Travelling cyclists proud to traverse 'paradise on earth'
An international group of eight bike riders - "The Social Cycles" - have spent the last month circumnavigating the country on a bicycle.
The two-wheelers completed a full lap of Savai'i over five days. They stayed at Lano, Manase, Falealupo, Satuiatua and Florence's homestay. They then spent some time on the south coast of Upolu, at Matareva where they visited To Sua trench.
Head cyclist, Brett Seychell, said listening to the sound of the waves coming into shore and overlooking the sunset and sunrise was an experience like no other.
“Samoa is a very welcoming and friendly place. The country itself is very beautiful. Some of the best experiences is sleeping in the traditional fales near the beach,” Mr. Seychell said.
“It is the simplicity and rustic nature of traditions that really make the experience. If this were replaced with fancy hotels, then it would lose its difference to many other pacific countries.”
The riders said the trip represented so much more than just a holiday but an adventure. Mr. Seychell went so far to describe Samoa as paradise on earth.
“I have travelled the world extensively and am yet to come across a country or even an area with more natural beauty but there is so much more depth than white sands, crystal blue waters and swaying palms,” he said.
“It is the lifestyle of the people that make it so interesting to us. It's learning what it is like to live in a place where you're forced to grow your own fruits and vegetables, due to the high [and] unrealistic price of fresh food imports.”
Social Cycles has been coming to Samoa for two years now and they’re hopeful to increase their tours in the future.
As a core part of their values, Social Cycles hosts cycle adventures in select and interesting parts of the planet. Our other rides are in Vietnam, Iran, Cambodia, Colombia, Mongolia and Laos.
The purpose for their cycling is to learn about local issues and culture and connect with local organisations making a difference to their communities.
“If there is an opportunity to assist financially, then the riders often contribute, once they have had a chance to learn about the programmes,” Mr. Seychell said.
During their trip to Samoa, Social Cycle proudly connected with activist group Brown Girl Woke to learn about grass root female empowerment programmes. The tour was designed to be physically challenging but also an emotional test.
The group brought travellers with an open mind and curiosity about new experiences.
In Samoa, they connected with Brown Girl Woke; a Plastic Pollution Prevention program happening in an Apia cafe; and with local agricultural families via Women In Business to learn about cocoa and coconut production's contribution to the economy.
“It is being able to witness firsthand effects of climate change and speak to local people about the difference it is making to their day to day lives, and learn about what programs are in place to tackle these global challenges,” Mr. Seychell said.
“When we come to places like Samoa, we like to learn more about the culture and community by connecting with local non profit, social impact organisations. This gives us an opportunity to learn about community and how it works together.”