From Aimless to Africa: Sarah Kent Regains Strength Through the Power of Bicycles
2012 was a rough year for Sarah Kent, one of the three inaugural Team WBR Ambassadors. She lost her grandmother and missed Olympic selection, became sick three times while attempting to race in Europe, sustained an injury, and ultimately went broke. Aimlessly watching the Olympics from her living room couch, Sarah realized she had lost her sense of purpose.
That summer, Sarah did some soul-searching, which resulted in a move back to Perth from Adelaide. She also took a break from her cycling career. For months she thought she had made a tremendous mistake. She ended up spending late nights at the casino, and only had the energy to take short rides from time to time. Eventually, she landed a casual part-time job at a fitness equipment store.
In time, Sarah moved into a full time position at the shop. Much to her surprise, this helped to reignite her spark for cycling.
Toward the end of her four-month hiatus, Sarah suddenly came to her senses--determined it was time to get back on her bike. Not only that--she wanted to do it with a greater purpose, beyond competitive racing.
"I starting remembering the person I used to be on the bike, and when I compared it to the person I want to be, had to be, I knew I had a lot of work to do… and I don’t just mean with my legs. It’s been a very slow, grueling process coming back, one hampered by full time work."
So, Sarah created ProjectAfrica--a small project she organized with her father Murray through which she would raise funds and funnel them into sustainable, impacting organizations throughout the continent of Africa.
When Sarah read about World Bicycle Relief, it hit home. She explains, "This was who I wanted to support and it has been an onwards journey from there. I felt so honoured to recently be named one of three World Bicycle Relief Ambassadors alongside an All-Round Champ from Indiana, and a gun age-group Ironman Triathlete from Florida. My initial goal has been raised from $13,400 (100 bikes) to $15,900, the amount it takes to empower a whole community! I am already half way there."
Having long wanted to ride across Africa with her dad, Murray, Sarah's ambassadorship with WBR has provided the perfect platform to do so. This past weekend, Sarah & Murray departed for WBR's Africa Rides trip in Zambia. The duo will journey from Victoria Falls to the shores of Lake Malawi, stopping in Lusaka, Zambia along the way. Their mission is to ride approximately 1500 kilometers (almost 1,000 miles), self supported on bikes to raise awareness of the importance of transport and an increased quality of life in African communities.
"People get a look of confusion on their face when I tell them about it. 'Why?' They ask. Why the hell not! I have two good legs, I can ride a bike, I think I have the capabilities to raise enough money to have a small affect on at least a few people’s lives in Africa, and I have a great network of people around me to spread the word. Honestly, I don’t have one specific reason why I wanted to do it. Often, athletes are selfish people and I wanted to do something selfless for a change."
Sarah has been inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt's quote: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” These words, along with the support of her friends and family near and far, has inspired Sarah to not only get back on two wheels, but to do it for a cause.
Thanks for being an ambassador to the world, Sarah! Happy cycling!