As an intern working in central London bank, Sunil Shah would cycle each day from his Watford home to Canary Wharf.

Now he will put his training into practice as he prepares to pedal the length of Africa during a four month, 12,000km race.

Sunil, from Cherry Tree Road, set off today from Heathrow airport to meet up with more than 90 riders from 15 countries, who will be taking part in the Tour d'Afrique, which begins on Saturday.

He is due to cross the finish line on May 15.

Speaking to the Watford Observer as he checked his custom-built racing bike onto his flight to Egypt, he said: “I really enjoy cycling and I wanted to do something fairly significant while travelling before I start work in September.”

During his trip, Sunil will cycle through ten countries as the riders make their way from Cairo, Egypt, to Cape Town in South Africa, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.

Sunil, 21, started cycling as a sixth former at Haberdasher's School and later joined the Cambridge University Cycling Club.

After graduating last summer, he biked every day to his summer internship at Barclays Capital, based in Canary Wharf, before spending two-and-a-half months late last year working for the charity One Laptop Per Child in Delhi, India.

He said: “I'm looking forward to the scenery. I like going cycling in England but mostly it's the same green countryside. It will be nice to see some sandy deserts and see how I cope with all the different altitudes.

“The other people seem quite cool as well. They all seem fairly adventurous.”

During his trip, Sunil will raise money to help build a new Montessori teachers' training college in Tanzania.

To follow Sunil's progress and sponsor him, visit