Why I Keep on Cycling for Kids in Rwanda!

In just a couple of months, I will be travelling to the Okanagan to take part in the 5th Annual Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda, an event I look forward to every year. While this year marks the 5th anniversary of Lake2Lake, it will in fact be the 9th time that I have taken on a major cycling challenge to raise funds for The Wellspring Foundation. So why do I continue to ride year after year? The reason is simple: I truly believe in what Wellspring is doing. I care about education, and about giving children in Rwanda the opportunity to receive a quality education. Having visited Rwanda twice to see this work first-hand, and as a teacher myself, I see the revolutionary impact that Wellspring is having on education in Rwanda, and I’m excited to play a part in this.

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Lisa after finishing the 2012 Lake2Lake.

How did this all start?

My journey with Wellspring began back in 2005, when the organisation was still in its early stages. I had been volunteering in Uganda, and had the opportunity to visit friends in Rwanda for a couple of weeks. During this time, I visited a couple of the schools in which Wellspring was working, and assisted with some teacher evaluations. I could clearly see the impact that Wellspring training was having on teachers and students, something that was reinforced when I returned there again in 2010.

I have become more involved with Wellspring over the past 7 years, primarily fundraising for their programs through cycling. In 2006, my close friend Ben Farrant, an avid cyclist, was tragically killed while training for the annual Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. Ben was a member of the Wellspring Board, and was so passionate about Rwanda and Wellspring’s work there. The following year, I got onto a road bike for the first time, and began training for the Ben Farrant Memorial Cyclathon, from Seattle to Portland, in which our group of riders cycled to remember our friend, and to raise awareness and financial support for Wellspring in Ben’s honour. Including that inaugural year, I have ridden from Seattle to Portland six times with Wellspring.

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Lisa, Heather & Amy at the 2009 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic.

Why Lake2Lake?

Over these years of involvement, I developed a love for cycling, and so was very excited to hear that Wellspring was planning to host their own ride here in BC. I had always wanted to cycle in the Okanagan, and Lake2Lake provided both the opportunity to ride through some beautiful scenic areas, and to support Wellspring’s work in Rwanda. I have taken part in Lake2Lake twice now as a rider, and once as a volunteer when an injury prevented me from cycling. This event is a fantastic opportunity to spend a weekend riding while sharing the experience with friends, and meeting new people. For me, Lake2Lake is a very stress-free weekend, as the only thing I need to worry about is riding. The volunteers take excellent care of the riders both on the road and at the camp once the first day of riding is completed. All details are taken care of, and so it really feels like a weekend getaway, filled with camaraderie and fun!

One of my favourite things about Lake2Lake is seeing the variety of people who take part . Some riders show up on mountain bikes, having only ridden a handful of times, but choosing to bike this distance because they believe in the cause they are supporting. Other riders don’t know much about Wellspring, but love cycling and being on the open road. These individuals participate in the ride and are introduced to Wellspring throughout the weekend. Whether you are an experienced biker, or new to the sport, you are welcome to be part of this amazing event!

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Colleen and Lisa at the 2011 Lake2Lake.

I hope you will come and join us for this year’s ride, and help make a difference in the lives of students, teachers, and entire communities in Rwanda!

Register Now!


The Lake2Lake is a two-day fully supported ride from Vernon to Eagle Bay, in BC’s Okanagan/Shuswap, and takes place on September 20–21. Riders are welcome to participate as individuals or as part of a team of four, and those who fundraise may be eligible for a free jersey or ride registration. In addition, volunteers and riders who fundraise a minimum of $1200 will be entered into a draw for a trip for two to Rwanda.

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Cycling With The Brakes On

Ericka Taylor rode in our 2012 Lake2Lake and had a fantastic first day. Day 2 however was a different story. Listen to Ericka share about her experience of riding on day 2 and how it relates to Rwandan students trying to succeed in their schools in light of the obstacles they face.

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I Heartily Recommend It

Mountain biking in Rwanda

Mathias Fellenz heard about the Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda after taking up road cycling in 2010. He wasn’t sure he could do a 220km ride over two days but the idea intrigued him. One ride and he was hooked—he would heartily recommend it to anyone! (Register Now!)

Since 2010 Mathias has learned more about the ride’s sponsor, The Wellspring Foundation for Education, and the work they do in Rwanda. This past spring Mathias and his wife Lora had the opportunity to be part of a vision trip to Rwanda where their understanding of Wellspring’s work and the country’s past, present, and future was further developed.

We had a chance to sit down with Mathias in Rwanda to talk about the Lake2Lake and Wellspring’s work to empower a new generation in Rwanda:

Registration Deadline is September 12:

Register Now!

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2012 Survey Responses

We are really excited for the 4th edition of the Lake2Lake. We received Rider Survey responses from 35 riders and Volunteer Survey responses from 10 volunteers. As we’ve planned the 2013 Lake2Lake we’ve taken many of your suggestions, comments and feedback into consideration.

Riders:

You said: 54% heard about the Lake2Lake by word of mouth, 88% are likely to ride again and 97% would recommend it to a friend!
Our response: fantastic! We’d love to see you back again this year – registration opens Feb 14th. Bring a friend and check out our new Teams option.

You said: need better control when people leave at the start of each day.
Our response: this year you will enter your average cycling speed when you register and you will be started in groups, slowest to fastest.

You said: cost of accommodations at Eagle Bay Camp seems high for non-riders.
Our response: even though we have always charged overnighters what the camp charges us, we spoke with them and they reduced the overnight fee by $10!

You said: we had to move room assignments around to make sure we could stay with our friends.
Our response: make sure you register early! Priority is given for the lodge to riders by date of registration. If you have a roommate preference please enter that in the comment section when you register.

You said: more veggie options at lunch, dinner & BBQ please, and could we have food items at start line Saturday.
Our response: good idea, we have passed on your requests to Chef Todd! There will be food at the start line.

You said: it would be great to be able to communicate with others about ride sharing. Who is coming from where and needs a ride or who has room in their vehicle to take someone (or another bike).
Our response: checkout our facebook page and connect with others there.

You said: you love cycling and the idea of riding for a cause.
Our response: we encourage you to sign up as a fundraiser this year and transform education in Rwanda from the seat of your bike!

Volunteers

  • 100% said they were likely to volunteer again
  • 90% said they would recommend to a friend to volunteer
  • 80% said they would recommend to a friend to ride

Volunteers, our riders LOVED you! 94% of our riders were very satisfied with the ride support. They also said you were wonderful, had hearts of gold, and were very encouraging! We hope you and a friend will register online for this year’s ride as a volunteer or as a rider!

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We made the news in Cherryville!

The Cherryvillan - Nov 2012

Angelia Harvey sent us a copy of November’s The Cherryvillan, Cherryville’s Community News, with a story on the Lake2Lake and the ‘team’ from Cherryville.

The Cherryvillan - Nov 2012

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3rd Edition Another Success!

Richard & crew along Shuswap Lake on Day 2, 2012.

Our 3rd annual Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda was September 29+30, 2012. Over 70 riders hopped on their bikes and rode 220 kms, raising over $60,000, to help Wellspring impact education in Rwanda.

It was another huge success from our perspective. The weather was amazing the whole weekend; we had many riders from previous years; there were a lot of new faces; we had a TON of volunteers to help things run smoothly; and most importantly no one got hurt…well, except for the rider who fell while trying to unclip from his pedals at the starting line.

We took tons of photos over the weekend and have shared them on our Ride for Rwanda Facebook page (high-res versions of those and more are available on Flickr). Check ‘em out!

We’re riding again next year, hoping to build on the successes of this year and would love to have you join us as a rider or volunteer. Check back for the 2013 dates early in the new year.

Thanks to all the riders, volunteers and supporters for making this year successful. You are helping us make a big impact in the lives of thousands of students in the classrooms of Gasabo District in Kigali where we are transforming education through our School Development Program.

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Poggs Keen To Pedal For Rwandan Kids

Dave & Deb Poggemoeller holding the 2012 Lake2Lake Ride For Rwanda BAnner

The “Poggs” – Deb and Dave Poggemoeller – have become cyclists as a result of their passion to see children in Rwanda receive a quality education.

Dave and Deb first heard about Wellspring in the spring of 2008. A friend, Craig Fleischhacker, asked them to participate in acquiring building materials for the Wellspring Academy, a K-12 school being built in Kigali, Rwanda. Read more ›

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InspirED to ride

Ed Lfiton with Wellspring Executive Director Richard Taylor just after finishing the inaugural Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda
Ed Lifton with Wellspring Executive Director Richard Taylor just after finishing the inaugural Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda

Ed Lifton with Wellspring Executive Director Richard Taylor just after finishing the inaugural Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda

Ed Lifton was self-employed in the food business. Not really concerned about being involved in the community. Doing what he needed to do to keep his head above water.

Then someone encouraged him to ride in The Wellspring Foundation’s inaugural Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda.

Ed had been riding his older steel-framed bike to work everyday and thought he should check the ride out. While researching he found out the ride was a fundraiser for the Wellspring Foundation for Education: a nonprofit working to empower the next generation of Rwandan leaders through education that transforms lives. Read more ›

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