Mel Bendon will undertake the original trans-continental journey and f…
is how the Tour d’Afrique website describes its legendary Cairo to Cape Town cycle challenge.
It is a challenge that could have been invented for Mel Bendon, who sets out from the Giza Pyramids on 16 January 2020 to begin an epic 11,025 km journey through the historic landscapes of ten countries to arrive, on 9 May 2020, at South Africa’s beautiful Table Mountain.
But Mel’s Cycle has yet another wonderful dimension to it. From a chance meeting at Dublin Airport with John and Mary Coyne came his crucial decision to choose Wells for Zoë as the beneficiary of his endeavour.
‘I was very impressed’, says Mel, ‘all the more so when I visited the farm and factory near Mzuzu, Malawi. They are doing phenomenal work.’
Mel knows all about phenomenal work, thanks to a career begun as a young deckhand fishing out of Union Hall and later Hull. He went on to co-found Glenmar Shellfish and build it from the ground into an award-winning and innovative international export enterprise. Now, having decided to step down as CEO after 40 years, Mel ‘needed something to focus on while I deal with the separation.’
Preparations include gruelling 70 km cycles between home in Kinsale and his old ‘fishing grounds’ in Glandore and Union Hall, as well as fund-raising, publicity, and lots of research.
But it is all very exciting. ‘I can’t wait to get going,’ Mel says. ‘I am paying the total cost of the expedition from my own resources. Now I am fully committed to raising as much money as I possibly can for this marvellous project.’
This page will be updated with a series of blog posts before, throughout, and following the adventure, to let you know how things are progressing so stay tuned!
Best of luck Mel.