After riding her bicycle 12

Retired Trail doctor shares her incredible journey

Retired Dr. Brenda Trenholme cycled 12,000 kilometres in a four-month journey from Cairo to Cape Town.

Months after hanging up her stethoscope, a well known Trail doctor was pedalling across the African continent in a trip of a lifetime.

Retired Dr. Brenda Trenholme cycled 12,000 kilometres in a four-month journey from Cairo to Cape Town with a Canadian tour company and a core group of 18 international bicyclists.

This week, Brenda is sharing her trip and captivating photos in two events at the Warfield Community Hall. The first is slated for Wednesday (Nov. 16) at 1 p.m. and the second on Sunday at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation, the sessions are a fundraiser for KEEF (Kenya Education Endowment Fund), a charity that funds Kenyan students through high school, and a cause Trenholme has long supported.

“I do a lot of cycle touring and have done for some years both home and abroad,” says Trenholme. “You don’t travel the same distances as in a car, train or bus, but I love cycling because you are actually interacting with the locals, the animals, the scenery I feel it just puts you right at the same level of what you are looking at, and you can see more than when you are walking.”

Before retirement, the doctor would pack up her gear and head out on her own for a few weeks, but self guidance wasn’t an option with something so ambitious as a tour through 10 African countries.

“It’s a continent I’ve been dying to visit, but travelling across vast tracks of dessert, you can’t carry enough water,” she explained. “And one of my good friends was afraid I’d take off on my bicycle alone and never been seen again, so he sent me a link to this Canadian tour company called Tour d’Afrique (TDA Global Cycling).”

Photo courtesy of Brenda Trenholme

Cycling mostly off road on dirt paths amongst the lions and other wildlife certainly presented challenges such as many popped tire tubes, bent rims and worn out brake cables.

The touring company kept bike mechanics close by, Trenholme chuckled that she likely replaced her entire bicycle during the course of the ride.

But it was the cultural differences in the Muslim nations, like the Republic of Sudan, that posed the most peril, especially for women who were in bicycle shorts and not the traditional hijab.

So how did she bicycle safely across a country legally ruled by Islamic Law?

“Women do not wear pants in the Sudan,” she said. “It’s a highly militaristic regime, we had about 20 police surround our little group the entire way and everyone was highly surveyed,” she added. “We were kept under close tabs, you couldn’t take photographs it is a very harsh regime but the people were probably the softest, nicest people we met.”

Tour d’Afrique organized the logistics of safety and security, which included a full military escort throughout Egypt as well as full police escorts into every major city.

On top of riding an average 120 km each day with temperatures ranging from zero to 46 degrees, the tour strategically planned two or three day stops at month end so the cyclists could visit local attractions.

Ethiopia

Trenholme went on a three-day safari through the Serengeti and took in a natural phenomena, Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall located on the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“I retired in December and was planning on going to Kenya in January to work for KEEF,” she said. “Then I saw this ride and was planning it as a fundraiser for KEEF. But I went so quickly after I found about it, basically I was scrambling to get ready and left a few weeks later, so I didn’t have time to fundraise.”

The charity is Canadian-based with 100 per cent of proceeds given to Kenyan children to complete high school ($600 a year supports the students’ education, medical costs as well as room and board).

“Teachers refer their brightest kids to this program who can’t afford to carry on in high school they are impoverished kids, mostly orphans, and by supporting them through high school, most get a full scholarship for university,” Trenholme added. “I have former students and one in university, so it’s a really worthwhile cause.”

Admission is by donation and tax receipts are available.

Just Posted

South Okanagan-Kootenay MP calls federal budget ‘not bold enough’

Richard Cannings, MP for South OK and Kootenay communities says budget missed the mark

Parmedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Update: Car located in Pend d’Oreille River, teenagers remain missing

A fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale to help support the family

Spring has sprung in the Kootenays

Showers and temperatures near the seasonal norm of 10 C are expected by Sunday

Two missing in Pend d’Oreille crash

A 15-year-old male and 18-year-old female both from Fruitvale are missing and presumed deceased

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

Most Read