After 41 days, Nigerian man Kunle Adeyanju who rode a bike from London to Lagos finally arrived in Nigeria on Sunday to cheer from onlookers. He embarked on the trip from London in April to partly raise money for polio and for the Rotary Club of Ikoyi Metro, Nigeria, to help execute some community projects.
Adeyanju is the president-elect of the club, a charter of the Rotary organization that provides humanitarian services worldwide. The Nigerian man, who has been a Rotary club member since his university days, decided to support polio eradication after losing a childhood friend to the illness.
In 2020, Nigeria was declared free of wild polio virus, however, there are still some vaccine-derived cases in the West African country. Adeyanju has said that 20% of the funds raised will be channeled to the Rotary PolioPlus Foundation to support the eradication of polio. His goal is to raise $26,000. Adeyanju previously cycled from Lagos to Accra over three days and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro twice but his latest journey is what captured the most attention.
He spent 41 days on the journey from London to Lagos traveling 13,000 kilometers through some 11 countries and 31 cities. His route included: London – France – Spain – Gibraltar – Morocco – Western Sahara – Mauritania – Senegal – Gambia – Mali – Cote d’Ivoire – Ghana – Togo – Benin – Lagos, Nigeria.
He traveled on some of the world’s most dangerous roads to get to his destination. “The experience of riding the Tizi n’Tichka pass, that’s the path that take you to the summit of the Atlas mountain. It’s regarded as the most dangerous road in Africa. It’s packed with adrenaline and it’s a road where you take your eyes off the road for one second or you can go into the ravine,” he told CNN.
One of his toughest moments was being in the Sahara Desert, where he nearly died. It took him seven days to cross the desert where he experienced two sandstorms and almost ran out of water. He explained that the Sahara on the Moroccan side is totally different from the Sahara in Mauritania. It is very windy on the Moroccan side and he experienced a sandstorm twice which lasted for about 30 to 40 minutes. Adeyanju had to lay his bike down and lie face down for 30 minutes until the storm passed.
He started drinking a lot of water as he was tired and by the time he realized it, he had only one liter left in his hydration pack. Meanwhile, he had around 450 kilometers still to go. Riding slowly because he was dehydrated, he came across a Land Rover parked in the desert.
“Nature spoke for me. Some guys were doing a desert Safari. I drove to them and I couldn’t speak… my speech was slurred… The guy just said ‘don’t talk, don’t talk’. Then he went into his car and gave me two 1.5 liter bottles of water. If I didn’t see those guys, I don’t know whether I will be here today,” Adeyanju recalled to CNN.
Throughout his charity ride from London to Lagos, he shared on Twitter details about the stops he made and some of the challenges he faced. He won the hearts of not only Rotary club members but also prominent individuals who wished him well and people from the biking community across the world. Most of these people helped him with bike repairs, accommodation, and food and water. The adventurer, entrepreneur and author finally arrived at the Ikeja Rotary club in Lagos on May 29, 2022.
And thanks to his latest adventure, he has uncovered the truth behind common myths and stereotypes about Africa and the people who live there. “Africa is beautiful. It is a land of diversity. It’s a land of hospitality and people are friendly and nice,” Adeyanju, who has been to 75 countries, said to CNN. “It was a big eye-opener for me to say that we have been underselling Africa.”
Owing to the discoveries he has made, he has launched a campaign called “Think Africa” to basically let the world recognize the continent as an opportunity and not a threat.