Wheels of Change: A Year of Joy and Growth at Uganda’s First Velosolutions Pump Track

Uganda’s Velosolutions Pump Track with Kasanje Cycling in Ziba

In early 2023, Pump for Peace, a global initiative by Velosolutions, completed the construction of Uganda’s first pump track in conjunction with Kasanje Cycling in the small village of Ziba. This was more than just an addition to the local infrastructure; it was a beacon of positivity and a symbol of hope for the community. Over a year later, we look back at the transformative impact of this project and the exciting developments that have unfolded since its inauguration.

A Place of Happiness and Safety

The Velosolutions Pump Track in Ziba stands as a sanctuary for children, offering them a safe haven to play and explore. Sam Mutton, who oversees the initiative in Uganda along with his team, describes the track as “a place of joy.” In a country where parks are scarce and often inaccessible, the pump track is a rare gem. Open seven days a week, it provides free access to bikes, ensuring that all children, regardless of their background, have the chance to ride and have fun.

“Children use the track all the time, even during their school lunch breaks,” Sam shares. “We had to set rules to ensure they come only after school hours to prioritize their education.” The track is not just about cycling; it’s about fostering a sense of community. Children come after school and stay until it’s dark, enjoying a space where they can be themselves.

Community Impact and Empowerment

The pump track has become a symbol of fun, laughter, and hope. It offers children from financially challenged backgrounds an opportunity that was previously out of reach. Cycling, once considered a luxury or a necessity for tasks like collecting water, has now become a source of joy and freedom.

“This project is about more than just cycling,” says Sam. “It’s about creating a fitter, healthier society. We’re seeing real transformation in the community. Children who would otherwise have to grow up too quickly now have a chance to just be kids.”

Beyond the track: Building a hub

Beyond the Track: Building a Hub

The pump track has sparked a ripple effect in the local economy. Weekends see a significant influx of visitors from as far as Kampala, boosting local businesses. “Many local businesses are generating more income as people stop en route to the bike park,” Sam notes. This increased economic activity is helping families afford bikes for their children, fulfilling the dreams of many young riders.

Although the café has faced delays due to bureaucratic hurdles, it is set to open soon, initially on weekends. The project also includes a toilet and shower block, free for riders to use, and a large play area that keeps children engaged as they wait for their turn on the track.

A Vision for the Future

Looking ahead, the team is working on integrating the pump track into local schools’ physical education programs. “We are starting conversations with several schools to host PE classes and sports days at the pump track,” says Sam. “We hope to see several lessons a week, for free, with hundreds more children engaging in healthy lifestyles.”

Claudio Caluori, the founder of Velosolutions and Pump for Peace, reflects on the broader impact of these projects. “These are the most important projects for us. Seeing the happiness of these kids with the little they have is life-changing. It makes me extremely grateful to bring joy to people through what we do. When a project develops into a community hub, creating jobs and fostering a riding culture, it’s incredibly fulfilling.”

A Global Movement

Pump for Peace is not stopping with Uganda. They have recently completed a pump track in Nicaragua and have plans to build more in Ghana and Nepal, with many more to follow. This global movement continues to spread joy, create opportunities, and empower communities through the simple yet powerful act of cycling.

As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the first Velosolutions Pump Track in Uganda built with a generous contribution from Rotwild, we look forward to seeing how this initiative will continue to grow, bringing more joy and hope to children and communities around the world.