<See Richard quoted in House of Commons Zimbabwe debate here (Hansard)
Fun Zim Ride
... a crazy charity cycle ride
through Zimbabwe ...
Richard Pantlin


Fun Zim Ride -
what it's all about ...
We've arrived!
Read Oxford Mail article online

The charity
[donate here]

Health, Education & Learning Programme (H.E.L.P. International – registered UK charity 1100438) is dedicated to providing health care and education for children throughout the world who are orphaned, destitute or disabled. The funds raised through Fun Zim Ride will go directly to HELP Zimbabwe which is a locally run and registered charity based near Masvingo. It is building an orphanage in Chatsworth where children can be cared for by resident house parents, and receive training and education. It also helps with the care of children in an orphanage in Bulawayo. The AIDS pandemic has left many children without parents or other adult carers. Many children are HIV positive themselves. Secondary age children are supported to attend the local school Makomba – motto “Striving for Excellence”:

The new orphanage is part built and materials to complete it are ready - awaiting just £12,000 in funding. When complete, the home will comprise the following:

  • Two identical buildings fenced off together
  • 5 children's bedrooms with two bunk beds each, allowing for 20 children
  • Piped water
  • Storage space
  • Roofed play area
For more details, see www.helpinternational.co.uk. A £50 donation will purchase two bunk beds and bedding. [donate here]

As part of the venture, Stoke-on-Trent College is making four bicycle ambulance trailers. These will be used to carry equipment on the ride with the help of two local policemen who will accompany us. When we have finished, they will be left behind to be used as bicycle ambulances or for other transport purposes given the lack of fuel for cars and vans.
The Fun

Yes, we intend to have some fun on the ride – with music, balloons and clowning about!! Richard Pantlin will be dressed as a crazy top-hat-and-tails clown with a red nose – here with co-rider and HELP Trustee, Zimbabwean Asher Mupasi.

We plan to have a couple of speakers on a trailer to inspire ourselves and amuse people when we stop. (They will run off solar power and an iPod.) That is likely to attract children to come and smile at the funny white man. We will hand out some balloons and where there is a need we plan to distribute any spare food. At orphanages and schools on the way we might do some clowning and simple magic tricks.

Honouring the spirit of African independence
Fun Zim Ride founder, Richard Pantlin, writes:

“Back in the late seventies and eighties, I actively supported the liberation movements of southern Africa. When Robert Mugabe came to England for the Lancaster House negotiations which resulted in majority rule and independence for Zimbabwe, he spoke in Oxford and I went to cheer him on. The second Chimurenga or “uprising” led to the election of Mr Mugabe as Prime Minister and he seemed to usher in a period of reconciliation.

"In 1987, I visited and found an open, friendly and hospitable people proud of their country. I brought back a postcard which, to me, represented why we had supported the liberation struggles.

 "It showed Zimbabweans going about their business with humanity, a bus representing public transport and a shop representing small-scale enterprise in the background. A baobab tree, goats and guinea-fowl showed connection to nature.

"In the last ten years President Mugabe and the “war vets” have completed a third Chimurenga. Like any war, it has been at great cost to the country. Now is the time for peace and reconciliation and rebuilding.

"I plan to take the postcard with me as a reminder of what we stood for. I was young and idealistic in the eighties. As I turn 50, I want to rekindle that spirit of idealism. At the end of the ride, I would like to present the postcard to President Mugabe in honour of what he used to stand for and for some people still does.

[back to top]
The inspiration
The ride & practicalities
Zim fun!!
(music, poems, updates ...)
Full letter to President Mugabe

to help us reach
the target of £3000

through my page at

Just Giving

For details of the supported charity, click
Help International

Thanks very much!

If you want to keep up to date with news or arrangements for the ride, join the Fun Zim Ride group at Facebook
In the News
Clown Ride
in Zimbabwe

(Oxford Mail)

Why cycling in Africa?

Cycling is a very efficient and cheap form of transport - perfectly suitable for a country with limited fuel supplies and already suffering the effects of climate change in a drier climate leading to poorer crop production.

It is also cheap and the technology is readily available.  Here in Zimbabwe you do see many people using bikes for transporting themselves and goods. 

It is certainly easier to avoid the potholes on a bike than in a car and also to use the dust roads.  We even found a bike shop in Bulawayo - though others have closed.

Some come on all you cyclists - get over to Zim for an unusual cycling experience. Not seen any bandits yet - only baboons - and they did not bite!!