Cycling in Benin: Donation Drive for Benin National Team

The Benin National Team have a knack for piecing together road bikes from miscellaneous components. Photo credit: Christoph Herby
Our favorite former pro racer turned Peace Corps Volunteer and blogger, Christoph Herby, has stirred up tremendous interest in supporting the Benin National Team with his recent “Cycling in Benin” posts. His most recent post is “Dreaming of the Champs Elysées.”

Over the past couple months offers of bikes, parts, supplies, and clothing for the Benin National Team have been rolling in from generous individuals, clubs, and manufacturers. A 200+ person bike club in Denver, CO is doing a parts drive. The good folks at the Bob Cook Memorial / Mt. Evans Hill Climb (Idaho Springs, CO – July 24, 2010), the biggest hill climb in the US, are organizing a collection. Plans are in development to aggregate the vital equipment and ship it all to Benin for use by the aspiring cyclists who currently ride on scavenged used bikes brought in from Europe. Village Bicycle Project of Seattle, WA has offered their assistance and support with freight logistics. Cyclists for Cultural Exchange of Santa Cruz, CA might be a source of grant funds to defray a portion of the substantial freight expenses. Rhétice Dagba, the President of the Benin Cycling Federation has made arrangements with the Benin Ministry of Sports so that donations can arrive without taxes or bribes. What started as a series of articles on the team’s history and ambitions has naturally grown into a multi-national campaign.

Alphonse of the Benin National Team rides an aluminum Giant touring bike with rapidfire MTB shifters mounted in the bend of his handlebar. Photo credit: Christoph Herby

Herby assures his readers “I write these articles to highlight the determination of the athletes, not to solicit pity or charity. However, these guys do need reliable equipment. If you would like to donate something, it will be put to good use. Whether it’s a whole bike, those tacky neon shorts you’re embarrassed to wear on the group ride, or used handlebar tape, your stuff will find a whole new life.” Contact Christoph Herby if you’d like to support the team. He asks that any material donations be accompanied by a cash donation to offset shipping costs.

Also noteworthy is Herby’s narrative photography site, and the site for his upcoming expedition, Pulaku Photo Project.

One Comment

  1. It is now your opportunity to help charity through mountain biking to raise money and give as donation to charity. I’m sure that they have also few celebrity will enjoy this interesting cycling event.

    Jean Estrada,
    Donate a car
    Wheels for Wishes

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