Iona gears up for second leg of world cycle

Iona reaching Venice at the end of her European leg of the trip
Iona reaching Venice at the end of her European leg of the trip

A Garioch woman is preparing to take off on the second leg of her two-year cycling challenge for charity.

Musician and novice cyclist, Iona Hassan, who grew up in Insch and is a former student of Inverurie Academy, will set off on an epic journey from Nairobi, Kenya to Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday, February 20.

The 4,000-mile journey will see Iona and her new cycling buddy Anna Kitlar, from Germany, cycle through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa, arriving in Cape Town in April.

Averaging around 100km per day, the pair will be camping on route and popping into villages to meet local people and experience different cultures.

Iona is raising money for a small UK based charity called ‘Inspire Malawi’ to help build a classroom for the children in rural Malawi in an area she visited last year.

She is also raising money for ‘Networks of Wellbeing’ a mental health charity based in Huntly, where Iona grew up.

Iona said: “I have been busy getting my new bike ready for the trip and popping in to see my friends at the local bike shop, Pewsey Velo in Wiltshire, whenever I have spare time to get the set up right and figure out the best way of getting across Africa with the minimum kit possible.

“We will be bikepacking as opposed to touring with full panniers which means space is pretty limited and no space for any luxuries at all, even the toothbrush is being cut in half!

‘There is a severe drought in Cape Town at the moment and we are due to arrive there just as Day Zero – the day they turn the taps off – approaches.

“We have planned as best we can and are ready for the adventure.”

The duo will be camping in a little village called Moshi near the base of Kilimanjaro quite early in the trip.

Iona added: “I’d like to thank everyone for their support, encouragement and generous donations which really spurs me on.

“My most heartfelt thanks to my incredible sponsors Pewsey Velo and also my newest supporters Altura.”

To sponsor the next leg of Iona’s challenge email or visit