#pumpforpeace Pump Track

Roma, Lesotho

Nestled in the majestic Maloti Mountains in the middle of South Africa, lies the high altitude, breathtaking and landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho.

Velosolutions built #pumpforpeace’s first pump track in the country at the Roma Trading Post. Although still mostly rural, Roma is Lesotho’s university town and home to over 15 primary and high schools while being just 40km from the capital city, Maseru.

Now almost two years since its completion, the pump track has become the base for successful self-sustaining community development, boasting, a locally run bike shop, events, the training of athletes and bike rentals to kids in the area.

Velosolutions partnered with Lesotho Sky in this exciting venture, who in turn partnered with the Mikes Bikes Africa Foundation to deliver affordable bikes to the new track in Lesotho. There is a “free-to-use” fleet of mountain bikes and BMX bikes for anyone who cannot afford to own a bike, signalling the start of a true community development project for the area. Always all inclusive, everybody in the community is able to trade skills or labour such as bicycle repairs or track cleaning – for the use of a bike, gaining valuable work experience and knowledge in the process.

Lesotho Sky trained and educated the bike shop employees on bike repairs. Thanks to that, they can maintain the rental bikes and also help the locals. “It is important that an initiative like this is self-sustaining,” says Darol Howes & Christian Schmidt from Lesotho Sky. “Having the support from foreign countries to build infrastructure and to educate and train people is much needed and appreciated. Afterwards, the local economy has to support itself and should not rely on charity. Only this way will it be a sustainable project.”

Tobias Steinigeweg’s mere dream of shooting the now award-winning documentary “Following the Horsemen” with Claudio Caluori and Kevin Landry has led to the construction of the first ever #pumpforpeace track. In true African spirit, the opening was celebrated with a show of music in #pumpforpeace style. If there are music and wheels, there is definitely, heart.

The Roma Bike Hanger

Not long after Lesotho’s first Velosolutions Pump Track was established in Roma, the bike shop “The Roma Bike Hanger” was opened just 100m away from the track. Operated by two young men, Mmeke and Pitso who look after the bikes on a day to day basis and the organisation of the youth riding, basic skills development and keeping the track clean and well maintained.

The Roma Bike Hanger offers mountain bike tours for the guests of the Roma Trading Post Lodge, together with the sales of the bikes this pays the wages of the employees, maintains the shop and finances the future shipment of more containers with bikes and equipment.

Events – Then, now and beyond

In May 2018, a year after its completion, the Velosolutions Pump Track in Roma hosted its first big event in a worldwide event series – the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship making Lesotho one of 21 countries across the globe to host one of the African qualifiers. Excellent performances and a true show of spirit and development from the local riders showed a top 8 result for 4 of the local riders from a field of 45 riders in total. Roma Trading Post Lodge, Lesotho Sky and Sky Gate Tours & Adventures have joined forces to establish the Sky Cycling League which will now feature a regular event series to further progress the sport, community spirit and upliftment.

2019 will see the next step for this unique project with not only further development for local upliftment for pump track and music but truly encapsulating the belief of #pumpforpeace through clinics, workshops and creating viable small businesses in all applicable sectors.

Sponsors and special mentions

The first Velosolutions #pumpforpeace Pump Track for Lesotho plus the concert, wouldn’t have been possible without the support of generous people and organisations. Thank you!

Do you have a vision for a project like Roma that makes cycling more accessible? Share it with us!