Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Biker revs up and heads to Timbuktu for charity mission - News - getwokingham - The Wokingham Times

Biker revs up and heads to Timbuktu for charity mission - News - getwokingham - The Wokingham Times: "A Finchampstead man is riding his way to Timbuktu and back in a 7,000km challenge for charity.

Dave Alexander, of Arnett Avenue, is roaring his way across the globe in a BMW R 1200 GS Adventure motorcycle to raise funds for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

The 51-year-old set off from BMW Motorrad UK’s headquarters in Bracknell on Friday, November 5, to take on the mammoth three-week ride to Timbuktu.

He said: “Timbuktu is one of those mythical places that many people think doesn’t actually exist. It’s a dream destination for a challenge like this and a great journey to cross off the list.”

And it is not the first time the BMW parts and accessories manager has taken to the road for a motorcycle challenge, having competed in two Heroes Legend Paris-Dakar events on his 1994 R 80 G/S motorcycle. This time he is switching his bike for a different model to see how it will fare on the journey across bumpy paths from the UK down to Barcelona and beyond.

He said: “I’m sure I’ll be revisiting some of the classic Dakar routes from the two Heroes Legend rides, but this time it will be less competitive so there will be time to make the most of the local life and culture, and see some of the sights.

“I don’t want to risk anything so I’ll be making a few minor modifications to protect the bits that could be vulnerable in the event of a crash, just to ensure that I can complete the challenge.

“As for spares, I’m working on a list but will probably take an emergency rocker cover, tyre repair kit, spare clutch and brake levers, gas canisters, tyre plugs and travel foot-pump, just in case.”

Mr Alexander headed for Barcelona where he was set to meet 22 other challengers coming from Holland and Belgium. The riders will then board the ferry to Tangiers where they will ride through Morocco and Western Sahara before going inland and crossing into Mali and eventually pulling up in Timbuktu.

But the adventure does not stop there, as the group will then loop round and head to Bamako via Djenne, which is home to the world’s largest mud mosque. In Bamako the riders will crate up their bikes ready for them to be shipped back to Europe.

Mr Alexander is taking on the challenge to raise funds for people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, the most common forms of which are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which affect around 250,000 people in the United Kingdom.

People can follow Mr Alexander’s journey to Timbuktu via satellite tracking at www.biketrac.co.uk/timbuktu or on Twitter @bmwtimbuktu.

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