Friday April 4 2014

Motorcycling to help the needy



As defined by one of the members, Peet Coetzee, Uganda Bikers Association (UBA) was started in 2003 by a group of motorcycle enthusiasts, both local and expatriate, who realised that while riding for fun, they could also ride for a cause.

The bikers hit the road once in a while on fundraising campaigns to support orphans affected or infected with HIV/Aids.

“UBA has over the years promoted behavioural change as a means of controlling the spread of HIV/ Aids and rendered financial assistance to orphans affected or infected with HIV/Aids, while practicing safe motorcycling, through Uganda and other countries in sub-saharan Africa,” Coetzee wrote for the Eye Magazine, South Africa in 2012.

With the assistance from their sponsors, the bikers have been able to make contributions towards facilitating the education of the orphans of the Outreach Initiative of Mbuya Parish, Kampala.

In 2012, the bikers also provided financial assistance towards the completion of St Joseph’s School, Kireka, where a number of orphans receive education.

Over the years, the bikers have adopted reliable monster motorcycles of at least 400cc capacity. Owning one of these adventure bikes that cost beyond Shs10m is a pre-requisite for joining the association.

“Joining UBA is strictly on voluntary basis and so is participation in our events, but one needs a good bike too,” Lira Municipality Member of Parliament Jimmy Akena, who owns a Honda CBR 1000RR, says.

Akena, who is a member of UBA and a regular at the association’s meeting that take place at Cafe Javas at Nakumatt Kampala every Sunday morning at 10am, has already recruited some members of his family into biking.
“My children compete in motor cross championships and I am there to support them whenever I can. My family is crazy about bikes,” he says.

Working in cooperation with the commissioner of the traffic police, UBA endeavours to promote safe road use among other road users by always travelling in full protective gear, which includes helmet, padded jacket and pants, as well as boots and gloves.

In some of their biking adventures, in 2004, they travelled 6,027km from South Africa, traversing Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, spreading the message of behavioural change as a way of curbing the spread of HIV/Aids at venues arranged by the ministries of Health of the various countries.

That trip attracted support among locals of the various countries, while former Tanzanian President Ali Hassan Mwinyi and legendary vocalist Yvonne Chaka Chaka were some of the key figures that associated with the bikers during the trip.

In 2013, the bikers organised an auto-show, in conjunction with Uganda Motor Industry Association on April 6, at Kololo Airstrip. Twenty five per cent of the proceeds went to the aforementioned Outreach Orphanage centre of Mbuya.

The bikers are also regular participants in the Nairobi Concourse d’ Elegance motor shows. In last year’s edition of the aforementioned motor show, the riders met with their Kenyan counterparts Jubilee Riders, whom they invited to Uganda for breakfast during their Kenya @50 Jubilee Ride across the South and East Africa

Meeting Kenya’s Jubilee Riders in Uganda

The Jubilee Riders met with the UBA riders at the Oasis Mall in Kampala on January 25, where they had breakfast together before the UBA riders escorted them out of Kampala upto the Equator crossing line in Masaka on their way to Rwanda.

“We met the Ugandan bikers during the Nairobi Concourse d’Elegance motor show and they asked us to meet them when we come to Kampala, so, here we are,” Jubilee’s Nick Korir said.

The Jubilee Riders had come to Uganda as part of their 22,000km trip from Nairobi to Cape Town, South Africa, and back to Nairobi. The Jubilee Riders were traversing East and South Africa in a bid to raise Ksh15,000,000 (about Shs 430 million) to sponsor 50 students through four years of high school.

The team
The team included Sarah Mwangi-Githinji, Nick Korir, Jason Runo, Faith Mamicha and Danson Mutunga. Others were Nick Kiplagat, George Mwongela and Moses Nderitu.

According to UBA chairman Franco Masetto, the connections established with the Jubilee Riders will only help them move their objectives and promote UBA beyond Uganda.Uganda Bikers Association members

Name Country
Jimmy Akena Uganda
Patrick Bahemuka Uganda
Arthur Blick Uganda
Donny Donato Laboke Uganda
Ibrahim Vuni Uganda
Harry Kaboyo Uganda
Isaac Kaluusi Uganda
Paul Kiddu Uganda
Francis Kirago Uganda
Michael Junior Uganda
Seruwo Mulungi Uganda
Edgar Mbabazi Uganda
Enzo Amato Italy
Pietro Averono Italy
Franco Masetto Italy
Ryan Fergal Italy
Stefano Sormanni Italy
Nic Coetzee South Africa
Peet Coetzee South Africa
Leo Fowler Alaska
Rainer Holster Germany
John Mancari Canada
Micky Winther Denmark