Two women conquer Mount Kilimanjaro by bike: a triumph of determination

We introduce you to the first women's team to have climbed and descended Kilimanjaro by bike, also funding social projects

Nadia Vásquez and Helene Manche achieved an extraordinary feat atop their bicycles: on February 25, 2022, they ascended and descended Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain standing at 19,341 feet. Their accomplishment signifies not only a sporting victory but also a powerful message of female empowerment and determination.

A journey of dedication

Nadia Vásquez, hailing from Chile but residing in Oxford, and Helene Manche, a Frenchwoman living in Chile, exemplified that with dedication and preparation, nothing is impossible. Setting off from Santiago del Cile on February 17, they embarked on a two-day journey to the northwest of Tanzania to reach the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. With meticulous planning and five months of intense physical preparation, these two women faced immense challenges, both physical and logistical.

Conquering challenges with Big Mountain Biking

They chose Big Mountain Biking, a discipline combining mountaineering with cycling, for this endeavor. During the ascent, they alternated between walking and cycling, carrying their bikes on their shoulders when the terrain became too steep. The descent, on the other hand, was entirely on bicycles, a test of endurance and technical skill. Vásquez and Manche aimed to prove that even non-professional women can achieve extraordinary goals.

A socially impactful feat

The feat of these two athletes also had a significant social impact. Throughout their journey, they collaborated with the NGO ABC Impact, which advocates for the use of bicycles to improve access to education in local communities.

Thanks to this support, they donated 1,596 bicycle accessories and spare parts, contributing to a low-income workshop in Tanzania and funding the project to facilitate girls’ school transportation.

Despite encountering difficulties such as adverse weather conditions and some health issues, their indomitable spirit propelled them to overcome every obstacle. Nadia Vásquez articulated their message: two ordinary women, neither of whom was a high-level athlete, can pursue any goal.

The joy they felt upon reaching the summit was immense, after months of anticipation and preparation, proud to be the first female team to accomplish this feat. Through this athletic achievement, they aimed to demonstrate that nothing is impossible.

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