You may have read about the mass genocide in the African country
of Rwanda. 800,000 people killed in 100 days during tribal warfare
or ethnic cleansing. Anyhow there are a number of programs to help
the country recover. This bicycle was designed by Tom Ritchey of
mountain bike fame. Thousands have been produced and sent to Rwanda
as a 'hand up, not a hand out'. The local coffee farmers in the
hills sign micro loan agreements where they will pay off the manufacturing
costs of the bikes. The bikes will help the farmers get their coffee
beans to market faster so they will earn a higher price. You can
has a store where you can order one of these bikes for yourself.
your cost $750 plus shipping. You get the bike and a $525 tax write
off because they will send 2 more to Rwanda.
bike. Sturdy tig welded steel construction with heavy duty wheels.
Aluminum rims with 48 spokes in the rear. basic grip shift with
8 speed mega range cog in the back and a dual chain ring guard on
the single front sprocket. V-brakes for strong stopping power. Rated
at 400 pounds of load capacity. The bike also came with bmx stunt
pegs or 'buddy pegs' as my sister called them 30 years ago when
she picked up a pair for me in Mexico. That makes giving passengers
a ride easier. The bicycle frame has numerous mounting points welded
to the frame so no frame modification are needed to add your own
cargo carrying options.
bike: The cedar rear deck came with my bike. I sanded, stained and
varnished it and bolted it to the frame. I used rubber bushings
under the deck for a slight amount of padding and nylock nuts so
it won't rattle off. I added solid brass side rails to hang standard
panniers on. They look far better than plain threaded rod and cost
the same at my local home box mart. I threaded the ends and put
chrome acorn nuts on. The supports are straight threaded eye bolts,
about 2.5 inches long threaded into the wood. No tap needed, just
drill the right size hole and the eye bolts threaded in. I made
the side panels from 1/4" plywood. Sanded, stained and varnished
to help endure the weather. The panels were cut to the correct height
to accommodate the bottom hooks on the shopping paniers. I used
nylon washers and collars between the wood and frame to help protect
the paint which seems to be very durable.
mostly runs to the grocery store. The 4 shopping panniers can each
take a normal paper grocery bag plus there is room on the deck for
bags of cat litter & cases of soda.
ride: The bike rides quite well. The first thing you notice is you
don't seem to accelerate but you do keep going faster and faster
and shifting in to higher gears. The seat seems rather high up like
the bike has a high bottom bracket height. I think for townie use
the stock knobs could be replaced with a street tire for a smoother
and faster ride. The seat is okay for the first 40 miles or so (my
longest ride to date). My only issue is heal clearance, I'm rather
duck footed and my shoes catch on the side panels where the forward
most side frame bracket is.
to pretty much all other lwb cargo bikes on the market, this is
a real bargain. I would recommend the bike for anyone needing lots
of carrying capacity and willing to help out a country that needs