Starting in Kajiado early this morning, the cyclists took off to start their incredible journey to Watamu. We are so thankful to our sponsors for this epic event and are proud to partner with such passionate businesses!
Cycling 80km today, the cyclists will rest up in Selengai this evening and prepare for another exciting day in their adventure!
✅cows ✅goats ✅sheep ✅donkeys ✅dogs ✅birds ✅squirrel ✅mole ✅zebra ✅chicken ✅frog (in the bathtub!) ✅tree hyrax ✅Thomson’s gazelle
Hearts pumping, sweat beads forming and evaporating, muscles twitching and spokes spinning the dust. The spokes that hold the wheel together are elements in exact balance.
Hence Cycle4Seas. An off road cycle of 680 kilometres from Kajiado to Watamu, to mirror the way deforestation upcountry leads to polluted rivers, climate change, poisonous seas and low bio-diversity all linked to our very survival.
All the elements we live on – everything environmental on earth, began with the water cycle. Earth, in our solar system, is the only planet with liquid water, the perfect mixture of gases we call air and temperatures that are just right to sustain life. All this, is what we term climate. Even a little change in the climate, threatens life on earth.
Humans have disturbed the balance. Excessive clearing of land for settlement, agriculture and charcoal, as well as industries pumping out carbon dioxide, which has warmed the earth and is creating deserts with the lowest bio diversity in man’s history.
Half of the earth’s insects who pollinate plants – our crops – have gone extinct in the last 30 years. Their apocalypse will have a disastrous impact on food chains. A diverse gene pool ensures adaptation and evolution of species and consequent survival up the food chain. The climate becoming more extreme so rapidly is making adaptation impossible.
Kenya has over a thousand kilometres of coastline, making it well placed for innovative initiatives to help build the “blue” economy, that would benefit the hinterland as well as the Indian Ocean countries.
Cycle4Seas is organized by Seas4Life Trust and partnered with Oceans Alive. It has already attracted significant sponsorship. The marine ecosystem is linked to the water cycle and cycling for the seas is therefore a poetic sporting event.
Excitement has been mounting for this extreme sporting event that’s taking place at the end of August in Kenya. By the time we went to press, amongst the amateur cyclists – trained by Simon Blake, Assistant Sports Director who began training Kenya Riders Team in 2010 – were Jose Maina who said that since he remembers, the Nairobi river has been thick and black with sludge, but doesn’t Nairobi mean Oasis – a source of fresh water? Adding after describing a cycling accident, ‘Don’t forget your helmet and don’t do crazy things on the road.’
Amongst the other young Kenyans are Simon Kitoti, who began riding as a boda-boda or bicycle taxi when he was a teenager to support his other siblings and who now trains avidly to get to international standards. And secondary school pupil Rashid Kosgei who trains whenever he can.
Cycling events seem to be taking East Africa by storm with the 3rd East African Bicycle Tour taking off from Arusha – 100 cyclists will cover 4300 km in 50 days, from August 1st to 20th September to promote East African communities’ togetherness.
Unlike Tour d’EAC which is largely cycling on tarmac, Cycle4Seas is off road, a safari route through some of the most beautiful wilderness in Kenya. This type of cycling or mountain biking, is an adrenalin pumping activity and one of the fastest growing sports worldwide. One such avid cyclist was the co-founder of Cycle4Seas – the late Jonathan Seex, CEO of Tamarind Group, who died in an aeroplane crash earlier this year.
Michael Dunford of Carnivore Restaurant and Gerson Misumi of Tamarind Group speaking at the launch held at Tamarind Tree Hotel which was designed by Jonathan Seex, spoke of their concerns for tourism’s health given that they are involved in the hospitality industry and that as a seafood restaurant, Misumi said they would ‘self destruct with contaminated food’. They described floating plastic and dirty beaches. Rand Pearson of Mondeas Media pointed out that the sludgy waters of the North Coast were a world-wide concern.
Michael Stanley Jones spoke on behalf of UNEP’s No Plastic Pollution Coalition, endorsing Cycle4Seas and saying the battle was just beginning especially in regard to the fashion burden – micro-plastics from fabrics and the related chemical pollution of waterways.
Nish Lakhani of Terra Safi Eco Products said the aim was to create an annual event like the East African Safari Rally and grab global attention. It is hoped that Run4Seas and Swim4Seas will follow. Julie Church co-co-founder of Seas4Life and Cycle4Seas, said as a keen swimmer she wanted to swim in a clean sea. She quoted a young woman called Greta who said ‘It’s my world, I must do something about climate change’ and added ‘many Europeans do not know what to do, but the answers are out there’. She further stressed that Kenya is well placed to take the lead in innovative solution to build a blue economy.
As I write this, for the last three days, Kenya’s Nation newspaper has featured Kenya’s rivers on the front page under the headings River of Poison – for the Nairobi River, Spectacle of sewer lake – new dam to be sourced from the Athi River and Corridor of disease – referring to the river known as Athi, Galana and Sabaki justy north of the coast. Paul Wafula writes how pineapples that are irrigated by the rivers, domestic animals watered by these waterways and crabs caught at the mouth of the Indian Ocean are all contaminated with heavy metals which cause diseases of the stomach, heart and respiratory systems.
According to the United Nations there is still time—just over a decade to avert the worst effects of climate damage, if we begin to link every economic activity with environmental concerns. This has already started on a global scale. Recently, in Lamu a well-developed plan for a coal plant was thwarted by public pressure, Kenya government mobilized resources to rehabilitate the Mau forest complex which is the largest water tower feeding lakes from Turkana to Natron. Neighbouring Ethiopia broke the record recently by planting 353 million trees in just 12 hours.
Oceans Alive, partners of Seas4Life have created an award winning marine sanctuary and sustainable fisheries in Kuruwitu, which is locally managed. The previously bleached coral reef due to over fishing and trampling by tourists, who removed animal habitats such as shells, is now a snorkeling delight with colourful and vibrant sea creatures.
Tuesday 13th August 2019, 3:30pm at The Tamarind Tree Hotel, Nairobi
Kenya cycling enthusiasts and sponsored teams are gearing up for one of the greatest bike rides on the continent. The premier event, Cycle4Seas, is a seven-day of off-road cycling expedition from Kajiado to Watamu to grab global attention for our waterways and seas, and to raise funds to conserve Kenya’s marine protected areas and help build its burgeoning blue economy.
From August 25th – 31st, teams of cyclists and their supporters will tackle the challenge of pedaling the 680km route starting at the foothills of Kenya’s iconic Ngong Hills while exposing the world to some of the most beautiful lands on earth—from Kajiado, with its abundant wildlife and Maasai villages via Selengai; through the wilderness of Amboseli, beside the majestic Kilimanjaro; across the Tsavo National Park along the Sabaki River to Watamu by the sea. Never before in Kenya (as a team sporting event) has a feat of this proportion been tried.
Cycle4Seas is the inaugural fundraising event for a new and dedicated Kenya marine conservation non-profit, Seas4Life Trust.
“We aim to bring attention to the rivers that flow from Nairobi to the sea,” says Julie Church, marine safari guide, marine conservationist, a blue economy consultant and co-founder of Ocean Sole and Seas4Life Trust. “For instance, the Mbagathi, that leads into the Athi, becoming the Galana and entering the ocean just north of Malndi as the Sabaki. The sources of these rivers are the forests in the Aberdares and Ngong hills. They used to bring clean and uncontaminated water to the sea, feeding the people, wildlife and other ecosystems en route. They are now heavily polluted with unwanted minerals, plastics, steel and much, much more.”
Land and sea are inextricably linked in strong and stunning ways. As a blue planet, 70 percent of our world is ocean, and it’s this ocean that governs the water cycle, and with it the atmosphere, a place for humans, wildlife, birds and marine life to live in well-balanced ecosystems. Everything is interrelated and everything is connected to the sea.
“All this unwanted garbage and toxic waste negatively impacts wildlife and people on its journey to the sea, and then dumps into the corals, mangroves, seagrass beds and open oceans, killing the diverse marine life that call these delicate ecosystems home. Yet it’s this marine life that provides us fish to eat, protection from the sea, income from tourism and is at the core of our blue economy,” says Church.
Seas4Life Trust believes that this great nation can come together and reverse these negative trends by protecting and investing in our ocean assets and build thriving communities around them. To start with, Seas4Life is out to change people’s mindset when it comes to Kenya’s seas and waterways. To do this, it is launching The Cycle4Seas event.
Cycle4Seas is an epic personal challenge of will and determination. It tells the story of Kenya riders taking up the cause of saving their seas—because, who else will? The scale of the event and the undertaking of such a grand physical challenge for a very important moment holds the attention of a nation and the entire world. The ride is also about raising funds for marine conservation and investment into community based, blue economy initiatives. It is the long-term dream of Seas4Life Trust to build a “blue wall” of marine protected areas along Kenya’s entire coastline, while at the same time building thriving communities connected to these ecologically rich coastal regions.
“We are here to connect the dots, and create a discussion about how business and our way of life can change for the better. For instance, with improved management of industry, rivers can be cleaned up; Plastic waste can be used to generate power, like in Sweden; Effective marine protected areas protect our coasts and generate income and jobs; Better knowledge of our fisheries, allows for sustainable and wild harvest. It is all possible!” says Church.
Church also believes that there is great hope in our capacity as Kenyans to take up and own this challenge as a personal challenge, like running a marathon or climbing a huge peak. “It is in us as Kenyans to beat the challenges that we face,” says Church.
Kenya is leading Africa on its ban on plastic bags, creation of the internationally famous Flipflopi boat, its recent ban on the coal plant in Lamu, and in a year’s time, a ban on single-use plastic in the national parks. It’s amazing what Kenya has accomplished so far. The country is already well placed to clean up its waterways and seas, find use in its plastic waste, and protect and manage its coastline and contribute effectively to its huge blue economy potential—estimated by the U.N. to be in the billions of schillings.
By championing a Sustainable Kenya, and a ‘Healthy Seas – Healthy Lives’ concept, Kenya can reduce the effects of climate change for its people.
Overall, Seas4Life Trust is committed to raise awareness of the value of our oceans, and to raise funds for cleaner waterways and seas, well-protected coastlines and sustainable enterprises. We do this through epic events, and the first one is Cycle4Seas, which is the brainchild of the late Jonathan Seex, avid mountain biker and CEO of Tamarind Group who was lost this March in the Ethiopian Airline crash.
Over 50 percent of all proceeds from this extreme event will go towards advocating for and regenerating clean, plastic free seas, funding innovative technologies, enabling communities dependent on marine life to become conservationists and other Seas4Life Trust activities.
Cycle4Seas is suitable for intermediate riders and their supporters.
Cycle4Seas is an epic race from upcountry Kajiado to coastal Malindi, to raise awareness and attract funding for innovative projects to save the planet. An initiative of Seas4Life, which has been cleaning beaches, recycling discarded flip flops and partnering with Ocean Alive to restore the biodiversity of degraded coral reefs on the Swahili Coast.
Raising awareness, cleaning the seas and building a “blue” economy that makes coastal communities guardians of the marine ecosystem.
Kajiado county, where the race will begin, has only 3.5% forest cover even though some
100,000 trees have been planted in recent years. The government’s target is a minimum 10% forest cover. Forests in the Ngong hills that provided the area with water have since disappeared and therefore, these trees are not enough for water catchment to feed the rivers that run by burgeoning towns.
Recently, governor Lenko of Kajiado county banned the sale of water, much of it in plastic containers because it was found that most people were drinking salty water from boreholes which would eventually result in poor heart and kidney health. A Chinese company has since invested in clean piped water, which ties Kajiado to aid for it’s survival.
Birds nest in forests providing nitrogen rich guano to the soil which is carried with rain to rivers feeding the plants and animals along the way to the seas from which water evaporation causes clouds to shed their rain over the forests. This system is now cracking due to clearing of land for charcoal and agriculture as well as industries pumping out carbon dioxide which has warmed the earth and is creating deserts with lowest biodiversity in man’s history. A diverse gene pool ensures adaptation and evolution of species.
According to the United Nations there is still time – just over a decade to avert the worst effects of climate damage if we begin to link every economic activity with environmental concerns.
This has already started on a global scale. Recently, in Lamu a well developed plan for a coal plant was thwarted by public pressure in favour of renewable energies that would preserve the coast’s mangrove forests. The Mau forest complex is the largest water tower in Kenya feeding rivers from Lake Turkana in the north to Natron in Tanzania. After areas of its were depleted due to human settlement, the government mobilized resources for it’s rehabilitation so that agriculture, hydropower, urban water supply, tourism, rural livelihoods and wildlife habitats that depend on it maybe preserved.
Oceans Alive created an award winning marine sanctuary and sustainable fisheries in Kuruwitu, which is locally managed. The previously bleached coral reef due to over fishing and trampling by tourists who removed animal habitats such as shells is now a snorkeling delight with colourful and vibrant sea creatures.
We can start accelerating the energy in a positive contagion and let the universe do the rest. Join the race.
The most basic way to describe how charcoal is produced is that wood is burned in a fire until the charred remains can be recovered as charcoal. Charcoal production triggers deforestation because charcoal is made out of wood and the only way to get wood to make charcoal is to chop down trees.
All cyclists in our epic off-road cycle will be tossing out Seedballs along the route to help encourage new tree growth!
Thank you Seedballs Kenya for your amazing donation and we can’t wait to plant some trees!