Home Opinion Featured Articles Accra to Tamale bicycle trip for mental health

Accra to Tamale bicycle trip for mental health

Accra To Tamale Bicycle Trip
Accra To Tamale Bicycle Trip

Between November 1 and 11, 2023, five non-professional Ghanaian bikers will be going on a 1300- kilometre journey from Accra to Tamale and back on bicycles to raise awareness and funds in support of mental health. 

Their primary motivation was a mentally retarded lady at the foot of the Aburi Mountain at Ayi Mensah, who died a tragic death because at the of Michael Amankwa, leader and driver of this vision, found her and intervened, it was a bit too late.

Michael, aka Don Milla and his team of five are therefore on a life-long journey to ensure early interventions for persons needing mental healthcare so they could have some level of care and dignity. Even more so, the dream is to change the mindset of Ghanaians to see and do beyond themselves.

Michael believes that a change of mindset is central to creating a critical mass of solution-oriented Ghanaians and Africans who will have the can-do spirit needed to fix the challenges of Ghana in particular and Africa as a whole.

“This is a movement to fix the mindsets of our people and we will not relent until we see our people rising up and doing the right things needed to move our countries and continent forward,” he said. “We want to challenge Africans to know that we are limitless and we can do way more than we are doing at any point in time.”

Don Milla said, central to the vision is the commitment to drive people to pursue happiness rather than money, adding that the pursuit of happiness through connecting with God, nature and through reading will eventually bring all the wealth we are chasing.

As if to say, it does not take professionals to make a change, but just ordinary people with a vision, a mission and a can-do spirit, Don Milla has deliberately selected non-professional bikers to undertake this challenging but noble trip in aid of mental health.

Now lets meet the squad:

Michael Amankwa is a visionary business leader, technology expert, and avid hiker. He is the founder and CEO of Knoxxi Inc, a cutting-edge technology company that harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics to deliver revolutionary solutions for businesses and consumers. In addition to his passion for technology, Michael is an avid reader and accomplished hiker, having successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro, and tackled many other challenging hiking trails. He is also an enthusiastic cyclist who cycles frequently.

With a deep understanding of the role that technology plays in driving innovation, Michael is a noted speaker and thought leader in the African information technology space. He began his advanced education with a Bsc. in Business Administration in Accounting from James Madison University, followed by a Master of Science degree in Information and Telecommunication Systems from The Johns Hopkins University.

Throughout his career, Michael has been a driving force behind several internet start-up companies and has provided strategic vision and value-added services for various IT companies, meeting the needs of the private and public sectors as well as foreign governments. As the Founder of CoreNett Limited, Michael has led the company’s evolution from a technology solutions provider to a relevant value-added services partner, focusing on using cutting-edge technology to drive financial and social inclusion across Africa.

Michael is a firm believer in the power of technology to change lives and make a meaningful impact on society. As a visionary leader, accomplished hiker, and motivator, he sees himself as a driver of this change, working tirelessly to bring his dream of a better, more connected future to life.

Pious Hayford is a passionate architect whose life is intertwined with design and creativity. Since his early teens, he has been captivated by the structure of his environment, influencing his decision to pursue Architecture as his career path. After completing his National Service as a teaching assistant at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, he joined Mobius Architecture to shape the spaces we inhabit and design functional buildings that align with our lifestyles.

Delving into the intricacies of buildings and their inner workings, Pious finds great fascination in the details that make them function effectively. He has a knack for seeing beyond the surface and constantly makes worthwhile discoveries. To him, design is not just a profession but an integral part of life, with a belief that “Good Design is God’s Design.” Everything we interact with, from the moment we wake up to the time we sleep, is designed, even our very bodies, and he seeks to amplify the Creator through his work.

Pious finds inspiration in beauty, whether it’s in the surroundings or through the therapeutic act of reading books. Books play a vital role in his personal development, and he constantly expands his knowledge by purchasing books from various genres. His library is a treasured asset.

Music is another significant aspect of Pious’s life. His fascination with music began when he received his first Sony Walkman as a young teenager. Since then, music has been the backdrop of his experiences, adding depth to his prayers, design work, workouts, and even driving. Walking, cycling, and yoga help free his mind to explore new design solutions and better understand the capabilities of his body.

In summary, Pious Hayford is an architect whose life revolves around the art of design, a believer in the importance of good design in all aspects of life, and a seeker of inspiration from the beauty that surrounds him. His passion for architecture and creativity shines through his work and his unwavering dedication to exploring and understanding the world around him.

Julius Richardson, a passionate music enthusiast and educationist, is dedicated to cultivating an early appreciation for classical music. His journey began with a love for the piano, leading him to pursue the ABRSM program, achieving a DipABRSM level in performance. Simultaneously, he excelled academically, earning a BSc. in Electrical Engineering from KNUST.

Julius’s expertise expanded as a pioneering member of the Network Operating Centre at KNUST, contributing to the deployment of the first fiber optic infrastructure on campus. He then ventured into software and product development, exploring cutting-edge concepts in Java Beans and Enterprise Architecture at Rancard Solutions.

Building on his technology roles, Julius embraced an exciting transaction banking position at Ecobank. His involvement in developing the Transaction Banking platforms spanning over 36 African countries significantly boosted the bank’s revenue.

For the past decade, Julius has devoted himself to empowering underprivileged children and private students, nurturing their orchestral performance capabilities through the Genius Hive Foundation, which he co-founded. This initiative led to the establishment of the Accra Youth Sinfonietta, a collaborative effort involving talented performers from various institutions in Accra.

Currently, he’s focused on developing string ensemble capabilities in children through the SOS CV program. By 2025, his goal is to elevate all children in the program to a grade 5 performance level.

Outside his professional endeavors, Julius cherishes family life with his wife and two boys. Recently, he has embraced the challenge of mental and physical well-being, incorporating daily hiking, cycling, and swimming into his routine.

Anita Solomon is a dedicated professional who currently holds the position of Head of Business Development Services at the Development Bank of Ghana. In this role, she plays a crucial part in driving business growth and establishing strategic partnerships to support the bank’s development finance initiatives.

Anita’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in English and Sociology from the University of Cape Coast, which provided her with a solid foundation in understanding human behavior and societal dynamics. She furthered her studies by obtaining a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Development Administration and Planning from University College London, specializing in strategic planning and organizational development.

With her extensive experience in the investment management industry and her expertise in human capital management, Anita is well-suited to navigate the complexities of the development finance space. Her profound understanding of organizational development and planning, combined with her unwavering commitment to driving positive change, makes her a valuable asset to the bank and its objectives.

Anita harbors a strong aspiration to become a domain expert and a leader in the development finance field. Her passion for creating a meaningful impact on socio-economic development motivates her to continuously expand her knowledge and refine her skills in this specialized area. Armed with her exceptional leadership abilities and strategic mindset, she strives to shape the future of development finance and contribute to sustainable growth on a larger scale.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Anita finds fulfilment in various personal interests. She loves engaging in regular exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Traveling and exploring new places broaden her horizons and provide her with fresh perspectives. Additionally, cooking and baking are creative outlets through which she enjoys experimenting with flavors and sharing delightful meals.

Anita’s devotion to her family is unwavering. She has two incredible children named Yaa and Kofi, who occupy a central place in her life. They are her greatest source of joy and inspiration, and she cherishes the opportunity to nurture and guide them through life’s adventures.

Overall, Anita Solomon’s determination, educational background, experience, expertise, and personal interests make her a formidable professional and a loving mother, positioning her on a promising path toward becoming a respected leader in the development finance space while finding fulfillment in her personal pursuits.

Enoch Agblevor, a 25-year-old Ghanaian hailing from Aflao in the Volta Region. On January 16, 2020, Enoch applied for a Security job in Greater Accra, which led to a pivotal moment in his life. The very next day, he made the courageous decision to leave his hometown and embark on a new journey in Accra.

On the 18th of that same month, Enoch began his work as a Security Guard at Chremartin Ville, an experience that has now spanned three years. Through this role, he has gained invaluable experiences and had the opportunity to interact with notable individuals such as officers, lawyers, and accomplished professionals.

When it comes to sports and athletics, Enoch’s passion lies in cycling. He finds great joy and fulfillment in this activity, as it not only enhances his energy and strength but also keeps him active and fosters a sense of unity among individuals. Cycling is not just a hobby for Enoch; it keeps him physically fit and mentally invigorated.

Enoch’s ultimate aspiration is to become a champion, and he fervently prays for it day and night. He acknowledges that this path will require immense dedication, hard work, and personal sacrifices. Nevertheless, Enoch remains steadfast in his determination to achieve his dream and earn the title of champion.

In 2017, Enoch took the BECE exams and was admitted to St. Paul’s Senior High School. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, he couldn’t complete his education there. Nonetheless, Enoch’s talents were recognized when he emerged victorious in the javelin competition for his school, earning a well-deserved certificate.

Enoch’s favorite storybook is “The Cock Crows,” which holds a special place in his heart. It serves as a source of moral lessons and brings him great happiness whenever he immerses himself in its pages.

When it comes to movies, one film that has deeply resonated with Enoch is “Nelson Mandela.” Through this movie, he has gained a profound understanding of South Africa’s history, fostering a deeper appreciation for its significance.

Enoch Agblevor’s journey is one of determination, passion, and resilience. With each passing day, he eagerly embraces new opportunities, overcomes challenges, and continues to script his own inspiring story.

There are two coaches on the trip and they are professional bikers: 

Meet Isaac Sackey Solomon, a 33-year-old professional cyclist hailing from Ghana. With an impressive 20-year cycling journey under his belt, Isaac has emerged as one of Ghana’s most beloved and accomplished cyclists. His track record in various cycling challenges showcases his consistent victories and podium finishes, making him a prominent figure in the sport.

Passionate about nurturing the cycling community, Isaac’s dedication is evident in the number of individuals he has trained over the years. Known affectionately as Shahsa among cycling enthusiasts in Ghana, he established the Isaac Sackey Cycling Academy GH to groom young and upcoming talents. Notably, he finds special joy in conducting cycling sessions for kids, especially those with Autism.

Isaac’s list of accolades includes triumphs in prestigious races such as the Teshie Homowo race, the Tour de Ghana cycling challenge sponsored by Cowbell, the Anim Memory race, and the OSU Homowo race.

In November of 2023, Isaac is set to embark on an extraordinary 1300-kilometer bike tour from Accra to Tamale and back in just 10 days. As the lead coach for Zen riders, he will be guiding a team of 5 talented riders on this grueling journey, alongside his buddy coach, Emmanuel Semevor (Wizzy). Isaac’s previous remarkable feat of completing a similar tour in a mere week has earned him the admiration of many, who consider it an almost impossible accomplishment.

Apart from being a skilled cyclist, Isaac is also a gifted bike repairer, selflessly sharing his expertise with others. His dedication to the sport, his community, and his willingness to inspire and uplift others make Isaac Sackey Solomon an exceptional figure in Ghana’s cycling landscape.

Emmanuel Semevor, affectionately known as “Wizzy,” is a multifaceted individual with a passion for both electrical engineering and cycling coaching. While he embarked on his educational journey in electrical engineering and gained valuable experience in the industrial sector, he has also emerged as an accomplished and gifted mountain biker.

Beyond his professional achievements, Wizzy has found joy in sharing his cycling expertise with others. As an avid cycling coach, he takes immense pride in training anyone eager to learn about cycling. Spending countless hours each day, he rotates between different students, providing them with valuable insights and nurturing their cycling skills. Many who have had the privilege of being trained by Wizzy hold him in high regard, as he is a highly sought-after and beloved cycling coach.

In addition to his individual coaching pursuits, Wizzy serves as the co-lead coach for Zen Riders, a role that allows him to contribute to a broader cycling community. His dedication and passion for coaching have earned him the respect and admiration of fellow cyclists.

Wizzy’s enthusiasm for cycling knows no bounds, and he is currently gearing up for an extraordinary 1300-kilometer bike tour from Accra to Tamale and back. This challenging and thrilling adventure is scheduled for November 2023, and he will be leading a team of 5 riders. Alongside his buddy coach Isaac Sackey Solomon (Shasha), Wizzy is ready to showcase his leadership, determination, and camaraderie throughout this remarkable journey.

As he embarks on this epic tour, Wizzy’s spirit of adventure and commitment to pushing his limits will undoubtedly inspire those around him. His boundless enthusiasm and unwavering dedication continue to leave a lasting impact on the cycling community and all those who have the privilege of knowing him.

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