The 50 Mile Ride has raised just over $100,000 for Project Rwanda over the first three years. According to event founder Doug Grant, â€œOur 50 Mile Ride event has grown every year. Once riders catch the vision and experience the fun, they come back again, year after year.â€
Project Rwanda was founded by mountain bike pioneer Tom Ritchey. When Ritchey first visited Rwanda in 2005 he was awed by the natural beauty of the countryâ€””the land of 1000 hills”. Even more than that, Ritchey was inspired by the people and their stories of reconciliation and hope. Ritchey knew he could use his talent and resources to help make a differenceâ€”and Project Rwanda was born. Project Rwanda’s mission is to further the economic development of Rwanda through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope.
The purpose of Project Rwanda is four-fold:
- Special Bike Designâ€”Project Rwanda has designed a special utility bike that can quickly and efficiently transport heavy loads of coffee. This coffee bike can increase a Rwandan farmer’s earning potential by 30-40 percent, giving them an opportunity to rise above poverty for the first time in their generation.
- Build Awareness for Rwandaâ€”The annual “Wooden Bike Classic” is an example of how Project Rwanda is reaching out to the world’s cycling and travel/adventure communities.
- National Prideâ€”Project Rwanda has developed and equipped the Rwandan National Cycling Team. This team is now participating in international cycling events, and one day hopes to represent Africa in the Olympic Games.
- Bike Distributionâ€”Project Rwanda plans to establish bike distribution to needed organizations. Micro-finance mechanisms will subsidize the cost of these bikes, at rates that are fair and reasonable.
In addition to the 50 Mile Ride, there are 25 mile and 5 mile â€œfun rideâ€ options available. For more information about 50 Mile Ride for Project Rwanda or to register for the event, visit www.50mileride.com.