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We’re ready to ride in Rwanda

We’re ready to ride in Rwanda

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The Black Unity Bike Ride collective set to reach new heights in a bid to raise cash for a very worthy cause.

THE BLACK Unity Bike Ride (BUBR) collective are heading to Africa again, and this time Rwanda is the destination as the cohort set out to raise money for a worthy cause.

Next month, BUBR set off on a 400km cycling mission across Rwanda, a ride that will see them endure periods where they are climbing 23,500ft in elevation (20 per cent higher than Mount Kilimanjaro). It’s not a feat for the fainthearted but one the collective feels duty bound to undertake in pursuit of the cause.

Last year, that cause was raising money for Vida Cycling Programme (VCP), an NGO founded by Vida Juliet Vivie, which provides access to competitive cycling events, repair and maintenance development programmes, grass-track cycling events, and free cycling equipment in Ghana.

The first foray into international territories for BUBR, the ride, for the most part, was a wonderful success, which inspired the founder of the UK-based organisation, Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, to begin organising the next one.

With so many worthy causes across Africa to choose from, Ajasa-Oluwa explained why this year they will be raising money for Twin Lakes Cycling Academy (TLCA), an NGO that was set up by Florent Nsengumuremyi in 2019 with the aim of providing former street children in Rwanda with access to education, hope and a better future through cycling.

“The idea of BUBR Africa is to go to a different country in the continent annually that has a strong cycling community. Rwanda has a big cycling vibe and looked like an interesting challenge considering the elevation,” Ajasa-Oluwa explained.

“In each country, we look for a grassroots project that uses cycling as a way of making a positive social impact. And that’s how we found TLCA, they change young lives for the better, and do so through cycling.”

The BUBR Ghana charity ride was eventful and very special

Sharing how he was struck by the founder of TLCA’s story, AjasaOluwa added: “Florent’s personal story is powerful. He lost his family in the genocide 30 years ago and has lived experience of being a street kid.

“A stranger helped him with a bike which enabled him to ride to school. From there, he decided he wanted to help others in a similar situation.

“He uses his own funds to support the young people, which is a very generous thing to do.”

BUBR Africa is calling upon the global communities’ support to enable them to match and surpass their fundraising target in order to present TLCA with the funds when they complete the ride, which kicks-off on May 4. See the link at the bottom of this article to get involved. Every little helps.

Ajasa-Oluwa is confident support will match that which BUBR received last year when they headed to Ghana – although he is hoping his own riding experience is a little better this time around.

He said: “Community support and engagement reflects the culture of BUBR, and is very important for us.

“We celebrate our work and share it on social media. We expect to secure significant media coverage once our team of riders land in Kigali.” He added: “Ghana was our pilot year, so we did not know what to expect.

“Thankfully, we had a professional team to support us on the ground. With regards to my injury, I was rear-ended by a car on the cape coast road. My helmet cracked in eight places and thankfully saved my life.

“After a couple of days recovering, I was fortunate enough to complete the trip. Getting to experience Ghana on a bike was unique, as we saw some parts of the country that are harder to appreciate when you are zooming past in a car.

“Another important moment was when we visited the NGO we were supporting, and met the young people in the project. That was a very special and warming moment.”

Speaking on the key challenges and preparation involved in organising a cycling mission of this magnitude, Ajasa-Oluwa said: “We have five riding days in total which includes riding over 400km and elevation over 23,000ft.

“At least one of the riding day routes will be part of the Tour Du Rwanda race which took place in February this year. It is a demanding itinerary, but will also be very rewarding once we have completed it.”

He added: “The tour is organised by the core BUBR team, some members from the BUBR Alliance will take part in the trip. But the planning and organising is all done by our core team and our host partners based in Rwanda.

“We also found a placed-base partner to work with that operates in the country we are visiting. “This year we have partnered with Africa Rising Cycling Centre.

“They have helped us curate an experience that is unique, challenging and also inspiring. “The challenge ahead is serious, this ride is no joke. Due to the terrain, in particular the hills, we expect it to be tougher than last year’s tour. The team is training hard and we will earn every penny we fundraise for.”

In and amongst preparation for the ride in Rwanda, Ajasa-Oluwa and his team are also organising this year’s annual BUBR ride from east to south London.

Taking place on August 5, the event is set to be another fun-filled family-friendly day where thousands take to the streets with their bike, whatever the weather. The achievements of the movement are a thing to behold in just five years.

And they are far from done pushing toward the heights of their potential. Ajasa-Oluwa enthused: “We are here to take up space in the world of cycling, and we are open to explore partnership opportunities that enable us to increase the agency of those that are new to the sport.

“I think the future is about scale, continuing what we do but on a bigger scale.

‘The challenge ahead is serious, this ride is no joke. Due to the terrain, in particular the hills we expect it to be tougher than last year’s tour. The team is training hard and we will earn every penny we fundraise for’. – Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa

“We took a unique moment in time and transformed it into a movement. We have inspired thousands to prioritise their wellbeing in the Black community, and the aim going forward is to inspire many more to do the same.”

In relation to their ongoing connections with the causes they raise money for, he added: “Sustainability is key, Florent funds all his great work out of his own pocket. We hope this tour will raise the profile of TLCA as well as provide funds.

“We will always champion the work of TLCA going forward. The same way we are still in touch with the NGO we supported in Ghana last year, we will do the same this year.”

www.gofundme.com –  BUBR Africa 2024 – Rwanda