Local Fire Fighter bikes through The Gambia for better health care

25th July 2015

Local Fire Fighter bikes through The Gambia for better health care

As featured in our September issue of Palmers Green and Southgate LIFE magazine

Local Palmers Green Fire Fighter, Stavros Marangos is swapping his fire engine for a motorcycle and embarking on an epic adventure across The Gambia in aid of Northamptonshire charity, Riders for Health.

Stavros, who lives in Palmers Green, will be joining a team of keen motorcyclists on an eight-day ride through the West African country as part of Riders for Health’s Experience Africa expedition.

The trip will take them from the bustling coast to the beautiful East of the country along the banks of the river Gambia and will give Stavros and the team the chance to see the work of Riders for Health first hand.

Riders for Health manage and maintain motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles for health workers in seven countries across Africa. They train health workers how to ride and look after their bikes so that they can reach even the most remote communities reliably and on time. In The Gambia, Riders for Health manage the country’s entire fleet of health care vehicles, making it the first country in Africa to have universal health coverage. This means every single person in The Gambia has access to health care, perhaps for the first time.

During the ride Stavros and the team will join health workers on their often difficult off-road journey to remote communities, and see the real impact a simple motorbike can have on the delivery of health care.

This isn’t the first time Stavros has gone the extra mile for charity, having previously run marathons, jumped out of planes and even crewed a square rigger, as well as taking part in an Experience Africa expedition to Zambia in 2012. He says:

“This latest escapade involves one of my biggest passions – motorbikes.  I have five of them!

From the age of six, I’ve wanted a motorbike, I got my first bike 29 years ago, I was in HEAVEN and have not been without a bike since.

In 1994 I rode to my ancestral home land, Greece, covering 2831 miles in 5 weeks, on a 1000cc sports bike, which was totally unsuitable for touring, but it was an exhilarating trip.

I’ve rented a Harley in the USA on three different occasions, and even ridden an Indian made Royal Enfield, in the foot hills of the Himalaya’s, probably the scariest experience of my life!

The Riders for Health trips are particularly appealing, as a lot of the riding is off-road, a new experience for me, prior to my Zambia trip in 2012, I had to have off-road riding tuition, which put a huge grin on my face.  The Zambia trip was 1000 kilometres, approx 50% of which was off-road, from the capital Lusaka, to Livingstone.  Learning to ride on loose surfaces definitely improves ones road riding skills.Another big plus of the Riders trips, is that it combines my passion of riding, my thirst for adventure and improving the lives of people who are so deserving of the services Riders provides.”

Riders for Health have been running their Experience Africa expeditions since 2012 and in the past have been joined by some of the biggest stars of motorsport, including Spanish MotoGP rider Alvaro Bautista, and former MotoGP legend Randy Mamola who helped to found the charity.  The trip is run entirely by the charity, and offers a unique insight into their work.

The money raised from this expedition will help Riders for Health ensure that they can continue to transform health care for 14 million people across Africa.

You can donate via:  http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StaMar

For more information about Riders for Health visit www.riders.org or to find out more about Experience Africa visit http://www.riders-experience.org/

 

For more information about Riders for Health contact Emily Meikle – emeikle@riders.org