The bicycle is used as the primary means of transport
Imagine if cycling was once more viewed as a sport of champions, not cheats, enjoyed a drug-free image, was principally about competing and not money and cyclists became role models for individuals, and even countries…?
Idealistic? Perhaps, but not impossible – despite the damage wrought to the sport by the regular doping antics of the Tour de France. For today, the brightest ray of light among these dark clouds may be in Africa, a continent seldom associated with cycling or good news.
Team Rwanda’s six young cyclists could help alter this image. The men, until the team was formed last year, had never been in an aircraft, never left Rwanda, never slept under bed sheets or stayed in a hotel, never seen the ocean and never even enjoyed a hot shower. Today, team member Nyandwi Uwase (26), who trains three to four hours a day, returns to a house where he stays with his mother and grandmother, brothers and sisters, and where there is no running water or electricity. His $100 monthly team stipend has to keep alive an extended family of 10.