Dubai resident sets sight on record-breaking 23,000km cycling journey

Paula Ralph plans to begin her ride at Cape Point in South Africa and reach Nordkapp, Norway in 82 days

By Adeena Siddiqui

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British expat Paula Ralph to attempt record-breaking ride in 82 days. Photos: Supplied
British expat Paula Ralph to attempt record-breaking ride in 82 days. Photos: Supplied

Published: Thu 25 Jan 2024, 12:48 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jan 2024, 6:09 PM

Dubai-based sports enthusiast Paula Ralph is gearing up to undertake the longest cycling journey ever attempted by a woman, expecting to set a new record for completion time. Ralph aims to cover 23,000 kilometres within 82 days.

The ambitious journey will begin at Cape Point in South Africa, where the British expat will embark on a challenging route spanning 19 countries. Her final destination is set to be Nordkapp, Norway.

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Ralph said she has been planning 'The Long Ride' for four years, driven by a personal challenge and a mission to inspire women to pursue their dreams. Beyond her aspirations, Ralph aims to raise awareness about mental health and underscore the importance of education for underprivileged children.

She underwent intensive physical training and mental preparation for her upcoming ride. She adopted a rigorous routine to combat the challenging Dubai summer heat, waking up at 3am and hitting the road by 4am to cover the necessary kilometres.

The expat acknowledges the support of Dubai's cycling community, describing them as a "lovable band of crazy people" who have played a crucial role in encouraging her to pursue her ambitious expedition.

Adapting to global circumstances, Ralph had to modify the planned route for the ride due to events like the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. Initially intending to travel from Cape Town, South Africa, to the Russian town of Magadan, escalating regional tensions prompted her to reconsider the route.

Ralph sought inspiration from fellow sportsman Jonas Deichmann, who successfully cycled from North Cape, Norway, to Cape Town, South Africa, in 2019.

She plans to share her journey on social media, inviting followers to witness her progress, experience the sights, and join in overcoming challenges. Beyond her cycling adventure, Paula aspires to establish a foundation for disadvantaged children to help them realise their potential. Currently collaborating with the Kwano Foundation in South Africa, she aims to model her foundation after Kwano, utilising cycling and education to empower kids and inspire them to take control of their lives.

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