Tessa Melck’s gone MAD for cycling in Africa
Born and bred on the west coast of South Africa, living on a farm, Tessa grew up as rough and tough as they come. Running around with no shoes on and going to school in a small Afrikaans school, Tessa grew up as a typical South African. For the first 5 years on her own, she found herself working for the mega rich, working in the yachting industry, surrounded by those living in a completely different reality than the rest of the world. As time went on, she realized she was living in a deceived lap of luxury and needed to do something major to change this.
“The TDA hit every nail on the head, challenging myself physically, mentally, emotionally.”
Inspired by Riaan Manser a fellow South African who cycled solo around Africa and by a bit off egging on by her brother, Tessa decided to stop dreaming and just do something now. That’s when she discovered the Tour d’Afrique. Looking at the TDA website she said to herself:
“There’s no better time than now in your life, you’re young, fit, healthy, there’s nothing tying you down, so just do it.”
DO IT NOW, the magazine, got a hold of this and said, hey, you should write something for us about the tour, but maybe you should think about fundraising or doing something big with this. When Tessa started telling all of her friends and family that she was going to ride her bike 12,000km from Cairo to Cape Town, they all thought she was crazy, that she had gone mad. Her sister in particular said that she should make it her trademark, and make ‘Gone Mad’ into some sort of acronym for what she was up to. Taking this idea and running with it, Tessa started researching, and in no time found that there was in fact a South African charity that was all too perfect. Focusing on issues that are the route of all social issues in South Africa, education, Tessa came across her MAD partner Make A Difference, www.madcharity.org. She met up with them right away, told them what she was up to, told them that she wanted to get involved, and the rest was history.
Tessa is now leading the way for what she hopes to be many MAD activists, naming her blog Meaning behind the MADness, inspiring others to make big changes in their lives. Tessa grew up playing with tractors and horses more than bicycles, but won her first bike when she was 11-years old. Before the start of the TDA, she hadn’t ridden her bike more than 80kms, but is now riding over 100km every day, and is quickly becoming one of the fastest ladies on tour.
Keep an eye not only on the Tour d’Afrique blog, and race updates page but also on Tessa’s personal blog and twitter to keep up to pace as the adventure unfolds. www.Tessamelck.blogspot.com; @tessamelck; Facebook Tessa Melck