ATS Euromaster’s Head of Business Development, Kevin Steward, will be putting his mind to a different kind of challenge this November, as a participant of transport charity Transaid’s fundraising initiative Cycle Tanzania.
Steward will swap business development strategies and the motorways of Britain for 420 km of dust track under the Tanzanian sun, in an effort to help raise money towards the independent charity’s work in Africa and the developing world.
Transaid saves lives by improving the standards of driver training and emergency transport in countries where road accidents are big killers and access to healthcare services and public transport is poor. It draws on the support of industry leaders such as ATS Euromaster and Michelin, both of which are founding members of the charity.
Steward says he hopes getting close and personal with a nation with some of the world’s biggest economical and health problems will be an enlightening experience.
"It’s easy to lose sight of what really goes on out there when you never have to face up to it," he says. "I’ll be glad of this opportunity to really see it first-hand."
Kevin’s five-day cycling challenge will take him through wildlife parks, rural villages, over mountains and across rivers. He will have the opportunity to meet villagers, eat local delicacies and see a wide range of wildlife, including lions, buffalo, zebras, giraffes, hippos, hyenas and antelopes.
Apart from overnight stops in basic hotels and lodges, resting time will be sparse, and he will be cycling for up to eight hours a day, so it goes without saying he’s undertaken a gruelling training regime.
"I’m not the fittest of people," he concedes, "and November’s creeping up on me, so I’m out on my bike most days now, on the downs near my home.
"Getting up in the morning and getting back on your bike when you feel like you’ve barely left the saddle is tough, but it’s kept me focused on my goal – and staying motivated is the key to getting sponsorship."
To participate in the expedition, Kevin needs to raise at least £3,000. A large portion of the money has come from Birmingham-based ATS Euromaster’s corporate suppliers; while ATS Euromaster has also contributed towards the amount and given Kevin the time off work for free. Kevin says he relies on friends, family and colleagues for the rest.
He’s set up some fundraising events, including three dress-down days at work over the next few days – and a ‘spinning day’ on the mezzanine of his office in mid-October.
"The spinning day should be an interesting one," he says. "The challenge is to cycle on this spinning bike for six hours without a break. My friends can’t wait to have a good old laugh at my expense: they’ve even suggested I juggle throughout. I put my foot down at wearing lycra though!"