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Industry challengers prepare to pedal in Madagascar

A team of 25 challengers from across the UK transport and logistics industry is preparing for the fundraising challenge of a lifetime, cycling more than 450km across Madagascar, in aid of international development charity Transaid.

The group – which has set a target of raising £100,000 – will set off on the gruelling adventure to the island country in the Indian Ocean on Friday 15 June, with a day’s acclimatisation in the capital of Antananarivo on the Saturday, before the main event begins in earnest on Sunday.

The five-day ride will see the team covering an average of 90km per day, starting out on tarmac roads from the city and passing through villages and rice paddies. Beyond the smooth blacktop lies broken tarmac with deep potholes, sharp ascents and descents, dusty off-road trails, steep undulations, river crossings over floating bridges and crowded urban streets packed with markets, cyclists, cars and pedestrians.

Transaid Events Manager Aggie Krasnolucka-Hickman says: "The challengers are extremely excited and raring to get going on their challenging trip. They’ve been working flat-out to train and meet their fundraising objectives."

Proceeds from the event will benefit vital Transaid initiatives across Africa. In Madagascar Transaid is working to reduce child and maternal mortality rates by providing better transport solutions. Flooding in remote parts of Madagascar can leave communities cut off for up to 10 months of the year, with little or no access to transport.

Supporting the challengers in-country is International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI), which has made a generous donation to help fund Transaid’s work, but is also covering the cost of internal flights for the challengers. Executives at ICTSI have also arranged a mid-cycle visit to the Port of Toamasina – its own major logistics terminal.

Narlene Soriano, Head of Public Relations at ICTSI, says: "Transaid’s work in Madagascar and across the developing world is helping to save lives and improve quality of living in some of our remotest communities. We salute Transaid’s commitment, and look forward to welcoming the challengers from the UK, whose hard work is set to benefit a very worthwhile charity."

The 25 participants represent major organisations including the CILT, DHL, GKN Freight Services, Hankook Tyres, Michelin, Mike Mundy Associations, PS-PPP Consult, Simms Recycling Solutions, Transport Exchange Group, Transport for London, United Biscuits, Volvo Truck, Wincanton and Woodland Global.

The group returns to the UK on Saturday 23 June. To sponsor the team visit their justgiving website on www.justgiving.com/teams/transaidmadagascar

Follow the team on the Transaid blog during their trip: http://transaidchallengers.wordpress.com

To discuss getting involved in a future Transaid challenge call Aggie Krasnolucka-Hickman on +44 (0) 20 7387 8136 or email aggie@transaid.org.

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