Guest Contributor | Aug 30, 2019 | 0
Were it not for his E-Bike, Steve Galloway says he could not make this trip
Steve Galloway, on his pioneering E-Bike south to north and west to east tour of Namibia, has reached the halfway mark. During the weekend he reached Epupa Falls on the Kunene river after peddling some 2120 km since he departed from the Orange river three weeks ago.
True to his calm and composed disposition, Steve casually cycled into Omarunga Epupa Falls Camp as if it is the most natural thing to do. He said this would not have been possible on a conventional mountainbike, lauding the E-Bike for its enormous potential to be deployed further in Namibia’s rural areas for all sorts of applications from community game guards, to ambulances to fetching water and groceries.
Steve calculated that he has spent eighteen days and 95 hours on his bike and has averaged 115 km a day, sometimes cycling up to eight hours during the first half of his trip. The maximum distance he has cycled in a single stretch was the 174 km from Rosh Pinah to Klein Aus Vista, also the most difficult as he fought his way against a headwind that reduced his speed from an average of 22km/h to 16km/h. On this day, he also had to do a 1000 metre climb in a 36 kilometre section.
At his halfway point, the epic journey is interrupted for a short breather and to attend board meetings in Windhoek. Always on the lookout for development potential, Steve said he travelled through various conservancies where a little investment can go a long way to improve the communities’ livelihood.
While in Windhoek for the next three weeks, he intends to inform local supporters about the newly-founded Community Conservation Fund of Namibia, and to establish preliminary contact with organisations that want to help.
What he noticed on his cycling journey is that digital connectivity can be an effective escalator for other development endeavours. For instance, if more cellular towers are erected in some remote areas, the educational and commercial impact on the communities in the vicinity of the tower, will be immense.
Similarly, the containers that are deployed as part of the Bicycle Empowerment Network Namibia (BENN) project, can double as hubs for e-learning and e-commerce, provided there is connectivity.
In July Steve returns to his journey, tackling the west east axis from Epupa to Katima Mulilo
He hopes to reach Katima in time to support the launch of the Physically Active Youth centre at the end of July and to visit the local BENN e-box.
Caption: More or less halfway between south and north, Steve crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. (Photograph by Ron Swilling)