Photo: Blind Kenyan rider Douglas Sidialo (left) and his tandem riding partner John Kikiru will be back to take on their second KAP sani2c Adventure from 9-11 May. Credit:ave Macleod/Gameplan Media.
Twenty years after he lost his eyesight in the Nairobi US Embassy bombing, Kenyan adventure sport junkie Douglas Sidialo will take part in the three day KAP sani2c mountain biking race on a tandem, aiming to use the anniversary of the incident that changed his life to positively influence as many people as he can during his cycle from Himeville to Scottburgh.
The 1998 blast cost Sidialo his sight, but jolted him onto a new course in his life, taking on cycling and trekking challenges to inspire and foster hope in the African continent, and he says he is passionate about addressing some of the social issues confronting South Africans today.
“This year's KAP sani2c will mark the 20th anniversary of the US Embassy bombing that left me blind and many innocent Kenyan by-standers lost their lives, and others were maimed and the lives of others changed forever.
“The sani2c is a remarkable and exciting adventure bike race,” says Sidialo. “The degree of camaraderie, friendship and love for humanity truly refreshes my heart and mind.
“My country Kenya and South Africa share many common challenges, with tribalism and xenophobia. I want people to learn that unity of purpose is your strength and your strength is your unity. We must embrace each other and deal with our challenges together," says Sidialo.
Sidialo continues to win admirers for his many feats, including cycling on a tandem the length of the African continent from Cairo to Cape Town over 95 days, and becoming the first blind African to climb the Uhuru Peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“I want to inspire hope and excite the world. I want to demonstrate the power of human spirit,” he adds. “In order to succeed you must first believe you can.”
Sidialo rides with his tandem partner John Kikiru, who takes charge of steering their tandem through the 261 kilometres of the three-stage sani2c route. He says their greatest challenge came during the 2015 Old Mutual joberg2c stage race, after they crashed on the legendary descent into the Umkomaas Valley on the penultimate stage of the race.
“It was a terrible crash and almost cost us our race as John broke his collar bone,” recalls Sidialo. “We carried on with the help of some of the other riders around us.
“A great South African friend Darryl Gove helped us to finish and sang his heart out like a Zulu warrior. When we got to the finish in Scottburgh we were greeted with lots of celebration and cheers and the crowd sang a Kenyan signature song ‘Harambe harambe harambe’”, he recalls.
Sidialo knows how tough the race can be, but says his training at home has been hampered by severe rains in Kenya.
“The weather in Kenya has been the worst with lots of rain and training on the dirt roads and district roads has been very minimal because of all the mud and lots of rain,” said Sidialo. “My preparation and training has progressed well with more concentration going into my training at the Impala Club Gym."
"The climbs are tough, especially the Iconic climb, which is no mean achievement," he adds.
His goals for his return to do his second sani2c are simple. “I want to complete the race in one piece!” he laughs.
“At the same time I want to reach out and make more business friends and comrades who can believe in the Douglas vision,” he concluded.