Burundi by Bike – My Experience

Burundi by Bike – My Experience

Tim took part in ‘Bike for Burundi’ 2023 – our annual fundraiser where a group of plucky cyclists take on the hills of Burundi, with stops to visit our incredible partners and see first-hand what they are raising money for. He took the time to pen his reflections.

“I first heard about the cycle ride at a GLO supporter event and listened, firsthand, to past cyclists eulogising about their experience out in Burundi …the physical challenge, but also the way in which the trip and meeting the partners had impacted upon their faith. 

So I went out to Burundi this year, expecting a significant physical challenge (I am 64!), but also to be challenged spiritually and emotionally as we saw and experienced the county’s poverty and desperate need for support and development. 

Needless to say, the trip did not disappoint. I have never cycled so far in my life. With the high temperatures, dirt and grime, coupled with the significant altitude gained each day, I was forced to dig deep and commit and stay in the game. I took each day and kilometre at a time. But we all got fitter and stronger, and encouraged each other, recognising that this was a big challenge for every single one of us. 

Simon was a great leader and encouraged us to share our own stories with the other riders and members of the team. It’s through such vulnerability that one begins to trust others, and we quickly bonded. We prayed for each other, the many partners we visited and were prayed over ourselves on many occasions. It was uplifting; it became so natural. I felt so encouraged that I could walk so close to God as we worked together as a great team. 

Travelling through the country up in the mountains, it was much cooler than I had imagined. We really did need a jumper in the evenings. The countryside is quite stunning. We saw rice paddy fields, tea plantations, and terraced hillsides cultivating every scrap of land. The roads are tarmacked and out in the countryside are in remarkably good condition. 

The hotels were more comfortable than I had anticipated, and we were fed extremely well by Eric, our cook. The logistics of the trip are so well thought out. It was reassuring to have a car out front and one behind the cyclists, leading the route and carrying tools and refreshments for the regular stops to keep us going. As we journeyed, we waved and greeted many Burundians, who cheered and shouted encouragement from the roadside. The roads are full of people walking to work and to school and also cycling carrying huge loads of charcoal, building materials, water canisters and quite often, crates of drinks in glass bottles.

The highlight for me was visiting the partners and their projects.  We saw schools, orphanages, health clinics and projects to support disabled soldiers and retired pastors. We listened to leaders as they shared their experiences, their triumphs and challenges. We came alongside them to show our support. We could see for ourselves the huge impact they were having. We prayed for them, and you could see our presence meant as to them as meeting them meant to us.

I would highly recommend you sign up for the cycle ride! It was great fun preparing for it, and raising the funds from friends, family, Church, and work. It was quite simply the best thing I’ve ever done, life-enhancing, life-changing. Perhaps I’ll see you next year!”

Find out more about the next Bike for Burundi, we’d love you to join us!

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