Man chased by lion and nearly hit by truck during terrifying motorbike ride
A thrill-seeking dad escaped a "fearsome" lion while riding his motorbike from the UK to Nigeria. Kunle Adeyanju, from New Cross, London, traveled through a game reserve in Mali and says he was forced to ride for his life after locking eyes with a "very hairy" male predator. The 45-year-old, who was riding for charity, says he sped furiously through the dessert terrain but was then swiped off the road when a truck veered his way and left him vulnerable like a "sitting duck" in the wild savanna.
Despite his teeth-clenching near death experience, Kunle who has bungee jumped, sky dived and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro twice says it was "the most thrilling moment" of his life. Kunle first cleared the border of Senegal before he had crossed over to Mali where he rode through a game reserve. But as he made his way through the open plains, the a "very hairy" male predator appeared up ahead.
Kunle said: "Seeing the lion face-to-face in the jungle, it looked totally different to what I've seen in the zoo. It looked so much bigger, so much more fearsome." Read More'I was denied UK residency as Home Office saw me as a threat because of my race'Kunle says that thrill-seeking is a way for him to give back to communities (Kunle Adeyanju)
The father-of-two says he does not take uncalculated risks and therefore planned for the encounter, to which his research informed him that lions do not usually attack from the front - but rather they prefer to outflank from the side.
He said: "The lion tried to run after me and chase me like prey. It was really scary but I just said to myself, 'follow your training because if you get scared you'll die. Be calm, be calm.'"
The 45-year-old says he resisted the "temptation" to look back to check whether the maneater was still chasing after him, as he feared he would lose control of the bike. As well as knowing the wild cat's hunting techniques, the entrepreneur considered the speed the feline could sprint. He said: "The maximum speed of a lion is 80kmph, so going through the game reserve my strategy was that my lowest speed had to be higher than the maximum speed of a lion.
"So when I entered the reserve, my speed was 120kmph even at any bend, no matter how sharp the bend. It was challenging to maintain that speed.Kunle rode his bike from Lagos, Nigeria to Ghana and had to cross three countries (Kunle Adeyanju)Kunle says the experience showed him the real spirit of Africa (Kunle Adeyanju)
"If I saw the lion and tried to turn back, I would be dead. "I just held on to that speed, I refused to look back.
The animal was coming but if I looked back I would lose control and just fall off the bike." But as the adventurer made his escape from the lion's reach without looking back for a at least six miles, he says he was then swiped off the road by a vehicle driving past. Kunle said: "After 10-15 kilometres, a truck coming on the opposite side of the road was trying to avoid a pothole.
I tried to avoid the truck and veered onto the shoulder. I bounced off but I cracked the alloy wheel of the bike and it broke into two. That's how hard the impact was.
"I became a sitting duck and I said to myself, 'you waste any second from here you could be lunch for the wild animals.'" Kunle says he shot straight towards a nearby tree as his only refuge from hunting predators, but that he still doesn't know how he climbed it "so fast" when one minute he "was running" and the next he was at a height.Kunle met many people along the way on his 41-day journey (Kunle Adeyanju)
But after hours of sitting on a branch, he says that night began to fall and he needed another escape plan. Kunle said: "It was getting dark and you know animals have night vision, they can see you clearly and you can't see them.
I saw a ray of light at a village and I said to myself, 'I need to head to that light, that's where I'm going to get help'." The businessman says he checked to see if the coast was clear before sprinting towards the village as he said he avoided looking back once more. He said: "When I didn't hear any animals, I jumped down and I just started running towards the village and I said to myself, 'you can't afford to look back, even if an animal is chasing you you have to make it difficult for it.'
"I ran as fast as I could until I got to the village." When he arrived, Kunle says that the villagers were startled but quickly offered him some aid and helped him get back on his route.Kunle's wheel was damaged after he was flung in the air when he fell into a ditch (Kunle Adeyanju)Kunle had planned his journey back in London before things went awry (Kunle Adeyanju)
But overall, he says that the encounter with the friendly group was far from what he had read about African people before. He said: "Everything I read about all the African countries was negative.
It was scary. Security issues, one problem after the other. "And when you're stranded you're like a sitting duck.
I was vulnerable. I ran to these people and I wasn't sure if they were the criminals I read about in the paper. "But to my amazement the people that were painted as criminals or evil or bad or dangerous people, these are the people who showed me the most humanity.
"They helped me recover my bike, they kept my bike till the following day. They stayed with me all throughout, they gave me company, they even offered to give me food but I wasn't hungry. They stayed with me until my interpreter came."
Kunle was able to get back on the road and complete his 41-day journey in a bid to raise awareness for polio, and get countries not to delay their counterpart funding.Kunle says that African people are painted as criminals or evil or bad or dangerous people but they were actually the people who showed him the most humanity and gave him shelter (Kunle Adeyanju)
He said: "When you give the polio vaccine to a child, you're supposed to give the second dose two weeks after, but sometimes when the funding gets delayed, the children get it three or four weeks after. "By then, the efficacy is almost wearing off. Then it leads to vaccine resistance or mutation of the polio virus that we are beginning to see.
"For every £1 (GBP0.83) I raise for polio, it will be matched with £2 (GBP1.65) which can immunise 6 children because a vaccine is 50 cents. We cannot leave one part of the world because it will spread as long as people travel, people move about, people can carry the virus." Despite the dangers of his thrill-seeking lifestyle, the father-of-two says it's a way of giving back and touching people's lives.
Kunle said: "I love all those die hard adventure things.
I always find a way to tie it to a charity to give back.
"I found a way to tie it to a charity focus, so I can use my lifestyle to touch people's lives, to touch the lives of the less privileged and to give back to the community."
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