Pedro Bento told Lusa that he has successfully completed the challenge of cycling between Kathmandu and the base camp of Everest, located at 5,364 metres, covering a total of 450 kilometres in 11 days, "after several adventures, many difficulties, cold and suffering", which included having to carry his bicycle on his back over “rocks, suspension bridges and impassable bicycle paths” over more than 150 kilometres.
Stressing that he is “the first Portuguese to take a bicycle to Everest base camp” and “the only one to make the connection between Kathmandu and Everest base camp alone (only three people had done so before, but in a group)”, Pedro Bento stated that “the most important thing of all” was having managed to gather the funds that he will deliver to the Dreams of Kathmandu and Rainbow Volunteer Club project.
Among the ups and downs of his new adventure, Pedro Bento mentioned having, twice, cycled at night in the forest “not knowing where to stay and where to eat, with freezing temperatures”, and the “privilege of attending a ceremony of Buddhist monks in a temple at an altitude of 4,200 metres”.
“On the last day I got altitude sickness: headaches, vomiting, body aches, loss of appetite (…) and I managed to make the remaining route eating just one KitKat, over two hours of climbing, with the oxygen levels in the blood to 62 percent”, and was eventually taken by helicopter to a hospital in Kathmandu, “due to the fragile state” he was in, he reported.
The athlete underlined that all the donations he received were for the purchase of meals for the Nepalese children, having paid all personal and travel expenses out of his own pocket.
In total, he received 153 donations, worth €3,329.63, he added.
Pedro Bento stated that the donations are intended "for children who live in completely run-down neighbourhoods, in canvas shacks, in the middle of open-air dumps, even on the outskirts of Kathmandu."
“Right now, the Rainbow Volunteer Club project, in partnership with the Dreams of Kathmandu project, are working with the aim of taking many of these children to school, to ensure that women in these neighbourhoods have access to the hospital when they give birth, to find families for orphaned children and, at the same time, to provide decent meals whenever possible”, he added.
His Bakonbike project, of "humanitarian adventures", aims, with the raising of donations, to support these projects, he said, stressing that the fact of knowing the reality on the ground allows him to realise that "they really make a difference to the lives of these people".