Due to an unfortunate mechanical mishap, fate led us to the Team Rwanda headquarters for a bike repair. During our time there, I learned about the team and did an impromptu photoshoot at a facility that boasts a particularly inspiring backstory: In 1994, a mass genocide gutted and all but destroyed Rwanda. Shortly after, Jonathan ‘Jock’ Boyer – the first American to participate in the Tour de France – moved to the country, with the desire to help build a national cycling team. Team Rwanda became “official” in 2007, and has been growing ever since. Such has been its success that it’s now a force of professional cyclists who race competitively, and win, on the international stage.
In addition to providing a dream for young Rwandan riders, the team has also transformed cycling into arguably the most popular ‘spectator’ sport in Rwanda, even if most of its fans can only follow the team’s endeavors via radio broadcasts. In the process, the members of Team Rwanda have also become accidental goodwill ambassadors for their country, and their inspiring story an example for other countries to follow.