BikeTown Africa

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BikeTown Africa ("BTA") was founded in 2006 two bicycle riding friends, David B. and Steve M.[citation needed] Between 2006 - 2012, Bike Town Africa has delivered more than 2,000 new, custom made bicycles to health care workers in sub-Saharan Africa.[citation needed] It has operated largely as a partnership between Bicycling Magazine, Rodale Institute, Bristol Myers Squibb, UTi, and Kona Bicycle Company.[1] In 2013 Bike Town Africa incorporated as a stand-alone 501(c)3 organization in the United States (final IRS status pending).[citation needed] Each year, BTA donates bicycles (and tools) to healthcare workers in Africa, particularly those involved in HIV/AIDS related work.[2] BTA volunteers travel to Africa to assemble and give away the bicycles to the receiving organization (typically an established, qualified HIV clinic, hospital or NGO). BTA then documents the impact these bicycles have on the personal and professional lives of the recipients. Besides health care workers BikeTown Africa has also donated bicycles to orphans and farmers as well as worked in other countries outside of Africa; notably Afghanistan.


The project started in 2006 with 200 bicycles donated to HIV/AIDS healthcare workers in Gaborone and Bobanang, Botswana.[3][4][5]

In 2007 the project expanded. One hundred and fifty bicycles were distributed in Katima Mulilo, Namibia, and 169 in Tambacounda, Senegal.[6][7] [8] One thousand AfricaBikes were donated in 2008. These bicycles were distributed in South Africa[1], Swaziland and Mozambique. In 2009, 750 bicycles were distributed. During September 2009, an international team of volunteers assembled 268 bicycles in the Orange Farm township of Gauteng, South Africa. These were donated to the Catholic Healthcare Association of South Africa for distribution to their affiliates in South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland. The final two projects for 2009 happened in Kibaha and Bukoba, Tanzania.

In March 2010, 100 Specialized Fuse BMX bikes were distributed to 4 tracks built by AMA Rider for children in townships around Cape Town.[9] In August 2010, 120 Kona AfricaBikes will be distributed in Malawi at the Baylor Tingathe Community Outreach Program. A further 120 bicycles will be donated to Foundation Rwanda.[10] In September 2010 250 bikes were distributed in The Gambia, with assistance from the HopeFirst Foundation.[11]

In 2011, BikeTown Africa was approached by AMARider to assist with its children's mountain biking league. BikeTown Africa volunteers traveled to Lesotho to work with Lesotho Cycling Association in building a cyclocross track and providing 33 mountain bicycles for any and all school children to use for a season of four races. The track was built on the Lesotho Olympic Training grounds in Maseru. After the series of races during the season, all 33 bicycles were handed over to the children who performed best on and off the track.

In 2012 Bike Town Africa traveled to Mwanza, Tanzania to assemble and give away 100 bicycles to HIV healthcare workers at the Baylor Pediatric AIDS Hospital there.

The primary bicycles used in BikeTown Africa is called the Kona AfricaBike. It was designed by Kona Bicycle Company to fit the unique needs of health care workers in Africa. Over the project life span the bicycles has undergone various changes and additions.[12] BikeTown Africa also has distributed bicycles manufactured by Specialized.

As with the bicycle, the project is constantly adapting so as to utilize best practices learned. In 2007 BikeTown Africa changed some of its policies insisting that the bicycles must be owned by the individual recipients rather than the organization, so as to promote personal responsibility of the maintenance and repair of the bicycles. In return each recipient agrees to volunteer with the organization for a fixed amount of time or devote an agreed amount of time to help sustain the project. Recipients in Lesotho earned their bicycles through attending races, cleaning up rubbish in the city and good attendance at school.

BikeTown Africa also includes training for mechanics in the areas the bicycles are distributed, as well as providing tools to equip the trained mechanics.

Current status[edit]

As of July 2013, the last status update on the Facebook page is a year old. The Kona website still lists the AfricaBike 3 for sale, but links to the project are all no longer active.[13] A search of the current Rodale, Inc. and The Rodale Institute websites returns 'There are no results for "AfricaBike".'[14][15][16] The last mention of BikeTown Africa in Bicycling magazine is in 2009.[17][18] The last tweet was on October 28, 2010.[19] On January 4, 2011, Maria Rodale, then CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc., published an article about BikeTown Africa in The Huffington Post.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bicycling Magazine’s Second Annual Biketown Africa Aims to Improve Health Care in Africa One Bike at a Time". Business Wire. July 24, 2007. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  2. ^ "Going Global: Biketown Africa". Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. March 2, 2006. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  3. ^ Sarah Rich (June 26, 2007). "Kona Biketown Africa". World Changing. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  4. ^ Steve Madden (May 24, 2006). "Kona Africa Bike Delivers Hope". Bicycling. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  5. ^ "Bicycling Magazine Teams with Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Kona Bicycle Company to Launch 'BikeTown Africa'". CSRWire USA. Nov 29, 2005. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  6. ^ "BikeTown Africa". Gandhi's Be Magazine. 2010. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  7. ^ James Startt (2008). "The Road to Chokwe". Bicycling. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  8. ^ "VT Kona BikeTown Africa Fundraising Campaign". Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  9. ^ "Bicycling BikeTown Africa assists Afrika Tikkun". Afrika Tikkun. 2008. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  10. ^ "Foundation Rwanda & BikeTown Africa Bike Build 2010". Foundation Rwanda. 2010. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  11. ^ "Help Send 300 AfricaBikes to Gambia". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. November 19, 2009. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  12. ^ Karl Rosengarth (03/01/2008). "Kona Biketown Africa In High Gear". Bicycle Times. Retrieved 2013-07-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ "2010 Bikes, Asphalt: AfricaBike Three". Kona Bikes. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  14. ^ "Search results for "AfricaBike"". Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  15. ^ "There are no results for "AfricaBike" in products". Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  16. ^ "Search Results for Biketown africa: Sorry, no results were found.". The Rodale Institute. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  17. ^ "Search Results 1-4 of 4 for BikeTown Africa". Bicycling. July 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  18. ^ "Ride RAGBRAI with Bicycling’s BikeTown Africa". Bicycling. March 13, 2009. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  19. ^ "BikeTown Africa @BikeTownAfrica". Twitter. October 28, 2010. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  20. ^ Maria Rodale (January 4, 2011). "BikeTown Africa: Transforming Rwanda". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 

External links[edit]