Wooden Bike Classic
Gary Boulanger and Tom Ritchey, the Directors, Servant Leaders Outreach took a tour of Rwanda on their mountain bikes in December 2005. As they took that tour, they shot a short DVD documentary so as to capture every bit of their Rwandan experience, which actually was the first for both of them. That trip opened up their eyes to the beauty of Rwanda as a country and the beauty of Rwandan people. They felt the immediate need for contributing any which way they could to the rebuilding of the country. The result was the formation of ‘Project Rwanda’ in February 2006. It had a pretty strong and experienced board of directors who volunteered to play their part. Ever since its formation, Project Rwanda has made full use of every opportunity to use bicycle as an important social tool for bringing about a change in Rwanda and for providing hope to its people. Project Rwanda organized and started ‘Wooden Bike Classic’ event, which was intended to connect all Rwandans with the bicycling community of the world.
The sole vision of Project Rwanda was to contribute to the economic development of Rwanda by initiatives that were based on cycle as a symbol of hope and an important social tool. They wanted to use bikes for helping the Rwandan economy and rebranding the country as a very beautiful place for tourism and business.
The first Wooden Bike Classic was held in Kibuye, Rwanda on September 16 - 17, 2006.
Wooden bikes can be very commonly seen all over Rwanda and they have always been in use for transportation of both people and goods. Tom Ritchey got the amazing idea of racing these bikes and was the main brains behind the Wooden Bike Classic. The event now draws tourists from all parts of the world who love watching and even participating in the event! Every year enthusiastic cyclists from all over Europe, US and Africa participate in this one-of-its-kind event and make it a global phenomenon!
The event has become an annual bike festival designed specifically for increasing awareness about Rwanda as a cycling and tourism destination, apart from promoting its ecotourism industry.
Project Rwanda, which organizes Wooden Bike Classic comprises of many volunteers. It’s a registered non-profit organization which operates independently of any kind of association with any religious order. The sponsors, volunteers and team members of Project Rwanda come from all backgrounds including community groups, churches, businesses and schools.
Project Rwanda’s goals are very simple and uncomplicated. They’re all are related to using cycling for building awareness about Rwanda, by conducting events like Wooden Bike Classic and indulging in specialized bike designing for easy transportation of coffee crops in Rwanda. They’re also the brains behind Team Rwanda Cycling and bike distributions in the country.