Bikes for the World

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Changing Gears in Nairobi

CESTA in El Salvador
Yesterday we brought you the story of how Bikes for the World partner CESTA is bringing change to El Salvador through bikes. By promoting the environment, bikes, and safer infrastructure and laws CESTA is working toward making cycling a preferred method of transportation in the country.

This is not the only BfW partner to focus on putting more people on bikes! ALL people. Wheels of Africa, (WOA) based in Nairobi Kenya, has similar motives to bring more bikes to the streets and more safety and awareness to the community. In fact, Wheels of Africa states in its mission they, champion for cycling as a sustainable means of transport and source of livelihood. 

Patrick and Geoffrey of Wheels of Africa
Wheels of Africa has received over 7,000 bikes donated by Bikes for the World over the past five years. Many of those bikes are sold in small bunches to local bike repairmen who work on the bikes and sell them in small communities where bike services are not readily available. This allows the small staff at WOA to reach a greater number of beneficiaries while still remaining focused on their goal, getting more people on bikes.

A big challenge for WOA in their quest for increasing cyclists has been overcoming the stigma associated with riding a bike in Kenya. For many years a bike has been a symbol of the poor. Through organizations like WOA, cycling has reached a greater population of both poor and rich. Riding a bike is quickly becoming a popular activity in Nairobi and WOA is proud to be part of that transformation.

Through programs like their Weekend Adventure Rides and participation in World Kidney Day, WOA is creating a platform to promote cycling in Nairobi and finding it to be quite popular among a wide range of riders. WOA offers both beginner and more advanced rides in urban and and mountainous settings. And they focus on things like safety on the road, on the bike, and highlight the area's new cycling lanes. The main objective in addition to helping riders gain more confidence on their bikes and the roads is TO HAVE FUN. 

What was once seen as 'a poor man's way of life' is quickly becoming the latest fitness craze on the streets of Nairobi. WOA is seeing an increased demand for higher quality bikes, used jerseys, and interest to join their sponsored rides. WOA takes the time to train new riders and plan rides for both new and experienced riders. Some riders just need more experience (and confidence) riding on busy, narrow streets in town. Some are looking for safari riding partners to tackle the muddy Ngong Hills trails. Bottom line: Wheels of Africa has something for everyone!

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