The Girl On A Bike has announced her entry into the Africa Eco Race.

Vanessa Ruck has evolved from a roadblock rookie to a desert rally enthusiast, completing eight international desert rallies and is now aiming for her most challenging race yet. 

She lives and manages chronic pain following a cycling road traffic accident in 2014, adding to the challenges she’ll face racing 6,500 km to the infamous Dakar. 

Riding her KTM 450 rally replica, fondly named Big Buddy, Vanessa will start the 14-day race that will take her from Monaco to Senegal in Africa. 

She said: “I feel so fortunate to be able to explore the wonders of many parts of Africa while racing.”

She has personal reasons for choosing the Africa Eco race,  as she was drawn to the ecological and social initiatives. 

The race supports local communities through programs like Energy of Hope, which provides solar lamps to rural school children. 

Vanessa added: “These countries are incredible places to visit, but sadly the health care and infrastructure is far from ideal.”

As a brand ambassador for Two Wheels for Life, a charity providing healthcare mobility solutions in Africa, Vanessa feels she has “the opportunity to give something back” to the people in a part of the world where motorcycles and their effective use literally saves lives.

Through this organisation, she’s offering a chance for people to win a five-star trip to Dakar to witness the end of the race, which is set to take place in January 2024.

Her most recent accomplishment was in the Morocco desert challenge, a demanding eight day event. 

Out of 77 participants in the Moto category, Vanessa was among the 40 per cent who finished every stage despite the extremely harsh conditions, including peak temperatures of 52 degrees Celsius. 

Vanessa has also been the first female to enter and finish in certain challenging desert rallies like the Tunisia Desert Challenge. 

As she now gears up for this monumental challenge, she is taking on speaking engagements to raise funds. As a TEDx and award-winning motivational speaker, Vanessa wants to use her story to help others grow. 

She said: “I’ve broken down in tears on stage, I’ve stuttered and had to process the emotions, but in my heart I know It’s worth it… If I can turn my trauma and fight into powerful advice to help others with their life battles, then it makes what I went through worthwhile- or at least in my head t helps me process why it has to happen to me!

“I don’t just want a payout to enable me to go and rally; I want to feel like I’m giving back.”

You can keep up to date through Vanessa’s social media platforms and through her YouTube series. She will be heading to Gambia with Two Wheels for Life directly from the Dakar finish line to support the charities activities first hand. 

For the chance to win a five star trip to meet Vanessa in Senegal, enter via 

If you don’t win, you have still donated to charity.