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BIkes To Rwanda's aim is to provide cargo bicycles to co-operative coffee farmers in Rwanda. The goal is to improve quality of life in these communities through a bike workshop and maintenance program that provides transportation resources for basic needs

Updated: 2014-10-02T22:03:31.175-07:00


Bikes To Rwanda Appoints New Executive Director


For Immediate ReleaseBikes To Rwanda Appoints New Executive Director June 1, 2010 - Portland, OR –- Bikes to Rwanda (BTR), the international development organization providing Rwandans with sustainable transportation resources to enhance their quality of life, announced today the appointment of its new Executive Director. Brian Gilmore was selected following an extensive and thorough executive search process and will spearhead the revitalization of BTR’s bike distribution, workshop and maintenance programs. "As a non-governmental organization serving communities across Rwanda, BTR required a combination of vision, passion and management expertise in its leader," said Tom Rousculp, Bikes To Rwanda's Board President. "Brian has just this combination. His experience in international development work and the cycling industry, track record of management success and commitment to capacity building will be valued assets in our ongoing efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods of Rwandans." Gilmore joins Bikes to Rwanda with a highly diversified career portfolio that includes time spent in international development and the cycling industry. Most recently, he served as Program Manager in Sudan for the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action where he lead the organization’s efforts to establish and grow an indigenous humanitarian demining organization. "I was drawn to Bikes to Rwanda because of their commitment to providing Rwandans with the tools they need to secure their livelihoods, ensure their economic independence, rebuild their lives, and their country,” said Gilmore. “The mission, the philosophy and the values of the organization are an inspiration and entirely compatible with my personal and professional orientation—never before have I had the opportunity to combine my two greatest passions in the way that BTR will allow. I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity." "I am very gratified to have been selected as BTR's next Executive Director from a pool of highly qualified candidates," added Gilmore. "I look forward to working with the Board of Directors, the countless volunteers who have helped the organization to date, and communities worldwide to provide Rwandan farmers with the tools they need to succeed." Gilmore has worked with a cross section of public and private sector entities to forge lasting partnerships on behalf of various constituencies. His career has been dedicated to advancing peace and security in post-conflict countries, creating programs and services that promote the development of indigenous capacity to tackle obstacles that stand in the way of successful post-conflict recovery. He has worked with international, national, and state legislators to help shape policies in support of the Mine Ban Treaty and implementation of its articles. Gilmore holds a BA in International Relations from Syracuse University and is finishing a MPA with an international development focus from Rutgers University and lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. About Bikes To RwandaDuring a coffee buying trip to Rwanda in the Spring of 2006, Duane Sorenson of Stumptown Coffee Roasters had the opportunity to sit down with coffee farmers at the Karaba Cooperative. He asked the farmers what their communities needed and their response was bicycles. Upon returning home to Portland, Oregon, Duane set about mobilizing the bike and coffee communities in the city on the farmers’ behalves. By October of 2006, Bikes to Rwanda was formed with the organization’s objective to provide cargo bicycles to co-operative coffee farmers in Rwanda. The goal is to improve quality of life in these communities through a bike distribution, workshop and maintenance program that provides transportation resources for basic needs and enhances production of quality coffee. For more information please visit [...]

BTR launches search for Executive Director


Bikes To Rwanda would like to announce that current Executive Director, Clara Seasholtz has decided to move on to new endeavors beginning January 2010. Clara has held the position since the organizations inception in 2006. Clara led the way in building new relationships on the ground in Rwanda, opening four bike shops and sending 400 bikes to Rwanda. We are all proud of the work Clara has done to make BTR a recognized and successful non-profit around the world and we wish her the very best in her future endeavors.

Bikes To Rwanda is launching a search for a new Executive Director. Coffee farmers in Rwanda are still in need of bikes, there are new shops to build and stock as well as existing ones to maintain communication with. The potential for this project is just being realized and the opportunities to grow it are bountiful. If you are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity please take a moment to view the job description.

Thank you,




The Artcrank poster show in Portland on October 1st was an overwhelming success! From Charles Youel, the curator: "My best estimate is that something like 500 people came through The Cleaners and The Ace Hotel to enjoy the opening weekend of Oregon Manifest with a little free Pabst, check out a cool display of Keen and Chrome products, gaze in amazement at 29 super-cool posters – many printed by the rock stars Seizure Palace – and take home their favorites. I’m pleased to announced that thanks to your awesome work, we raised $1,000 for Bikes To Rwanda...As someone who lives for bikes and coffee, this a cause I'm proud to support." (object) (embed) The San Francisco show, October 24th at Chrome, promises to be something pretty special too. A few of our old friends will be in the mix there including Jeff Hantman, Stevil Kinevil and Willie K. Bullion as well as many other talented, local artists.

Bike To Work Day



BTR was out at the crack of dawn this morning welcoming new as well as seasoned bike commuters. Jonathan Maus from gave us a nice little nod in his piece which you can view here.

I'd like to thank everyone that stopped by the table and chatted with us. I really look forward to continuing those conversations soon as we move BTR to the next level.

Thank you for your continued support and we'll see you on the streets.

NEW! T-Shirts at

2009-03-28T10:39:27.329-07:00 started in Olympia, WA in 1999 as a way to help their friends sell their awesome handmade items online. In July of 2008 they moved to Portland, OR and that's where we found them. Bikes To Rwanda is proud to say that is the exclusive seller of BTR gear. We hope to have cycling caps available soon. They will be handmade and screened in Portland by Little Package.
So, go check them out and while you're there take a look at some of the other great stuff they carry including Queen Bee bags out of Portland, Nikki McClure from Olympia and McSweeney's.

Also, stay tuned for upcoming BTR events in Portland and the Bay Area this summer.

PDX Cafe Bike Tour!


(image) Bikes to Rwanda is happy to present a Portland tour of cafes in conection with the United States Barista Championships this Thursday and Friday, March 5 and 6th. The bike tour will showcase some of the finest cafes in P-town over the course of two day of riding. Thursday's tour will start at the Oregon Convention Center at 3:00 pm and will wind through northwest portland and end in southeast at the Bakery Bar on southeast Water Ave at 6pm just in time for the welcome to portland party.

Day two will also start at the convention Center and sample some of the finest northeast portland coffee house flavor. Wrapping up at the downtown Stumptown cafe at 6pm before a final ride to the semi-finalist's happy hour at Holocene in southeast PDX.

The ride will be open to everyone and is free to everyone. Please come and tour our fabulaous city by bike and ask us about Bikes to Rwanda.


Healthy People, Healthy Places


I spoke in Richard White's Healthy People, Healthy Places class again, this is the 5th time one of use from BTR has presented in this class and the students, all sophomores, always have great questions. 

This time they were working with logic models and using the models to form their questions to me. They wrapped up with an Output vs Outcomes listing exercise that I took notes on and that showed that we are on the right track. Essentially our Outputs are the bikes shops, quality coffee and increased income. Our Outcomes are increased quality of life, higher prices paid for coffee and local economic stimulus. 

Our next class presentation will be at Lincoln High School and we will be talking to the International Studies group on campus. That's February 25th. That evening we will be tabling at the screening of As We Forgive, a documentary about healing the wounds caused by the 1994 Rwandan genocide. 

WEND Magazine + Bikes To Rwanda



If you haven't had a chance to read the piece about BTR, written by staffer Anna Brones - it's in the newest issue of WEND magazine, a Portland-based adventure/outdoor/epic/chill/real-people type of periodical edited by our good friend Ian Marshall, then you should check it out on newsstands right now. You can find them online here. And pick them up nationally at these fine retailers.

Also, if you subscribe to this amazing read and use the code "BTR", Bikes To Rwanda will receive $ for each subscription! Thanks WEND.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying whatever weather mother nature is throwing your way. We're racing cyclocross out here in Portland and enjoying some sunshine. So go for a ride, surf, ski, skate or just take a walk for a change and read a good magazine when you get home.


Reno Poker Run - This Weekend!!


Walden's Coffee House in Reno, Nevada
is hosting a fundraiser for BTR this Saturday, October 25!

Chalk full of exciting activities from bikes to coffee to beer and music!

Thanks to Joey and Tony and everybody at Barefoot Coffee.

Walden's Coffee House
3940 Mayberry
Reno, NV 89519

12noon - 5pm, this Saturday.

If you are in the area, hope you can make it. Should be a great event!!

Bikes to Rwanda & Ira Ryan Cycles at Oregon Manifest


This great event is bringing some of the most incredible handmade bicycles from around the area and beyond. Including BTR's good friend, Ira Ryan of Ira Ryan Cycles. We hope to see you there. We'll be sharing the BTR story and raising some money with all the enthusiastic bike geeks in attendance.

Event is Friday, October 10 & Saturday October 11
Leftbank Greenroom 1618 N Vancouver & Weidler
10am - 7 Friday, and 10am - 6 Saturday.

Other activities for the weekend include:
Friday night Kickoff part at Weiden & Kennedy

Saturday night Rapha Roller Races at the Left Bank Building (NE Vancouver & Broadway/Weidler)

Sunday - Cross Crusade

Benfit Happy Hour, Film Screening



Greetings all!
Been out of touch, getting things cleaned up after returning from my trip.
So begins the Fall/Winter event push to raise the dough for coffee farmers in Rwanda.
Those of you in the greater Portland area...
We'd love to see you!

Check out the details here.

This Thursday!
Plan B, Portland, Oregon
5pm-8pm Happy hour
8th & Main SE
*pic - coffee seedlings at the Coopac Washing Station, Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Time for Action - Karaba Update


(image) Had a great first week. Working with Simeon Ngendahayo, Agronomist from SPREAD that has been a great help as liaison with cooperatives in the bike program, and Douglas Mutabazi parts and distribution contact for Project Rwanda - we started at Karaba, spending most of the day visiting with cooperative management, the bike shop/loan manager Safari, and included four coop farmers to provide their assessment of the bikes as owners.
General feedback brought us a great picture of what needs work and what is going very well as the Karaba bike shop reaches its
1 year anniversary in business!

Things are going very well. The mechanic that is dispatched for serious repairs works at a nearby village, making a trip in to the cooperative when needed. Safari is keeping separate accounts for parts and loan repayment, this seems to be the best scenario. Parts revenue is used to maintain parts inventory, and the loan repayment has been going well. In the past few months they have begun bike repossession on those loans that are in default. These bikes will be refurbished and sold at a discounted price.
Wear is showing that the rear wheels on these bikes are taking a beating. The weight being transported on the back rack is wearing down brake pads faster than perhaps anticipated. Farmers need to be aware that if pads are not replaced regularly, damage will occur to the rear rims and this will ultimately require replacement of the wheels.

This message is being distributed to farmers, and we are ramping up the availability of these replacement parts. The education and increased inventory proves to alleviate this issue.

Attended a preliminary planning meeting for a SPREAD sponsored Health Program that will be rolling out in coming months. I am interested to see if BTR can't be involved somehow. More to come.

Planning Day


(image) Working with SPREAD staff today to line-up details for this weeks activities. I'll be spending a good amount of time collecting data from all the cooperatives that we have pledged to and have already worked with. Starting tomorrow with Karaba. Our introduction into the bike program, it will be great to assess the progress/issues with not only the bikes themselves, but the bike shop at its one year anniversary.

I will be combining the data collected with that of SPREAD and putting together a detailed assessment of the program when I return. Looking forward to having this litmus test more formally available for our contributors, partners and anyone interested in our project.

The weather is mild, overcast with a slight breeze. I hope for some sun this afternoon.

*market in Butare.

Saturday in Butare


Arrived Friday evening into Butare. After nearly 42 hours of travel, happy to be in one place.
Awoke this morning to a warm breeze, the Rwandan haze in the sky that I have a hard time describing. Spent a nice quiet morning getting settled in and unpacked. The Schillings are my hosts, Butare will be home base.

We went into town to look for some clothes and shoes. The market is an adventure. I really enjoy the saturation that is present for all five senses. The thick smells of dirt, soap, baby powder and many bodies in the sun. As we walk through, it isn't uncommon to have a mysterious hand stroke your hair, hand, clothing. I didn't find this at all intrusive, just curious. When I am here I often try to remember how well my expectations of a small African city held up to what is really here.

Setting down with the calendar to map out the next two weeks, the route, priorities.
Looking forward to some great productivity.
As with last trip, having difficulty uploading pictures. Working on a solution.

Dogs love BTR!!


Meet Midori, 12 year old super model. Looks like she approves of these cedar stuffed dog beds.

A new partnership from SoCal. Green Beds - creates dog beds out of burlap green coffee bags. I was contacted by these lovely folks who are looking to donate a portion of their proceeds to BTR with the sale of each of these one of a kind bags. Thanks Jenavieve, looking forward to this partnership.
Check out their site... inexpensive and totally rad!

Have bike, will donate??


It is fairly often we are asked about bike donations. Unfortunately our program does not have the capacity to accept, refurbish and ship used bicycles to Rwanda, however...
there are options for you the motivated used bike owner. CHECK IT OUT:

1. You could sell the bike, donating a portion or all of the proceeds to us. We'll take that money and funnel it into our programs. Give that old bike a new home here in the states and help the farmers in Rwanda get new bikes and bike shops.


2. Check these people out... International Bicycle Fund
they are motivated to refurbish your bike and send it out into the world to be used
in developing countries in dire need of transportation resources.

3. Village Bike Project, also totally great people working mainly in Western Africa, Ghana.


Canadian teens bake for BTR!


(image) During the months of April & May, the 11th graders in Sharon Kemble's homeroom class at West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver, BC set to holding bake sales to raise money and awareness for BTR.

"...we've struggled in the past looking for a project that we could dedicate ourselves to, and we truly feel that we have found a great organization to help..."

And help they did!
We received a great letter of their plans to continue this on next year an a check for $1462.79!

"...a program which encourages the economy and more importantly raises the standard of living of the world's poorest should be our number one priority."

We are eager to continue to work with these passionate young adults from Vancouver.
Thanks again for all your efforts!

BTR, Ritual, MTV!!!


Back in the saddle, lots of work to be done!

Officially raised just over $2,000.00 dollars on the 1st annual BTR Road Trip!
Thanks to my co-hort Sarah Allen board member and editor of Barista Magazine for all her help, fantastic reporting from the field, and for putting up with me for over a week! Hee hee

We had a great time, made new friends, spent time with some old friends and in the end - spread the work of BTR across the NorCal countryside.

Thanks again to our sponsors, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Crema Cafe & Bakery, Barista Exchange, Chris Baca, Lava Java, Dog River Coffee, Coffee Plant, The Albina Press, Brewed Behavior, The Fresh Pot, Verite Coffee, Espresso Parts, Chris Davidson and Leanne & Steve Allen.
(Sarah's parents)

Carl Brown of Courduroy Media came to the Ritual Ping Pong event, check out the piece he put together on the think.MTV site... pretty rad!

I heat up, can't cool down...


It is 100, at least here. Whew!!!

I have been a little short on the blog entries since our departure. Old little laptop.

Thanks to Sarah for keeping up on her end. you can read much much more at

Looking forward to a comprehensive summary of the whole trip soon.

We are in Santa Clara/San Jose with our buddies at Barefoot for the night.
Tomorrow its off to SF to Ping Pong it up at Ritual on Valencia.

1st Annual BTR Road Trip


Hey Sarah...
are you ready yet?
(image) we're packing up the Prius,
we'll be blogging all the way.

BTR 2008 Road Trip
Episode 1... Norcal

we have an exciting trip ahead, check it out...

J U L Y 3
Portland to Eureka
pass the night Eureka

J U L Y 4
Eureka to Fort Bragg
Mendocino 4th of July activities, Thanksgiving Coffeetour
pass the night Fort Bragg

J U L Y 5
Breakfast event, Mendocino Bakery, hosted by Thanksgiving Coffee
Lunch Healdsburg, Flying Goat Coffee
to Napa
pass the night Napa

J U L Y 6
Ritual Napa event
pass the night Napa

J U L Y 7
Napa to Taylor Maid Farms
pass the night Santa Rosa

J U L Y 8
Strauss Family Creamery
to SF
pass the night SF

J U L Y 9
Blue Bottle
4 Barrel
Ping Pong for Rwanda, Ritual, Mission
pass the night SF

J U L Y 10
Pacific Bay Coffee, Walnut Creek
Davis for burritos
to Sacramento - Temple, Ride On event, bike poker run
pass the night Sacto

J U L Y 11
to Roseville, java J's

...head home! **drawing done in Minneapolis at Cafe Imports party

It's hot! So was the action at the auction yesterday!


(image) Thanks to all that came out and took part in the action on the
hottest day of the year!
The final dollar amount is not yet in, however we are pleased that nearly half the work sold, and that we were able to be a small part of the Cycle Seen mission.
Frantically getting ready for the NorCal road trip.
All the details to follow.
We're gonna be all over, spreading the word and having a blast!

Eat a popsicle, ride your bike!

*photo, 'Kay Bike', Mark Toal

Benefit Silent Auction


Support Bikes to Rwanda and the
Portland Bicycle Culture in one stop!

Saturday, June 28 4-6pm
Photography exhibition
Silent Auction

Stumptown Division Cafe
4525 SE Division Street

Hope to see you there.

For more information, check out and

Efforts and Funds from all over!


The masses are in full force this Spring raising awareness and funds for BTR in nearly every corner of the US.

Since the beginning of the year, check out what's been going on...

February -
MidAtlantic Barista Jam at Cosmic Cup in Pennsylvannia - raised $2500
Thanksgiving Coffee Roasters effort for Musasa Bike Shop - raised $3000

March -
Western Regional Barista Competition, hosted by Pacific Bay Coffee - raised $3000

April -
Octane Bike Race and Rwandan Coffee event in Atlanta - raised $1500

May -
SCAA & USBC in Minneapoilis, Barista Guild - raised approx. $1000 we're looking to the Summer and all the activities we have planned.

Stay tuned for information about 2008 BTR Road Trip - Norcal Style!
July 3 - 13
Sarah Allen & Clara are taking it on the road!

If you would like to support BTR, contact us,

Short trip - big action #1


I hope to spread this over-due update over a few posts. Finally back in the land of fast and reliable internet. As said before, the Musasa shop, while not totally complete is on its way and will do great in servicing the region it lies in.
Three other projected locations for shops this year - Bufcafe, Bukonya (Rusenyi), and Gashonga. Each with their unique challenges, we hope to begin the rollout on these withing the next 2-3 months. I am quite excited about this increased action on BTR's part.
Each region proves to be excited and eager for bikes, parts and of course, the shop.

pics: Musasa shop, May 21 - nearly complete, inventory of tools Rich & I with coop managment.

Musasa Bike Shop Update


Not knowing what I would find when I arrived, I am pleased to say that the Musasa shop is well on its way to completion. We ran into some accountability issues with the budget, but after some stern negotiating, the cooperative and BTR came to an agreement about how to finish the shop and get it up and running, stocked with tools and parts.
You may notice the shop is quite a bit larger than the one at Karaba (our first shop)...
this was part of the issue. We will be helping out a bit more financially, but the coop will take most of the responsibility to complete the structure.

By explaining that this model will be used at cooperatives all over Rwanda - we
were able to have these farmers show some pride in getting the thing open. We left tools tools of the most necessity. Rich Whitekettle from Chris King made this visit with me, helped out a ton. Thanks Rich!

After this meeting, SPREAD contact, Simeon and I have decided that there should be two sizes of shops (one to handle larger coops with more bikes and the Karaba model). By having this standard, with budgets, hopefully we won't have as many surprises.

Pictures to come, connection is scarce and a bit weak.
Best to all!