In January 2011 we left for Kigali with 50 bikers for an unknown cycling adventure in Rwanda and Burundi: The first edition of Bike for Africa was born. Today, 9 years later, we are back at that same gate of flight SN467 to Kigali, this time already for the 5th edition of Bike for Africa. We see many faces that joined us since the beginning, but like each year, this unique biking experience attracted some new colleagues as well.
“Ever since I started working here, colleagues have been talking about Bike for Africa as an unforgettable adventure, so I’m really looking forward to experience it myself this year”, says Kim, Marketing expert at Brussels Airlines. Griet, Passenger Services Agent, is excited as well for her first Bike For Africa: “When I saw the team spirit of the group already during the trainings, I cannot wait to take up this challenge with them. I’m sure that this experience will be an asset to my life.” Iryna, Business Performance Analyst, can only agree with this: “It will be a great team building with colleagues from all over the company and I’m thrilled to learn more about Rwanda, its traditions and its people, and to discover the amazing scenery around Lake Kivu.”
In total, we have 40 colleagues of Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and Lufthansa cycling 320km through the north-western provinces of Rwanda in the coming days, covering parts of the famous Congo Nile Trail. Between the starting point in Ruhondo and the finish in Kinunu, they will need to overcome 7200 height meters. It’s not for nothing that Rwanda is nicknamed “The country of the 1000 hills”…
While cycling remains the core of Bike for Africa, it’s the first time that we also take a group of design thinkers with us, to support selected local start-ups along our biking route. The role of our colleagues here will be to support them in a sustainable way with setting up business cases, creating marketing plans,… all following the design thinking methodology.
But for today, both cyclists and design thinkers share the same planning: we fly to Kigali all together for a calm first night in Rwanda. Tomorrow morning we have a 2,5 hours bus trip to Ruhondo on the schedule, where we will use the afternoon to adapt to the height and the local climate during a short warm-up ride. The first stage of Bike for Africa 2020 and the first design thinking session will both take place on Friday, and all of us are very eager to start!