Oz female cyclist rides 22,000 kilometres to raise awareness about Africa

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Melbourne, Aug 24(ANI): An Australian woman from Melbourne has become the first person to cycle continuously from Africa's most westerly to easterly points.

Kate Leeming completed her epic 22,000- kilometres journey on August 16, ending an 11-month adventure aimed at raising awareness about the plight of Africa.

The journey took her from Cap Vert in Senegal to Cape Hufan in Somalia, and through some of the most remote and dangerous territories on the continent.

In her blog, the 43-year-old writes of hearing pleas for survival from the last pygmy village in Congo, getting lost on the Burkina Faso and Niger border and seeing everyday people carrying guns in the deserts of Ethiopia.

She needed an armed escort through several countries on her 22-country journey, and in Congo had support from the military, gendarmerie and police, to protect her from local rebels.

Near the end of her journey, as she traveled near the disputed borders of Puntland and Somaliland in Somalia, she was given a revolver to carry in her bag as well as armed escorts.

Leeming has previously ridden about 25,000 kilometers in Australia to raise awareness about environmental sustainability, and in 1993 became the first woman to cycle unsupported across Russia to help victims of the Chernobyl disaster.

Talking about Leeming's achievement, her father, Ted, said that he did not know where her passion came from, but admitted that he was relieved that the latest challenge has come to an end.

"We've been worried really for months now. Having said that, we had complete confidence in her ability to handle people and handle situations and plan ahead," The Age quoted Ted, as saying.

"The first thing she said [to me last week] was 'I've done it'. She's a terribly strong girl, but I think she's mentally and physically tired," he added.

Leeming will arrive in Melbourne tonight from Dubai where she has been recovering. (ANI)

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