Pump up your wheels and get ready for the annual Fly540 10to4 Mount Kenya bike race set to take place on 12th to 14th February 2016. The event that takes place on the outskirts of Nanyuki town includes the highlight of an exhilarating descend from 10,000ft through dense indigenous forest en route to the rolling lowlands of Borana Conservancy. Mountain bikers will enjoy sightings of wildlife along the way which is bound to add to the excitement.
The 10to4 is a fundraising event organised by Mount Kenya Trust – a non-profit company – which works in partnership with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to protect the Mount Kenya Forest. Vast bamboo and moorlands host incredible biodiversity including endangered species listed under the IUCN such as African elephant, leopard, giant forest hog, mountain bongo and Harvey’s Duiker, along with 81 endemic species of plants. Mount Kenya Forest is continuously under pressure, where indigenous tree logging, overgrazing, charcoal extraction, forest fires and marijuana production is rife and where cases of wildlife poaching and the bush meat trade are on the rise.
Proceeds from this event will help to support mobile anti-poaching rangers, known as the Joint Wildlife Patrol Team, who respond to illegal activities. Also supported are a 5-man mountain horse patrol team, the first of its kind on Mount Kenya, who patrol the northern side of the Reserve, along with security and fencing teams working tirelessly all year round to fix damaged elephant fences.
Since 2010, the Trust maintains an elephant corridor that reconnects a historical and almost lost migration pathway between the habitats of Mount Kenya, The Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve, Lewa Conservancy and the northern rangelands of Laikipia and Samburu.
Over 350,000 trees have been planted by the Trust so far in areas of degraded forestland in partnership with the KFS Plantation Establishment Livelihood Improvement System (PELIS). This in turn supports women engaged in tree seedling nurseries businesses, environmental education in schools and health programmes. Fire fighting efforts are also funded by the race.
Conserve & protect
Preservation of the forest is critical not just to wildlife but also for the millions of Kenyans who depend on water from the Tana (Kenya’s longest and largest river) and Ewaso Ng’iro river basins. The rivers running off the mountain link the wetter highlands with the drier lowlands – either directly as river water or indirectly through refreshing ground water supplies. Runoff from Mount Kenya supplies almost 50 per cent of Kenya’s river drainage systems along with over 65 per cent hydropower.
Registration for the 10to4 is now open, and will close on 31st January. Log on to www.10to4.org for more details or search for the Mount Kenya10to4 Mountain Bike Challenge on FaceBook.