Lezyne's Patrick Ribera-McKay and Mike Foote delivered over 600 Lezyne hand pumps, patch kits, saddle bags, and hydration packs to Ritchey to help further the efforts of Project Rwanda.
The idea of the partnership grew from Ritchey's March visit to Lezyne's headquarters in San Luis Obispo, California. He was making his way back home after the 2011 North American Handmade Bicycle Show and decided to visit his old cycling buddy and Lezyne aftermarket sales assistant Mark Mozart. After taking a tour of the Lezyne facility, Ritchey and Mozart crafted the idea of Lezyne contributing to Project Rwanda and presented the idea to McKay, Lezyne worldwide marketing manager.
"Once I learned about Project Rwanda, I jumped at the chance to find a way for Lezyne to take part," said McKay. "Ritchey's passion for cycling and commitment to helping the people of Rwanda is very compelling and I am glad that we could take part in Project Rwanda and hope we can continue to do so in the future."
Afterward Ritchey explained just how valuable these basic cycling accessories are to the people of Rwanda. “Clean water is a luxury that many of us take for granted, but in Rwanda, it can be a rare resource. You can’t imagine how valuable a tool these hydration packs will be for Rwandans. These packs will allow them to easily take clean drinking water and gear with them while traveling. Basic cycling essentials like a good pump and patches are also hard to come by in Rwanda. Many people patch tubes not with patch kits, but with string, and will do so repeatedly until the tube is completely unusable. To give a Rwandan a real patch kit and hand pump is a truly empowering gift.”
Project Rwanda was founded by Ritchey after he visited Rwanda in 2005, out of his passion for cycling, a love of Rwanda’s natural beauty, and the inspiring stories of hope of the Rwandan people. His trip resulted in a realization that the bicycle can be an important tool in rebuilding a country, building national pride and addressing local issues facing Rwanda and other African nations. Project Rwanda is committed to furthering the economic development of Rwanda through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope. The organization's goal is to use the bike to help boost the Rwandan economy as well as re-brand Rwanda as a beautiful and safe place to do business and visit freely.
The Lezyne goods will be transported one box at a time to Rwanda via the Rwandan Courier Network over the course of the year. The Rwandan Courier Network is a group of men and women who volunteer to carry goods to and from the African nation. Project Rwanda organizers found that due to the high cost of international shipping, individual couriers are the most reliant and cost effective method of transport. So, if you are bounds for Rwanda and have room for one more bag, give these guys a call and directly take part in helping another nation.