As the song goes; ‘Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he’ll eat forever’. Which strikes me as more than a little condescending, people know perfectly well how to fish. If they are lucky enough to live far enough away from the industrial scale exploitation of the world’s dwindling resources to find an unpolluted body of water of course.
At this time of year the road from Lands End to John O’Groats is packed with individuals and groups pedaling for good causes. Cycling seems to attract charity events but individuals and companies connected to the actual business of making and selling bicycles are no more likely to be involved in charity work than the folk who make double glazing. The cycling industry is no more given to charity work than any other.
Which is why we particularly admire and wholeheartedly support Kona’s brilliant Africa Bike programme. It’s a clever concept; Kona designed a bike which is suitable for the needs of African cyclists. And a bike designed for to be tough enough for Africa works pretty well on the streets of your average North American or European city. They sell them through their international network of dealers and for every two units sold to western buyers they send one out to Africa. They are given to health visitors, midwives, small holders to get their crops to market and the like.
The fact is; it’s a great bike. I have one myself and I love it. I have a garage of flashy road and mountain bikes at my disposal but I invariably select my Africa Bike for the half hour ride to the office. It’s not fast but it can haul a huge shopping load, happily tows the kid’s trailer without a grumble and can be locked to a railing with little risk of attracting thieves. It’ll take a full sized mountain bike tyre too. Fitted with IRC tungsten studded 1.95s it got me to work safely all through this year’s icy winter. Kona have produced a winner. If you know someone who’s in the market for a cheap to run, durable, easy to use ’step-thru’ you could do a lot worse than steer them towards an Africa Bike, it’s a worthy cause.
And a brilliant, brilliant bike.