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Ian Hicho

“Allow me to tell you the story of how it all got started and why this is a passion project for me.

I have always loved cycling. There is a freedom that comes with experiencing the road on a bike that’s second to none, and a sense of accomplishment when you go against the elements and come out on top. Since I learned how to ride at 3 years old, a bike has been a constant companion carrying me from one chapter of life to another. In 2016, I decided to add a little adventure to my riding with a long-distance solo trip to Mombasa from Nairobi. It took 4 days and 4 hours to complete and I loved every moment of it.

Challenging the elements and battling brutal crosswinds from long-haul cargo trucks on the roads made for an interesting journey. The thrill of riding through the Tsavo in the beauty of nature is indescribable. I was hooked. After this ride, a close friend suggested that I attach a “cause” to my long-distance exploits to add a purpose to my adventure.

After literally 5 minutes of soul-searching, I settled on education. You see, I came through the Starehe Boys’ Centre institution and the access to education, materials, and opportunity has shaped my life in more ways than one. It is a place I called home for most of my teenage and riding for charity would give me the chance to give back to the school that made me the person I am today. I had found my calling.

My first attempt at adventure with a purpose came in 2019 when I was part of a cycling project to raise endowment funds for the Starehe Schools. As part of a team of Old Boys, we completed a border-to-border tour by riding from Busia to Mombasa raising KES 5 million. This was enough to guarantee 5 places in perpetuity in the Starehe Schools…my thrill-seeking was profoundly changing people’s lives and I loved it!

In 2020 at the height of the global pandemic, I decided to challenge myself even further by re-doing my original journey but this time with a twist. Instead of taking four days, I would make it to Mombasa in 24 hours! That is how 500in24 was born, and through commitment and hard work, we have completed some epic adventures and managed to raise over KES 2 million between 2020 and 2021. That means two additional places in the Starehe Schools in perpetuity!

I am very passionate about education and think everyone should get it. Education opens up new opportunities in life and grants access to even the most exclusive doors. This is a cause that is very dear to my heart and the impact my riding has gives me joy. It is an inspiration to young men and women going through the Starehe Schools, and that keeps me going even through the tough moments. Giving back is the heartbeat of 500in24 and we hope you will join me in spreading my dream around the nation.