Every day for the next four months, David Crane ’13 will rise early, eat a modest breakfast of porridge and bike 75 miles a day over unpredictable terrain in Africa to help raise money for environmental awareness.
Crane is participating in the Tour D’Afrique, one of the longest bike races on Earth. Alongside approximately 30 other bikers, Crane will cover 7,266 miles through nine countries during the course of his trip.
For every mile that he rides, Crane has pledged ten dollars to Conservation International (CI), a non-profit organization that seeks to protect natural resources in 18 African countries. If Crane completes the Tour D’Afrique, he will have raised $72,657 for CI.
“There are a lot of issues in the world and a lot of causes I could have chosen to ride for. The reason I chose Conservation International is because I love their approach of working with people to help nature. CI works with governments, companies and individual communities to help them live more sustainably and make the most of their natural assets,” said Crane.
Although each day will involve different terrain and road conditions, Crane will bike an average of 125 km, or 75 miles, per day. Due to the length and unpredictability of the terrain, all bikers train rigorously for the event. Crane began training in October and has biked on as many road conditions as his circumstances have allowed in preparation for the variable terrain of the race.
“There’s a pretty broad group of people riding [in the Tour D’Afrique]. There are several semi-professional bikers who are going to be trying to win it. There are people who aren’t bikers, but are relatively fit and will push themselves,” said Crane. “Then there are also a lot of older people who will be taking it slow and steady and are doing it for the cultural experience mostly.”
“When I decided to take time off before college, I wanted to do something unique and challenging but I also wanted to take full advantage of having 15 months in a row with relatively little commitments. When else in my life will I be able to take four months off to bike across Africa?” he continued.
On the Tour, Crane and the other bikers will wake up early to pack their tents and bike until midday. After stopping for sandwiches at lunchtime, they will continue pedaling for the remainder of the day, stopping only once they reach their campsite for the evening in time for the sunset.
Crane is currently on a gap year and will attend Princeton University in the fall.
“I’m excited. Really nervous, but definitely looking forward to starting on Friday… After four hard years of high school, and with another four demanding years of college coming up, this gap year is exactly the change I needed,” said Crane.