combination of Gates Carbon Drive and the 18-speed Pinion creates a sturdy, clean and low-maintenance bicycle that can endure the worst weather.
Pilot has also built many ti bikes combining the Gates belt drive with the Rohloff internally geared hub, another extremely strong shifting system that is used by adventure cyclists. See the belt drive 29er below with a lefty fork and Rohloff hub.
Learn more at www.pilotcycles.com
Kapp to Cape is the bike adventure of a lifetime, an arduous and dangerous journey that spans the length of the planet from the Arctic Circle in Norway to South Africa’s Cape Town. Reza Pakravan and his partner Steven Pawley have undertaken this extreme expedition to raise money to build two schools in Madagascar, where Reza has previously helped build schools in underprivileged communities. Reza is riding a Koga trekking bike with Gates Carbon Drive. He and Steven are currently in Zambia and hope to finish their epic journey around Nov 24.
Reza has experienced extreme hardship, dehydration and exhaustion while traversing Africa. An excerpt from the Kapp to Cape website:
We had been riding in blistering heat for almost an hour without water when I finally succumbed. I don’t remember much, but Steve suddenly realised I wasn’t behind him anymore, and that I had come off the bike. He put me in the shade and we just had to stay put to conserve energy, and wait for someone to come by. After about half an hour, we managed to flag down a 4×4, who gave us both water. The owner took the bikes and bags and drove us straight to a clinic in Iringa, 150km away.
Please consider donating to this worthy cause here. Check out the photos below and learn more at Reza’s Facebook page. Good luck Reza, we admire your fortitude and dedication to helping educate the children of Madagascar.
Reza entertaining some kids in Ethiopia.
Imagine waking up to that view. It’s a scene that most people only dream of seeing. For Geoff Harper of Unchained Iceland, however, such amazing sights were a daily occurrence. In August, Harper embarked on a 500-mile tour of Iceland’s coastline, riding on beaches, over grass and off-road whenever possible. It is a journey that would be impossible on a regular bike. But Harper had a secret weapon: a belt drive 9: Zero:7 fat bike that allowed him to cover terrain that would have destroyed a chain and rendered other bikes useless.
“This fat bike equipped with a Gates Carbon Drive, NuVinci N360 hub and Jpaks custom packs proved to be the optimal setup for adventurers seeking steadfast reliability when riding off the beaten path and into the rough where bicycles seldom venture,” he says.
Harper is a strength and conditioning coach from Colorado. He decided to embark on the trip due to his love of Iceland, a place where he has previously mountaineered and climbed glaciers, and his love of bikes and adventure. Read Harper’s inspiring trip report here. An excerpt:
“It rained hard for most of the night with gusting winds testing the strength of my tent. I waited a couple of hours for a window of lighter rain before breaking camp. Today’s riding was preceeded by the daunting knowledge that I would be traversing the legendary Sandur often described as ‘soul destroying’. This 60km stretch would be the most treacherous, dangerous and frustrating obstacle I would encounter in Iceland. The Sandur, much like a glacier, has crevasses with sand bridges and quicksand. I weaved my way through the safest sand I could find, often as far as 20km from the ocean break. Though I could ride through some of the runoffs I was forced inland on many an occasion to cross bridges and then return to the Sandur…I battled the Sandur for 3 days in total, an experience I will never forget.”
Below are some of the pictures from Harper’s adventure and his bike.