Our Challenge

We will be starting the ride at Dondra lighthouse on 11th June 2017 and will cycle up the east coast (deviating inland around Yala National Park) to Point Pedro lighthouse in Jaffna, a distance of about 750km, in 9 days. During the ride, we will post daily photo and video updates on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).


Our Team

Divaka Perera
Consultant Cardiologist at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital, London

Age – 46

Inspiration for this challenge

The opportunity to raise funds for two amazing but very different charities, get back to cycling (which I loved doing when growing up in Sri Lanka), spend two weeks in Sri Lanka (seeing it as I never have before), work with friends and family to plan and develop the project AND get fit in the process!

Greatest fear

The Moneragala climb on day 2 of our ride; crazy bus drivers

Training motivation

To break the 25kmph average speed mark on Strava and cycle more than 100km in a day (and overtake at least one of those annoying Pro-cyclists who zoom past me in Richmond Park)


Rob Daniels
General Practitioner in East Devon, UK

Age- 46

Previous experience

I have worked as an expedition doctor on numerous charity treks over the years to Africa, South America, Europe and the Middle East but have not really cycled any great distance since a paper round and journey to school.

Inspiration for this challenge

Fantastic opportunity for me to raise funds for UK and Sri Lankan charities while undertaking a personal challenge and returning to a beautiful country with wonderful people.

Greatest fear

Friction; photos of me wrapped in tight lycra appearing on social media

Training motivation

Keeping ahead of Divi on Strava

Mike Marber
Cardiologist at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital
Professor of Cardiology at King’s College London

Age – Best unspecified

Inspiration for this challenge

I have enjoyed cycling since a child and for many years spent an hour a day on a turbo trainer after coming home from work. For the last 5 years I have harnessed this energy and time by commuting to work on my bike. The consequence of attending early morning work meetings in Lycra and expounding the benefits of cycling to any who will listen is that I found it impossible to say “no” when presented with this challenge. As the work of the charities we are riding to support becomes clearer, any initial doubts have been replaced by unmitigated enthusiasm.

Greatest fear

The heat will have me yearning for the garage turbo trainer on a freezing winter’s evening

Peter O’Kane
Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Dorset, UK

Age – 46

Previous experience

Love exotic travel and enjoy cycling but rarely have the two co-existed.

Inspiration for this challenge

I have had the privilege of training budding interventional cardiologists from Sri Lanka and over the many years I have known Divaka, have heard lots of amazing things about the country. To have the chance to cycle, with friends, in Sri Lanka AND raise money for two worthy charities was an opportunity too good to miss. To be able to catch up with my ex-fellows from Lanka and take part in the Sri Lanka Heart Association academic sessions is a real bonus.

Greatest fear

Heat, bumpy roads and pain in the nether regions

Shamindra Perera
Indulging in midlife crisis by taking a break from 25 years in fund management in the UK, Middle East, Singapore, Australia and Sri Lanka.

Age – On the right side of 50 (just!)

Inspiration for this challenge

Apart from joining my little brother in supporting a worthy cause, doing more physical exercise than I have done in my life to date! Oh, and sharing the potholed roads with elephants at dawn, which I have experienced a few times on this stretch of road … but never on two wheels!

Greatest fear

My leisurely pace holding the others back

Training motivation

Errrm…yet to be discovered!

Friends of Cardiac Cycle Lanka

Friends and supporters may join the team for some or all of the ride. This group of 4 (from left to right: Manjula Sirimane, a lawyer; Channa Daswatte, an architect; Roshan Rajapaksha, an interior designer; Sanjay Kulatunga, a financial professional) have pledged to ride the whole course and will play an active role in fund-raising. For those wishing to join part of the course, the start point and time will be posted daily on our Facebook page, the evening before.

Route Highlights

DondraThe southernmost tip of Sri Lanka, Devundara or Dondra is believed to be the abode of Upulvan Deviyo or God Vishnu. It was originally termed Devi Nuwara, which translates to the City of Gods, and with time it is believed that the name has become Devundara and then Dondra, its English adaptation. The origin of the town is said to date back to 660AD . The Dondra Head Lighthouse is one of the town’s highlights and the start of our ride.


Yala leopardYala bear

Yala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and became a national park in 1938. Ironically, the park which was initially used as a hunting ground for the elite under British rule, is now home to 44 varieties of mammal and 215 bird species. Among its more famous residents are the world’s biggest concentration of leopards, majestic elephants, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted dear, peacocks, and crocodiles. We are cycling around the park as even at peak fitness, we don’t fancy our chances of outrunning a leopard!
Tissamaharama (Tissa)
TissaThe Raja Maha Vihara situated in Tissa is an ancient Buddhist temple and was one of the four major Buddhist monasteries established in Sri Lanka. It was visited by Lord Buddha himself who spent some time in meditation there during his third visit to the island in 519 BC. Today, it is often used by local and international travellers as a base for visiting nearby Yala and Bundala national parks and the temple town, Kataragama.
elephant and bikeWe may be sharing the road with wild elephants in a few places.

Arugam Bay

A BayA magnet for surfers who come here to ride what are generally acknowledged to be the best waves in Sri Lanka, ‘A-Bay’ has a cool vibe and its main street is the place to hang out in a hammock at one of the beach-side restaurants and coffee bars.


KalmunaiThe Kodipalli mosque in Kalmunai is known for its Flag Festival when thousands of pilgrims & visitors of all communities from all over the Island visit the mosque to attend the festival which has been celebrated for 195 consecutive years. Kalmunai is fast becoming popular with divers for its World War II ship wrecks, thought to be the SS Athelstane and the HMS Hollyhock, which lie at a depth of 42m off its shores.


KalkudahThe highlight here is the fabulous stretch of deserted golden sandy beach – save the odd fisherman and his boat. It was while visiting nearby Passekudah in 2016 that Rob and Divi started to plan the Cardiac Cycle route.


Trinco“Tiru Kona Malai”  or Trinco, as it is popularly referred to, is renowned for its legend and history, being the site of the sacred hill of the three temples mentioned in The Mahavamsa written in 543 BC. Trincomalee’s superb deep-water port has made it the target for all manner of attacks over the centuries: by the British takeover in 1795, the city had changed colonial hands seven times. The beaches of Trinco are the stuff of picture postcards – endless miles of white sand and blue water.

Point Pedro

Point PedroThe northernmost tip of the island, Point Pedro in Jaffna is dotted with small fishing hamlets, its coast forming a 3 mile wide, 20 mile long beach with sand dunes up to 100 feet high. It was hit by the 2004 tsunami but there are still some buildings remaining from its Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial legacy. This part of the island was at the heart of the civil war that ravaged Sri Lanka for more than 30 years. We may not have been able to contemplate cycling the last stages of our route even as recently as 10 years ago. Point Pedro lighthouse is the final destination on our ride.

The Cardiac Cycle team are very grateful to reapdigital for their generous help in building this website