Cape Epic ’14 Team Rothorn-Brien

Cape Epic ’14 Team Rothorn-Brien

A big thank you goes to Christoph Fuchs and Urs Schild from Switzerland. They raced this year in the 7 day Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race in South Africa on behalf of Wheels 4 Life as “Team Rothorn-Brienz”. They completed the 730km and 15350 vertical meters in total time of 45h:24Min. .They finished the Masters Category in 59th place out of 177 teams, and in a respectable 232nd place in the overall classification out of 600 teams. Together with theirs wives, supporters and sponsored they mananged to raise over US$ 18,500.- for Wheels 4 Life. (thank you, thank you, thank you).

Thanks to Team Rothorn-Brienz, Lions Club Mutschellen-Kelleramt, Hegi Gartengesaltung AG, Chilli Sport GmbH, Widen Sehstern Optik GmbH, Berikon Sponser Sport Food AG and many friends and supporters.

Climb 24 fundraiser

David Roberts is putting a on special event/ fundraiser on April 13th in Southern California. He will try to break the Guinness World Record by riding the most vertical feet on a bike within a 24hour period. Their goal is to raise enough money to buy at least 10 bicycles for Wheels 4 Life. Click the link below to find out more about the event and how to be part of it. http://www.climb24.org

Tortour Fundraiser by Kjell Andersen and Stefan Huber

Tortour Fundraiser in Switzerland by Kjell Andersen and Stefan Huber

The Tortour Race (www.tortour.com) is a non-stop bicycle road race around Switzerland. Participants have to ride a course of 1050km/650miles and 15000m/49000ft. vertical. The course has 18 sections the two team riders alternate for a combined time.

Kjell Andersen and Stefan Huber raced in a two -men team to raise money for Wheels 4 Life. Besides their day jobs and their intense training program they also had the task of raising money and awareness for their choosen charity project.

The race was held in August 2013, after a slow start the team slowly worked their way into the top group during this strenuous race through the Swiss Alps. After 38hours and 51minutes they finished together with their support crew of five,  in a respectable 8th place in the category 2-men teams.

Congratulations for your efforts on and off the bike and a big thanks for collecting approx. $ 3600.-, enough money to buy nearly 30 bicycles!

Tretlager fundraiser #2

Tretlager fundraiser #2

Winterthur, Switzerland April ‘09

Our partners and supporters from the Tretlager Bike Shop in Winterthur Switzerland have organized another fundraiser for Wheels 4 Life. They organized a riding clinic at their shop by Thomas Lenherr as coach.

Thanks to the support of all the participants and the folks at Tretlager Shop, Thomas Lenherr as well as Volvo Automotives AG Switzerland and Ridebook.ch

The proceeds of approx. $ 500.- will go towards our Wheels 4 Villages bike shop project in Tanzania, which was opened a few month ago and which is still in need to get some gas bottles and welding equipment for their shop.

Tretlager Werkstatt Tanzania

Dank der Unterstützung von Volvo Automobile Schweiz AG und Ridebook.ch  konnte der Bikeshop Tretlager  aus Winterthur Schweiz  einen MTB Fahrtechnikkurs zu Gunsten Wheels4Life veranstalten. Die Einnahmen gingen vollumfänglich an die bereits gesponserte Werkstatt in Tanzania. Mit dem Betrag wird zur Vervollständigung eine Schweissanlage inkl. Gasflaschen gekauft.

Grosses Dankeschön gilt den Sponsoren, den motivierten Kursteilnehmern und Thomas Lenherr der den Kurs durchgeführte.

Rock n Road Bike Shop used bike fundraiser

Orange County, California

Rock n Road Bike Shops and Team Sho-Air/VeloSport are hosting a bicycle donation day for the Hans Rey Wheels4Life Charity.  The donation day will take place on Saturday April 11th.  If you wish to donate a bicycle to the Wheels4Life charity, please bring it to your local Rock n Road bike shop during normal business hours on Saturday April 11th.  Please be sure the bicycle is in good working order.  If you are not sure of the bicycles condition, the Rock n Road repair shop can take a look at it and give you a cost estimate for any necessary repairs.

Come and also go on a ride with Hans:The Rock n Road Laguna Niguel shop will be the focus of the donation day and Hans Rey will be present to visit and perhaps lead a fun MTB ride at Aliso/Woods Wilderness Park at 10AM.

Wheels4Life is a non-profit organization that provides bicycles for people in developing countries in need of transportation. Wheels4life was founded by extreme biking legend and former Mountain Bike World Champion Hans Rey.

Wheels 4 Life usually doesn’t accept used bike donations, but this is a test project, the bikes will be distributed to people in need of transportation south of the boarder in Mexico.

Thanks to John Furlong and the Rock n Road and Team Sho-Air/VeloSport

Tanzania Trip #3 Feb.’09

Tanzania Trip #3 Feb.’09

I just returned from Africa, we concluded the filming for our Wheels 4 Villages Film project. We have now been there three times over the past year to document the impact bikes have on this area around Ugweno in the Northern Pare Mountains.

The film will be released in the summer 2009.

On this trip, Aaron Lutze came along as the cameraman who will also edit the film, together with Carmen and myself.

We distributed another 52 bicycles, which gives us now a total of 135 bikes that have been distributed in this area by Wheels 4 Life.

We also opened up 2 bike & repair shops in the area, with the help from the guys from the Tretlager Bike Shop in Winterthur, Switzerland, who raised enough money to buy a bunch of spare-parts, tools and a welding kit. Some of the money went into the construction of a brick building, although most of the costs for the building were donated by local volunteers who had received bikes from us, and from the people of the Nyotastar Center in Kivisini.

The second bike shop will be operated at Joseph Barekeli Jr.’s house in Toloha. He lives in a secure building and one of his rooms will serve as the bike shop. His shop is smaller and received less inventory than the Kivisini shop. However, the people in Toloha are in desperate need for a bike shop since their village is located very remote and far from any shops. The moment we opened the shop people were buying things.

The plan is that these shops shall support themselves from the revenue they will generate, which means the shop keepers will earn a little income for their services and are supposed to buy more spare-parts with the money they made once their inventory gets low.

It was agreed that Aminelli, who is the mechanic we hired one year ago to look after the bikes we have distributed and who is also the caretaker of the Nyotastar Center, will be paid approx. US$ 30 each month for running the shop and for his mechanical services. We also agreed to generate a career opportunity for Prefa, a 17 year old orphan who lives at the orphanage, and who has helped Aminelli with his work. As long as the bike shop is profitable we will pay him approx. US$ 20 each month, and if things work out, we promised him a promotion and we would teach him to become a welder in the future.

When we first arrived in Dar es Salam, we went straight to a bike wholesaler to buy all the parts for the shop as well as 28 bikes, 4 of them as shop inventory and 24 of them were distributed by us to people in need of mobility..

We also bought another 25 bikes from our friends at World Vision, who had extra inventory of the “World Bicycle Relief” bikes in their warehouse in Arusha. Part of our project is to try out different kind of bike models to learn which ones work and which one don’t work or are too expensive.  The “World Bicycle Relief” bike is a typical African bike, designed with some more heavy duty  and higher quality parts than the bikes which are usually available in Africa. They come with stronger wheels, frame and carrier-racks, they also have coaster-brakes and no unnecessary parts. The only drawback is the price of $ 131.- , usually we pay approx. $ 80 – 100 for a bike in Tanzania.

Thank you to World Vision and World Bicycle Relief for cooperating with us.

Carmen painted a beautiful sign for the bike shop, from a blank of wood we received from one of our bike recipients who is wood cuter.

We organized the grand opening of the Kivisini shop and hired a cook to make a simple meal for about 200 people. Many people from Kivisini but also from the neighboring villages came, as well as many of the people who had received a bike from us previously and many of the pastors and other partner who are helping us distribute the bikes. It was a wonderful day.

Elvida and Victor, who founded the Nyotastar Center, were also present. Without their help and support we could have not done this project or get the bike shops organized.

It was also fantastic to see how many of the bikes we had given out in the past, had really improved the lives of those people and their families; and how many of the bikes are being used by multiple people and for multiple tasks. We followed some of the people around, capturing their daily lives and how they use the bikes.

But we also learned that the infrastructure is as important as the bikes themselves. People need to be educated, not only how the bikes can help them improve their lives, income, careers, healthcare, etc….., but they also need to learn to look after their bikes. Some bikes we found in terrible condition, while others maintained their bikes very well. We also learned that some people are so poor, that they cannot even afford any spare-parts.

Taking also into consideration other factors like corruption and greed, we learned that it can be extremely difficult to ensure everybody who supports us, that the bikes really end up in the right hands. As one can imagine, everybody in Africa would like to get a free bike, if they need one or not; or whether they fulfill our criteria’s to receive one or not. I think Wheels 4 Life chose the right method of distributing bikes in small quantities, where we can overlook all the projects and thoroughly consider every individual who receives a bike. I don’t know how the bike organizations can pass out high quantities of any kind of aid, and being sure it really ends up where its really needed.

One also needs to understand that there are many different levels of poverty in the Third World. For example South Africa (I’m not even sure if its considered a Third World country) seems like paradise in comparison to Tanzania in terms of development and also standards of living. Wheels 4 Life caters to the poorest of the poor, to give them mobility and a chance to better their lives or help them break out of the vicious circle of poverty. We also supply people with bikes who help the poorest of the poor, like healthcare workers, teachers or missionaries.

There are millions of people who could greatly benefit from a bicycle, our mission is far from over and we continue to need your help as well.

Thank you.

Hans Rey