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Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

A helping hand for Helping Paws

By Neil Cottam
12, May, 2018

Neil Cottam fills us in on his latest biking adventure: a Sri Lankan traverse with a twist, all for a good cause!

A few months back my friend Phil Evans came up with the hare-brained idea that it might be good to do something hare-brained to raise some money for the Helping Paws neuter and vaccination project in Tangalle, Sri Lanka.

Phil, as you may or may not know, doesn't do things by halves (he invented Yak Attack for starters).

During our extensive travels in Nepal and Sri Lanka we came across a huge number of street dogs, most of which are in very neglected states. Helping Paws Worldwide was founded to try to do something to help alleviate their suffering and to educate the locals.

"So, what is this hare-brained scheme?" I hear you cry.

Well... hmm... Phil thought it would be a good idea to ride the whole length of Sri Lanka. 

"That's not such a big deal" I hear you cry once more.

But that's only part of the story... He also thought it would be a good idea to do it on "local" singlespeed bicycles.

If you're not familiar with Asian singlespeed bicycles, allow me to enlighten you... Asian singlespeed bicycles are the go-to choice of transportation for anyone who can't afford a motorcycle, which is most people. They are made exclusively out of steel and are extremely heavy, have terribly inefficient rod brakes, and look like something the postman used to ride in the 1940's.

There's more...

To encourage people to donate Phil came up with another little edge. He figured out that a reasonable budget for the whole thing would be around £500. This includes travelling the 400 km from the capital - Colombo - to Jaffna (close to our start point in Point Pedro), buying said bicycle, then cycling 800 km to Tangalle on whatever was left in the pot for food and accommodation. He is allowing seven days to complete the ride.

Here comes the little edge... 

For every pound donated Phil knocked a pound off the budget, up to a maximum of £350. This means that we have to do the whole enchilada on a budget of £150 each (we are funding this out of our own pockets, not donations).

Think about that for a moment.

  • One bus ticket from Colombo to Jaffna (400 km).

  • The purchase of a local bicycle.

  • Food and accommodation for seven days/nights.

All on a budget of £150.

I have a feeling that we are going to be very hungry, fixing a lot of punctures, and sleeping in the bushes for most of the time.

We will be undertaking this from the 19th May 2018.

The neuter and vaccination program will take place on 23rd/24th June 2018. For anyone wishing to donate, you can do so using the link below (thanks in advance).


As usual I will be relying heavily on my Alpkit collection during the trip including bikepacking luggage, Faro shorts, Kepler merino items, my Griffon hoody (if I remember to pack it this time), Gravitas and Parallax waterproofs, Momentum and Velocity socks, a Mantua silk liner to keep off the fleas, and plenty of other bits and pieces.

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