The Zambezi Cycle Challenge which took place over the weekend was well attended. Locals made up the bulk of the field, with cyclists from as far afield as Zambia, Botswana, and the UK also taking part.

Cyclists enjoyed three days of scenic riding in big game territory in the National Parks. The routes were comprised of mostly single track running along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, above and below one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls. The three day stage event covered a distance of between 50 to 80 kms each day.

The combination of social weekend warriors, wildlife enthusiasts as well as the racing snakes meant that that the cyclist’s abilities were varied. As a result the races were staggered by allotting three separate groups. Neutral zones where the cyclists had to stay together were demarcated throughout the course as a safety measure. In addition to this there was an aircraft surveying above, a vehicle manning the trails and motor bikes both in front and behind the cyclists.

The event which was started by Bruno De Leo and Brent Dacomb last year has had a favourable reception within the local community, resulting in a huge uptake of mountain biking which seems set to grow with success of both the 2015 and 2016 editions.

The event’s primary objective is to raise funds to preserve the environment by supporting conservation through education.  As such all proceeds from this year’s challenge will go to Children In The Wilderness (CITW) and the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust.

The event sought to create a reputable and uniquely challenging and adventure filled experience through beautifully scenic and natural reserves for participants that are conservationists as well as adventure enthusiasts.

The ethos of the Zambezi Cycle Challenge is to preserve the very environment in which we ride through” said Bruno De Leo.

The success of the challenge can be largely accredited to the community and companies who pooled resources together to make the event a success. Bruno De Leo’s aim is to ensure that the event continues to grow each year in both reputation and stature. He hopes more funds will be generated, which can in turn be channelled towards “charities which make a difference.” His intention is to ensure that a sponsor that shares his same ideals of conservation and the preservation of the pristine environment, eventually takes over the event.

A boat cruise on the Zambezi Explorer followed by prize giving and dinner on the jetty concluded a gruelling episode of cycling. Soft chatter rippled across the calm waters of the Zambezi as the crowd enjoyed the rest of the evening to end off a truly riveting weekend.

VF24 Editor