Paul grew up just south of Mt Elgon and loved Karamoja

Words cannot describe the beauty of Karamoja or it's people.  Ride Karamoja is about continuing the work Paul loved in the  area he lovedmost.   This video  captures a bit of the beauty of  Pauls  Karamoja.  It is our goal to continue what Paul loved and we hope to bring the world to  riding this incredible region. Our goal is to   in partnership with the tourism and bike    adventure companies, together , turn the region into a world class biking area.

Every great journey begins with one small step

History of Ride Karamoja

In a million years,   there should never have been a Tour of Karamoja,  but  2 years  ago  it became reality  and last year, it became the largest cycling event in Ugandan history.  Crazier still, is that until a few years ago,  the region had  no roads, no electricity, no hope  for a better life  and it was an all day  drive from the capital of Uganda.  


15 years ago when I founded Bicycles for Humanity, a friend Steve Jennings introduced me to Paul and when Paul  heard the  Bicycles for Humanity story, he immediately joined me and along with Phil Liggett, they volunteered  their time for  numerous fundraisers to help our fledging grassroots movement get off the ground.  As  our chapter based movement grew globally, and  we delivered over 160,000 bicycles to Africa, Paul kept  telling me, we had to  bring the program to  Karamoja, Uganda.


Karamoja, was literally isolated from society,  Edi Amin wanted the Karamojong to  wear proper British clothing,   blazers, ties and   cuffed pants and when they would not, he started killing them.   They ran away, then came back  and took over  the military  outposts in the region and  took the guns.  They successfully fought of Edi Amin and when he was out of power, they turned the guns on their neighbors  and  stole their cattle.


As  the government was taking away the  tens of thousands of guns, Paul  was even more excited by the opportunity to bring bikes to the region.  Paul  moved to Uganda when he was 6, his father ran the fertilizer plant in Tororo, south of Karamoja.  As a child, Paul traveled the region for months on end with his uncle on hunting safari's.  Paul fell in love with the  Karamojong, thier incredible culture and the beauty of the region and he knew that bikes would  change their lives  and so begins the journey of Karamoja,  the Tour of Karamoja and the creation of a world class cycling  region.


Over the next  4 years  we brought 4500 bike to the region, we established  bicycle support and service  centers in every community and with the local people we kickstarted a society that until then had depended on handouts from government and NGO's.  The expeditions to the region  with Paul  to visit  the centers and ask the people what else was needed, were  simply out of this world, Paul loved Karamoja and more importantly  he loved the Karamojong.


As the bike program grew, the government kept increasing the tax's until  we could not longer afford to bring bikes.  the people wanted better  education and healthcare and so Paul and I developed and delivered a program, iempowerment.org, that has changed the lives of many in the region and all across Africa, again as volunteers.


I'm a mountain biker  from Whistler and no matter where I went in the  region, the terrain or mountain biking, downhill or gravel bikes  was world class.  Paul loved the idea of bringing cyclists to the region, to experience the incredible terrain, but more importantly, the culture of the Karamojong and the incredible beauty of the region and it's  game  parks.  


The first Tour of Karamoja has 23 riders and it was a trip, no one will ever forget, riding into Kenya and then spending the night in a cattle krall with a mixture of Karamojong and Turkana warriors.  Last October, it was more civilized,  we had established a campground on the  lands of the Tepeth people, just south of Moroto.  Paul cared about the people, protecting the culture, land  while creating opportunity that empowered the people.  this past year, we had 63 riders and our goal for next year was to make the tour longer and hopefully attract over 100 riders.  


All those that were there, decided that to honor Paul we would build out the trail network across the region from Mt Elgon to Kidepo,  and  by empowering the people, honor Paul and the region and the people he loved.

image79

Subscribe

If you want help Paul Sherwen's legacy of a better Kramoja through cycling and trail building, please sign up here