(below is the press release that was sent to Singapore Newspaper)

WALVIS BAY, NAMIBIA –Sean de Luna, former National Golfer and South East Asian Games Silver Medalist, will embark on a cycling odyssey of 2,000km from Windhoek, Namibia to Lusaka, Zambia. The objectives of his southern African bicycle safari are to (1) conduct an African cycling ethnography, and (2) be the first Singaporean to pedal Southern Africa—unsupported.

De Luna’s trip will begin in Windhoek, Namibia, head north into the Caprivi Strip Game Reserve, cross into Botswana’s Chobe National Park, and then cool off at Victoria Falls Livingstone, Zambia before heading north to Lusaka, Zambia. During his journey, he will conduct ethnographic research by interviewing and photographing locals to learn how they use their bicycles. At night, he will camp in either the African bush, exposed to the abundant wildlife or in campsites, where the hot showers will be a welcome comfort. The two-wheel, manual-powered, adventure will begin on May 30 and will take approximately 20 days.

De Luna will be the first Singaporean to undertake the 2000km trip solo. “I know my NS training will come in handy,” elaborates Sean. “I want to show that Singaporeans can do extreme endurance adventures, too. We’ve already been up to Everest. So why not pedal Southern Africa and conquer the elements? I’ll freeze my butt off at night in the desert and sweat during the day…and if you’re interested in learning about how a Singaporean fares with the flora and fauna, stay tuned…”

De Luna’s trip has been almost entirely equipped with the generic bike parts and camping gear available to Africans. The bicycle is a used, rickety, Chinese machine very different from the high performance Trek, Gary Fisher, or Specialized brands mountain bikers are accustomed to. The luggage/panniers are backpacks rigged to fit on a rear bike rack. Accessories are attached to the bike via rubber, tape, or string. In fact, the only high-tech equipment he carries is a digital video camera, cellphone, GPS, and the moisture-management race jersey donated by a Chicago-based bike shop that is helping to sponsor the trip.

“In using a local bicycle and accessories (products typically available to Africans) I must improvise on and off the bike; it helps me appreciate the creativity and resourcefulness of the African people who use the bicycle as a primary mode of transport and as a tool that’s key to their livelihood,” said de Luna. “It makes my interviewing easier, and besides, it’s not all about the bike…it’s about those who ride it.”

World media has been focused on Namibia as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt expect their baby in the desert country. Tourism and interest into Namibia has skyrocketed, but for Sean, it has had a reverse effect. “This trip will be a welcome escape from the Hollywood celebrity fuss I’ve seen,” chuckles Sean. “With a level head and some luck, I hope to be finishing this adventure safely with my own blockbusters to tell my grandkids when they start riding their bikes.

Stay tuned for your own hometown Singaporean box-office hit.


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