‘Just one more bike ride!’ This is something many of this year’s India Bike Ride team had said before. They had already cycled the miles and travelled the distance but, they had one more trip they needed to make. This time it was to honour their much-loved team members, Liz Kennedy and Bob Littledale, who had sadly passed away in 2015. And so back on their bikes they jumped to take a final tour in memory of their fellow Lepra cyclists.

Memorial bike ride in India

Setting off on the 24th of January riding right through until the 3rd of February 2016, Sandra, Jane, Belinda, Celia, Nicky, Graham, Jenny, Miranda, David and Howard cycled around Madhya Pradesh. This is one of the seven regions in India where Lepra is active.

Here, we share their journey...

India memorial bike ride 2016

They cycled through dry forests, plains of wheat and through the villages, meeting warm and colourful people everywhere!

India memorial bike ride 2016

Sometimes they had to go uphill…

India memorial bike ride 2016

But luckily downhill too!

India memorial bike ride 2016

And of course there was time for some well-deserved rest.

India memorial bike ride 2016

The Lepra team was on a mission to spread awareness of leprosy and other neglected diseases as they went. They visited a school and the St. Joseph Leprosy Centre. This is a centre where people can go for reconstructive surgery and physiotherapy. They also witnessed the community health volunteers at work, joined in marches on Leprosy Awareness Day, and handed out flyers. This last activity is one that Celia could do even while on her bike.

India memorial bike ride 2016

There is no doubt the trip was a successful and memorable journey for all involved. In Graham’s own words:

"This was my first Lepra ride and I will never be the same again. The kindness and comradeship within the team and supporters was only surpassed by the welcome we received from everyone we met, in hospitals, colonies, streets and fields.

A highlight on the trip was when a passer-by saw our T-shirts and van slogans and took up the courage to show us the patches on his body and arms. The doctor diagnosed leprosy there and then, and the man was told what to do and where to go for treatment. A life of misery was avoided and in an instant our whole trip was justified."

Many thanks to our brave pedalers, the wonderful crew who provided delicious food made from fresh ingredients every day and all those who supported India Bike Ride 2016!

India memorial bike ride 2016