Braking in Albania
This Friday (27 March) sees the start of a ground-breaking cycle ride to raise funds for BMS World Mission, from the north to the south of Albania, a distance of some 400 miles in one week, through some of the most beautiful but challenging terrain the country has to offer.
Five men – Gary Anderson, Tim Brook, Mike Low, Graham McBain and Idlir Proseku – have been preparing for months for the gruelling trip that lies ahead of them.
On one practice run, Graham said, “We set off valiantly, battling against the rain. Our home stop: the George W Bush café in Fushe Kruje. Whilst on the road to Durres, a misreading of a sign took us out to some tiny villages, Rrushkull and Jube. There we met Vladimir who agreed to lead us back to the Durres road.
“We crossed the most amazing suspension bridge and amazed the villagers who thought we were crazy. After that 90-minute unnecessary detour we got down to Durres. Saddle-sore and worn out, we got a coach back to Tirana. We were so muddy the driver made us sit on newspaper.”
And why are they doing this? They say, “We were inspired after watching a DVD of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s ‘Long way round’ motorbike trip.
“At the end of their trip they commented that they hoped it would inspire people to face challenges and adventure – to do the impossible. The thing is their challenge seemed a little empty.
“They were just doing it for fun plus they had huge financial, technical and physical support behind them. If we were going to take on an adventure, it must be for a reason other than personal pleasure.
“So, apart from being able to enjoy the Albanian scenery from the back of the greatest form of transport, we want to raise awareness for the important work BMS World Mission is doing both in Albania and around the world.”
Albanians drive fast and without much consideration for others. Cyclists and pedestrians are often injured in accidents resulting from dangerous driving. Many of the roads are dangerous, still riddled with potholes and broken tarmac.
The team ask, “We’d like people to pray for our safety, health and fitness as we travel through Albania; also for our families back at home.”