Category Archives: Africa

The XVI Iberian Congress

The XVI Iberian Congress: “Beyond mobility” on bikes and cities took place in Cascais, Portugal, from May 2nd to 4th, 2019. This annual event started back in 1996 thanks to the support of ConBici (Spanish Coordinator in pursuit of Bicycles) and FPCUB (Portuguese Federation of Cycle Tourism and Bicycle users). The Covid-19 made it impossible in 2020, and there is the prevision of continuing with it in Barcelos (Portugal) and Barcelona (Spain) in 2021 at the time I write this post.

Audiences enjoyed speeches about a variety of subjects such as improving communities to strengthen the bike movement, better accessibility, how bikes enhance economy, EuroVelo (the European bike line net to cross from one country to another without stopping pedaling), environment and health, raising cycle tourism or Velocity 2021. Moreover, participants uplifted their mood in the bike ride and local cuisine in the 3-days congress.

It concluded in:

  • The need of norms and laws in the bike building process to ensure security

  • The debate proposed bikes as part of economic accessibility and a boom of local economy in comparison of the car counterparts

  • The challenge of bikes in Africa, with special attention to the lack of bicycle infrastructures and the stigma of relating this way of transport with poverty

  • Transporting senior citizens in bikes, fro instance cargo bikes, helps benefiting local communities

  • Promoting bike use in schools makes societies less dependent of car and petrol

  • Such change is importantly improved when favorable laws and figures of reference, mainly parents, contribute

  • The congress also pointed out the need of technician training to create well prepared persons who design bike infrastructures

  • Another spot was the lack of reliable studies regarding the economic impact of bike on society and the hope of the BooST “Boosting Starter Cycling Cities”  project will solve part of it

  • Moving from car cities to decarbonized cities

  • Promoting open data acquisition in regards of sustainable mobility

  • Intermodality


Could it be possible to ride bikes on the very village which has seen some of the most impressive athletes in history like Eliud Kipchoge, Jonah Chesum, Florence Kiplagat, Edna Kiplagat, David Rudisha, Asbel Kiprop, Wilson Kipsang or Abel Kirui? And what if we add extreme conditions regarding climate and lack of infrastructures? This place is Iten, a village at 400 kilometers from Nairobi (Kenya).

Lots of runners go to Iten following the trail of their athlete stars. Some of them marvel at discovering a local riders team called Kenyan Riders. They even wonder more when checking how irregular, abrupt the terrain is for a vehicle that has to make permanent contact with the soil. This fact provoked continuous punctures, hence stops to repair them and discontinuous training. Team players could not buy high quality tires as they were short of cash. As time went by, the triathlete Rubén Gallart visit Iten as a part of his training. He saw the poor conditions of local riders and proposed himself earning money to help bicyclers buy better tires. He knew the Tannus airless tires would fit the continuous puncture problem. Thus, he contacted the company and they were delighted to being involved in the project to his surprise. The firm helped Kenyan Riders to overcome their precarious conditions. Nowadays, they train happy with the tires and dream with becoming first level sportspeople in order to win international competitions. After all, they live at 2,500 meters above sea level, and their athlete brothers are worldwide recognized because of their merits.


Cinecicleta (kind of “bike and cinema”, in English) is a pair of bikeaholic persons who love movies. Why is so special about the Cinecicleta project carried out by Isabel Segura and Carmelo López? Well, they spent two years bringing the magic of movies to remote, small villages in Africa. At their webpage (, you can see a short video to get some idea of their laudable work no matter if you do not know Spanish or French.

They rode 18,000 km (more than 11,184 miles) and made 217 screenings on white blankets in their journey. Best of all, they did so thanks to a portable cinema that carried in a bicycle trailer. Furthermore, they taught local people how to use it, how to produce electricity just by pedaling. So simple, so powerful. As a result, children faces watching a movie for the first time encouraged Isabel and Carmelo to continue with the project.

What’s more, Javier Zabala directed a documentary about their adventure in Africa that was released in April 2019. The method they followed was at least curious. The two adventurers were given three cameras in order to film the ride. As they fulled hard disks with material, they sent them to Spain. Here, Javier did the post-production work. As a result, the TCM channel was so satisfied with the documentary that decided to show it.

When journalists asked the couple what was the first thought when remembering the journey, they did not hesitate in answering: Freedom. And then explained, freedom consists in being lord of one’s time, that is precisely the drug which stimulate to ride again.