Nigerian biker fights polio with 7,500-mile ride

STORY: Biker Kunle Adeyanju has just spent nearly six weeks on the road - a nearly-7,500 mile odyssey from London to Lagos.

But this wasn't just thrill-seeking.

His journey was to raise funds for Rotary International in the fight against polio.

"The reception everywhere I went to was really mind-blowing and the welcoming was really great."

Only 14 out of 41-days were actually spent on the road.

Adeyanju, who as a child had a friend with polio, spent the rest of his time meeting with NGOs and locals.

‘’I chose to spread that message, you know, so that we can increase the level of awareness and we can make people to understand the vaccine is safe and people can take the vaccine, so that we don’t have that issue where we are having polio resurgence in Africa. So for me it is a personal fight.’’

The ride took him through 13 countries, ranging from zero-degree temperatures and icy surfaces in Europe, to the sands of the Sahara.

‘’If the heat doesn’t try to kill you, the wind will try to kill you…the strong wind of the desert will try to kill you. If the strong wind doesn’t try to, the sand, as brittle as the sharpness of the sand, strong blowing sand, will try to kill you. Even on the road it tries to take you off the bike. So every time you ride on the Sahara, every minute is risky, it is tough.’’

Polio is a viral infection that attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours.

Children under five are the most vulnerable - but people can be fully protected with vaccines.

In 2020, the World Health Organization confirmed that Nigeria was free from wild polio.

However, there are still incidents circulating of vaccine-derived poliovirus and earlier this year imported cases of wild polio were discovered in southern Africa.

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