8th Ride For Rwanda to be biggest yet

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What began as a 50th birthday ride for one of the event founders has become an annual tradition for the Orange County cycling community. The 8th Annual 50 Mile Ride for Rwanda will be held on Saturday April 26, 2014 in Orange County, Calif. Event organizers expect over 1,000 mountain bikers to join this year’s event. The 50 Mile Ride for Rwanda supports two non-profits: World Bicycle Relief and Team Rwanda Cycling.

World Bicycle Relief is transforming individuals and their communities through the Power of Bicycles; they envision a world where distance no longer prevents access to healthcare, education and economic opportunity. With over 130,000 bicycles in the field and more than 800 field mechanics trained, World Bicycle Relief is changing lives across Africa and Southeast Asia. World Bicycle Relief (WBR) has assembly facilities in six African countries and bikes on the ground in 13 countries across Africa and Southeast Asia.

Team Rwanda Cycling is a story about redemption, hope, and second chances. Tom Ritchey, renowned mountain bike industry pioneer, founded Project Rwanda in 2005 after visiting Rwanda and being inspired by both the people and the beauty. In addition to crafting cargo bicycles for Rwandan coffee growers, Tom recruited his long-time friend and cycling legend Jock Boyer to identify, coach, and mentor young men who would become Rwanda’s first National Cycling Team. The mission of Team Rwanda Cycling is to search for and develop young Rwandan talent to empower, enable and inspire not just individuals but families, communities and a nation through cycling. One of the team’s original members, Adrien Nyonshuti, became Rwanda’s first Olympian to compete in the Mountain Bike event in London in 2012.

The Rwanda Ride appeals to advanced and novice riders alike. The event is a “ride” not a race. Event organizers have only three goals: rider fun, rider safety, and to raise lots of money for Rwandan causes. Three different route options are available: the signature 50 mile route, a shorter but still challenging 25+ mile route, and a 10 mile route suitable for casual mountain bikers. Riders participate for a lot of reasons: some for the challenge of riding further on a mountain bike than ever before, some because they love the Rwanda cause, some for the fun of sharing an epic day with their best riding buddies. To date, the ride has raised over $430,000 for Rwanda causes.

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Registration is now open for the 8th Annual Rwanda Ride. This year’s event will again start and finish at the Oakley World Headquarters in Foothill Ranch, Calif. Routes could include trails through O’Neill Park, Caspers Park, Tijeras Creek and Arroyo Trabuco. After they finish, riders and their friends and family stick around at Oakley for the post-ride party, BBQ and gourmet food trucks, live band and huge raffle prize drawing. Event sponsors have already donated over $20,000 in prizes. For more information and to register for the event, please visit www.50mileride.com. For more information about the ride’s beneficiaries, visit www.worldbicyclerelief.org and www.teamrwandacycling.org.