Monday, August 6, 2007

Can bikes save the world?

Or at least help rebuild a country?

Project Rwanda thinks they just might. Founded in early 2006 by Tom Ritchey, a passionate cyclist who visited the scarred country in 2005, Project Rwanda is a U.S. nonprofit promoting the bike “as a tool and symbol of hope.” If you've got a bike or component with the brand name "Ritchey" on it, yes, it's that Tom Ritchey.

The group helps provide special heavy-duty bikes for Rwandan farmers to haul their harvests to market (the Rwandans have been using wooden bikes they made themselves), building a bicycle repair network, encouraging mountain bikers to visit, and funding a Rwandan cycling team. You can support Project Rwanda by either making a donation or by buying their products, which include Rwandan Wooden Bike Coffee or Team Rwanda cycling jerseys.

(The above was adapted from a short piece in Utne magazine.)

This next item comes from the latest Bike Bits, the e-mail newsletter from the Adventure Cycling Association:

Can you imagine in this day and age medical personnel who not only make house calls, but do them via bicycle? It's not a common phenomenon by any means, but it is happening in at least one place--bicycle-friendly Copenhagen, Denmark. We'd love to see it become a trend!

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