#Love4Gambia Day 2 on the road

#Love4Gambia photos from Day 2 on the road


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Love4Gambia First Day Update!

#Love4Gambia On Wheels teammate John LeBlanc with an update from the first day of the ride:

We’re off! It’s 5;45am, we are on a washboard dirt road on our way to the end of the country, Koina. We got up at 4:15am, had a breakfast of boiled eggs, peanut butter on Ryveeta and an orange and then assembled the bikes. We are riding in a van with the back seats removed to make room for the bikes, which are piled one on top of the other. I’m glad I brought an old bike!

The velvet sky is punctuated by stars, the big dipper is pointing  downwards and the North star is just above the horizon. The road is deserted  except for goats and a man on a bicycle who was transporting freshly baked bread to market. We bought five fresh loaves of delicious baguettes (called Tapalapa in Wolof, a Gambian language) and munched away as we veered from rut to rut.

Fifty km and 90 minutes later, we reached the border of Senegal, marked by a simple stone and completely open via an unsupervised dirt road. We stepped into Senegal (I can now add Senegal to my list of countries visited, even if for only 15 minutes!) then set up our bikes at the border marker for the trek back to Banjul.


We were off! I unfortunately had to stop after two minutes because my back tire kept bottoming out and hitting the rim. The others did fine and we soon reached Koina, about 2 km away. There we were able to buy a pump that worked better than our own and got all of our tire pressures up to par. Unfortunately, this set us back about 45 minutes and the sun was relentlessly climbing above the horizon, its rays becoming more intense by the minute.

The road condition varied from sand to hard-packed dirt, sometimes smooth, sometimes like a washboard. By 11am and about 30 km later, we were spent, baking and dehydrated. We headed back to Basse, disappointed that we hadn’t made our first 50 km goal but recognizing that our own health was more important.

Recovery was slow that day; it’s not easy to get back to normal in 42 degree C weather. We slept, talked and sweated until the temperature began to moderate into the mid-thirties by 5pm. We came alive! We ate supper and strolled around town buying supplies and chatting with people. Unlike our Canadian often cocooning culture, people mill the streets, greet each other and us warmly with “How are you? and chat over lingering meals. To bed at 10pm with alarms set for 4:30am.

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The Team has arrived!

Day 1 – March 2

The Love4Gambia On Wheels team has arrived! John, Luke, and Joanne met up with staff at the NSGA office for a press conference and to try out the bionic runners!

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Love4Gambia On Wheels 2017

 The Love4Gambia On Wheels Team is heading out on February 28 to begin their over 400km journey! To learn more about the event, and how to support the team, check our post here!

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Weekly Fundraising Totals

2017 Love4Gambia On Wheels

Weekly Fundraising Totals

Goal: $40,000

As of February 21, 2017: $4,000


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Meet the Love4Gambia On Wheels Team!

jj-on-cabot-trail-bike-rideJoanne Langley

Joanne is a paediatrician and passionate about the well-being of children and youth. She travelled to the Gambia in 2012 and saw first hand how the Nova Scotia Gambia Association is empowering young people to help their peers, speak articulately, and live healthier lives. She is excited about the challenge of bicycling the Gambia (in 30+ C degree heat). Joanne works at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre http://bit.ly/2kRAQSM. A long term Haligonian, she loves bicycling and would like there to be bike lanes everywhere in Halifax. She is a mother of three beautiful young people and married to John.


John LeBlanc

I’m a paediatrician at the IWK Health Centre and I have been on the Board of the NSGA since 2013. I wanted to contribute some way to fundraising for this remarkable group of Gambians but realized that the previous Love4Gambia challenges (running the length of the Gambia for 30 days!) was not for me. Biking seemed within reach though, and biking across the Gambia was born! I’m a little scared of biking 500 km or so in 35-40 degree temperatures but what the heck, I get to escape the Halifax February weather!


Luke MacDonald

Luke MacDonald is the husband of Andrea, father of Bria & son of Rickey & Peggy. He works as a partner at Aerobics First with his specific role being community contectedness. Luke is a founder of The Youth Running Series (1996-present), Builder of Halifax’s Start2Finish/Running & Reading Programs (2007-present) as well as the driving force behind the global Sparks Fly Initiative (2011-present). Currently Luke is working on water projects in both The Gambia & Kenya. This is his first trip to Africa!

The Love4Gambia On Wheels team will also be accompanied by a support team from the NSGA Gambia office – many thanks in advance for all of the prep work they have been providing! You’ll get a chance to know them as well during our daily updates on the road.




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Train With Us! A Love4Gambia Fundraiser


Luke, John and Joanne are leaving for the Love4Gambia ride on Tuesday, March 28. They’ve been gearing up for months, but would love you to join them for one last training session fundraiser before they go!

How to join in:
Cyclone Group Fitness is running a spin class for the team, and all proceeds will go towards their fundraising goal. There are 21 spin class seats available – to register please contact Joanne: joanne.langley [at] dal.ca. Tickets for the class are $20, and payable by cash on the night of the event.

What to bring:
– appropriate workout clothing
– a water bottle

This fundraiser wouldn’t be possible without the kind folks at Cyclone Group Fitness who have generously offered to host one of their Karma rides at their space. Check their Facebook page to learn more about their classes!

Check out the rest of our site if you’d like to learn more about the Love4Gambia On Wheels, and/or can’t attend this event but would still like to support them.

Ride on!


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