Coronavirus: Dubai resident to cycle 19 hours non-stop on Friday

Shaun Powell aims to complete 568km and will stream the event live on Facebook via the ’19 for Covid’ page

Shaun Powell will ride his bike for 19 hours non-stop to raise awareness about the Covid-19 pandemic and people struggling to get through it. Courtesy - Shaun Powell    
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A Dubai resident aims to ride his indoor bike for 19 hours non-stop this weekend to show solidarity with people suffering through the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the current stay-at-home ruling, South African Shaun Powell, 27, will swap the outdoors for indoors as he aims to complete a 568km ride from the comfort of his home in Jumeirah Village Circle.

The virtual trip, which is the equivalent to a six-hour car journey from his home city in Durban to Johannesburg, will begin at 5am on Friday morning.

Mr Powell, who works in construction in Dubai, will continue riding straight though until about 12am on Saturday morning.

"In my spare time I'm an amateur triathlete so I thought to myself, what can I do that will hold some sort of significance," he told The National.

“I cannot go for a 19 hour run around the city, so with a bike at home, a ride was my next option.

“I knew it needed to be something relatively crazy to gain a bit of attention for a worthy cause.

“It will be a daunting task, but insignificant when compared to what many around the world are forced to deal with right now.”

The ambitious cyclist will record the ride through Zwift, a cycling and running mobile application.

People can join the ride at any time or monitor his progress by searching for his name.

The entire reason for my initiative is to make a difference where it matters

He will also stream the event live on Facebook via the ’19 for Covid’ page.

As an engineer in Dubai, he said work has continued “relatively uninterrupted.”

“But this isn't the reality for most, especially in my home country of South Africa,” he said.

“I simply want to raise awareness about the tremendous efforts being carried out by the Solidarity Fund SA, a public-private partnership to slow the spread of Covid-19.

“It is a small cause back home, which I think is pretty cool. They are providing relief through volunteer work and aid distribution during the crises.

Shaun Powell has been training at home ahead of his attempt to cycle non-stop for 19 hours this weekend. Courtesy - Shaun Powell

“The entire reason for my initiative is to make a difference where it matters and assist my home country where public health facilities are dealing with an influx of sick patients despite being drastically under resourced.”

Although he has completed many fitness challenges in the past, including the Ironman in Austria, Mr Powell said his latest ride would dwarf any he has ever attempted before.

In 2019, he participated in the coast-to-coast cycle challenge and rode from Dubai to Fujairah.

“That was the longest cycling endurance event I had participated in, it took about six hours,” he said.

“This time I’ll be doing more than three times that.”

The four-year Dubai resident is expecting to burn about 10,000 calories throughout the ride.

He will only leave the seat to change his clothes or use the bathroom.

“I did a rough calculation a few days back and worked out that I will be sweating about a litre of liquid per hour, which I need to replenish,” he said.

“I’ll burn between 500 to 540 calories per hour and will keep my energy up with a mix of power gels, energy drinks, water and lots of toast.”