Words and photos by Eric Hockman
As another 365 days pass and the age counter rolls another digit, it seems that each year tends to gain more momentum than the previous, causing time to blur by much like the trees that line my favorite sections of single track. It was right around four years ago that the dream to host an event for World Bicycle Relief (WBR) started swirling around in my mind. Back then it was just a distant but hopeful idea, so it’s hard to believe we just finished hosting year two of this very positive and extremely entertaining event. If you missed Brews for Bikes (B4B) last year at Mountain Toad Brewing in Golden, Colorado, you can read about the project on Pinkbike here. If you missed Brews for Bikes this year, well, where were you?
The overall vision and goal of WBR is to put bicycles in the hands of residents in African villages and cities to improve their quality of life in many ways. A bicycle to someone in Africa means that they can gain a better education, transport goods for small businesses and families more efficiently, and improve their chances of living a happier and healthier life.
For the second year running, my good friend Muhammad attended the event to enjoy all of the positive energy that comes along with it. Roughly seven years ago, he was granted amnesty to leave his refugee camp in Darfur, Sudan and bring his family to America to live a better and undoubtedly safer life. A few years later the two of us crossed paths as fellow mechanics at a shop in Seattle, WA, where I soon realized I needed to revisit my plan to send bikes to help people like him. As an immigrant and now resident of the United States he serves as a constant reminder that it is greatly important to continue helping others whenever possible. While speaking to those attending the event, he so eloquently noted that “Giving a person a bicycle in Africa is much like giving someone in America a very high-end car.” Much more can be accomplished when a person is mobilized via a form of reliable transportation.
This year we teamed up with many of the same contributors that were involved with the previous years project, but the most notable change in direction was the style of bike as well as the manufacturer. For B4B v2.0 the frame and fork were provided by Advocate Cycles; a company dedicated to sharing 100% of their profits with advocacy groups throughout the cycling community, so it seemed only fitting to join forces with them. The Lorax frame that we used to build this years custom Advocate/Buffalo collaboration arrived with a beautiful shade of pearlescent green paint and without it’s typical factory graphics. This blank canvas gave us the opportunity to lay down another set of customized graphics to mirror the Buffalo bikes that are sent to the field in Africa. Gaining help from friends throughout the cycling industry and local community is what makes this project thrive, and truly shows how big of a family the cycling community can be.
In it’s first iteration, Brews for Bikes was able to generate enough charitable contributions to send roughly 27 bikes to people in various parts of Africa. In it’s second year, the event did not produce quite as many bikes to send to Africa; however, the positive energy, education about WBR’s scope, and the nearly 20 bikes that will be sent to those in need was certainly a win to all that were involved.
Many thanks for everyone involved with the project:
– Advocate Cycles for the donation of a beautiful Lorax frame and fork,
– Victory Circle Graphix for the sharp custom graphics,
– Shimano for a sleek 105, 11 speed drivetrain and PRO components,
– Cane Creek for the bike jewelry-esque 110 headset,
– DT Swiss for the contribution of a smooth rolling Spline wheel set,
– Feedback Sports for the donation of a custom Pro-Elite repair stand and bicycle storage prizes,
– Pedal Fit PT for the donation of a custom bike fitting session,
– Jesse Crock for the donation of one of his incredible Colorado inspired paintings,
– Primal for sending out a box full of apparel,
– Hogshead Brewing and taproom for the venue space and donating proceeds from beer served at the event,
– SloHi Bike and Coffee for the excellent hospitality, coffee, and small parts for the bike build,
– World Bicycle Relief for the donation of stainless pint glasses and prizing,
– The Lookout Mountain Boys for putting on an always entertaining show,
– And most importantly for my good friend Muhammad from Sudan (by way of Seattle) for attending the event for the second year in a row.
As previously mentioned, this was the second year of Brews for Bikes, but keep your eyes open for another round of enjoying delicious brews, listening to good music, positive vibes, and most importantly, changing lives one bike at a time. Just make sure you don’t miss round three!