Friday, 17 April 2015 01:06
11 April: Kataragama-Arugam Bay (138 km)
Cyclist update – Day 3: “After another early start to our day, we left Kataragama and cycled along the southern coast to Arugam Bay. This stretch was definitely one of the most picturesque parts of our ride to date. We cycled through lush green coastal terrain and through elephant territory. Our hard work was rewarded with some of the best downhill stretches in Sri Lanka, some of which we took on at the thrilling speed of 65 mph. We’re really starting to experience the thrill of road cycling, and it’s truly bringing out the child in us.”
12 April: Arugam Bay-Passikudah (162 km)
Cyclist update – Day 4: “Cycling along Sri Lanka’s breathtaking east coast has been truly memorable, and as we rode past the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean, the only relief we had from the scorching heat was the occasional sea breeze. En route to Passikudah, we made a stop in Batticaloa, for a cerebral palsy awareness camp. The ‘Around the Pearl’ team conducted a special counselling and guidance session for over 200 parents who have children who are affected by the disorder. At the camp, we could not believe the sheer number of people who turned up to receive advice and guidance, cerebral palsy truly does affect so many children and families across the island. Aside from sharing information and advice, we were also able to donate 200 wheelchairs to families in need. The smiles on the faces of the children and their parents really made our day. A simple wheelchair can bring so much mobility, freedom and hope to a child suffering from cerebral palsy, and it can give them the chance to enjoy a greater quality of life. This camp gave us a strong motivational boost and we will continue our ride tomorrow with a renewed sense of purpose.”
13 April: Passikudah-Trincomalee (172 km)
Cyclist update – Day 5: “As we cycle onwards, the heat and pain are slowly starting to take their toll on us. When you’ve been cycling for five days in a row, you learn a lot about your body. If you develop pain in the front of your knee, you learn to your saddle slightly until the pain eases; check out our Facebook page (Around the Pearl) for more tips on how to handle pain when cycling long distances. Remember, before a long ride, you should always make sure that you’re fit, health and in good shape. When cycling you should never rush and you should always be aware of your body and any aches or pains that are developing. In the event that you feel a nagging pain, stop and seek medical assistance immediately, it never helps to keep cycling with an injury.”
14 April: Trincomalee-Mullaitivu (134 km)
Cyclist update – Day 6: “After a beautiful sunrise in Trincomalee, we started our ride with much excitement due to the New Year ahead of us. The hotel staff and passers-by wished us well and cheered us on as we set off on yet another challenging stretch of our journey. Trincomalee is a place of sacred and historical importance to many Sri Lankans. Aside from its vast stretches of white beaches, Trincomalee is also home to a series of attractions such as the hot springs of Kanniya, the ruins of Fort Frederick, Koneswaram Temple and Swarmi Rock. Due to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, the roads to Mullaitivu were extremely quiet as most people were indoors with their families and friends. As we cycled, we actually started to enjoy the comfort of our five-inch bicycle seats and we also appreciated the tranquility that surrounded us, giving us the chance for a few moments of quiet reflection.”
15 April: Mullaitivu-Jaffna (112 km)
Cyclist update – Day 7: “After another early start, we travelled to Jaffna, on one of the toughest stretches of our journey to date. After hours in the hot sun, we finally reached Jaffna, which was bustling with commercial activity and energy. Jaffna has always been a thriving mercantile centre and has supported various industries including fishing, manufacturing and trading. Post-war Jaffna is developing rapidly and increased connectivity to Colombo and the rest of the country is boosting trade and growing the city into a vibrant and commercial epicentre. Throughout our ride, it has been wonderful to take in the rich cultural sights and sounds of the country and our journey has helped us to appreciate the beauty and diversity of our home, as well as the warmth and hospitality of our fellow Sri Lankans.”
Day 8 ‘Around the Pearl’
16thApril 2015: Jaffna - Mannar(115 km)
Cyclist Update – Day Eight: “Our epic journey around Sri Lanka has almost come to an end. At this point, we are all emotionally and physically exhausted and drained. The hot and dry weather conditions in Jaffna and Mannar don’t make our ride any easier. The last few dayshave tested our will and determination. Every time we feel like giving up, we try and focus on the children who we are raising funds for. Children suffering from cerebral palsy live with limited mobility and freedom, and the funds raised from this journey will help them enjoy a more fulfilling life – it is this single thought that keeps us going through the most challenging of moments.”
Around the Pearl
Around the Pearl (ATP) is an initiative by ‘Wheels for Wheels’ which is conducted in partnership with the Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation (CPLF) and WrooM – a project that promotes cycling as an alternative mode of transport and increases awareness of public road safety rules. ATP is taking place for the second consecutive year, and this time 20 cyclists are participating in the initiative. All the proceeds raised from the initiative will be donated to the Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the term used for a group of non-progressive disorders of movement and posture caused by the abnormal development of, or damage to, motor control centres of the brain. CP is a common physical disability that affects many children and is caused by events before, during, or after birth. In Sri Lanka, CP remains a significant health problem and many parents are unable to provide adequate care for children with CP.
Last year, the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative raised funds for 1,000 wheelchairs, and throughout this year’s journey, some of these wheelchairs will be donated to children in need across the country. In Galle, Batticaloa and Colombo, the cyclists will also conduct special camps to raise awareness about cerebral palsy, they will also conduct WrooM cycling and road safety sessions for members of the local community. To follow the journey and pledge your support, log onto www.aroundthepearl.lk.