Members of the Kampala Cycling Club gather outside their headquarters ready for a day of work and training.
They ride in and around Uganda’s capital city delivering packages as part of a courier service provided by the club to raise money, give the members an income while keeping them in top cycling form.
The club was started by Ugandan cycling veteran, Yusufu Mbazira as a way of reaching out to youth from poor backgrounds.
Before, it was really very challenging maintaining cycling without having the source of income to support the cycling sport.
“Before, it was really very challenging maintaining cycling without having the source of income to support the cycling sport and we looked at what could we do to support the athletes to earn a living and also the entire community to benefit out of the sporting activities we are doing,” he said.
Mbaziira, got the idea for the courier service while on a trip to the Netherlands in 2010 when he saw messengers running errands on bicycles.
Kampala’s cycling courier service has become popular for its speed in a city where congestion often brings roads to a grinding halt.
The bicycles are also good for the environment and help to reduce air pollution in the city.
But cycling in Uganda, where there are no designated bicycle lanes and road users are notorious for breaking the rules, is tough.
The country has one of the worst road-safety records in Africa after Nigeria and South Africa, according to 2013, Global Status Report on Road Safety.
Henry Nkalubo, was forced out of work for one month due to a knee injury after he crashed into a pedestrian who he says was crossing the road recklessly.
“Other than the accidents caused by the negligent road users, there is a lot I love about this job. As a cyclist and a courier, our motto is ‘report slow riding’ we are encouraged to ride fast to deliver parcels ad that is good training for any major cycling competition. This job is preparing me to win races and when I win I earn money too,” he said.
Errands within the city cost an average of 5 US dollars and upwards of 7 US dollars outside Kampala.
The club has 30 permanent riders working as couriers and about 50 currently still in training.