KAMBA Karamoja Mountain Bike Association

When I asked Steve Andrews to join me to help design and lay out trails in Karamoja, Steve immediately knew that to grow,  a mountain bike association managed by the local riders and trail builders   had to be registered and in place.  The initial trail builders were super keen and this is now in place and   we invite all trail builders globally tom come, stay with us, share ideas and help us together  build the  Warrior Trail network   across the region into a world class indigenous  biking   destination

Find out more about Kamba

Trail Building and the Warrior Trail Network

World Class Biking plus incredible culture

For the last  7 years, Paul and I  kept looking at Mt Moroto and thinking that it  had the potential to be a world class mountain biking and gravel bike  area and destination.   Great trails, incredible culture and  the most beautiful  game park in Africa  would attract a new generation of   people to come , explore and enjoy Africa in a new way.  While driving   through the region south of Moroto,  we  climbed onto a ridge and we knew, it was the perfect place for a camp and the  start of a trail network.  Paul sat in  the truck  enjoying the  vast spectacular scenery and I hiked  up to the top of Mt Moroto, exploring the potential of the region for mountain biking.  I knew we had found the   right terrain and Paul had found the  perfect camping place for the second  Tour of Karamoja and a  base camp that would inspire all, while becoming a  working and empowering legacy for the local Tepeth  people.

Paul is about doing things right,  being  professional and respecting and honoring the people, their culture and way of life.  The Tepeth, were not Karamojong, but members of the Teso tribe and as the  Karamojong expanded thier terrain in search of better pasture lands, they  forced the Tepeth to move up  into the mountains and  they only started to come back to the  lowlands once  peace came to the region.  More than any group in Uganda or Africa, they were the most marginalized and had  the least  opportunity to create a better life. It just so happens that their  lands were some of the very best for  mountain biking in all of Africa.

Once  we decided that  the  location was right, we began meetings with the chiefs, the elders and the local community members to explain  that we wanted to come and bring others to their lands to share it's beauty.  We did not want to take the land, mine it or cut the tree's, only to ride,  enjoy the beauty   and to pay them for the privilege .   We then talked about how it would create jobs for the people building trails, youth could develop the skills to guide and all riders entering the  area would pay a fee to the community.  The camp   we would  set up would  be managed by them, and again, we would pay and others that would come would pay for the privilege  to ride Tepeth and the   Warrior Trails.  

Paul was at his best, explaining,  telling stories in Swahili and his limited knowledge of Karamojong, it took a while, but the  elders and then the community finally understood, but  they remained confused, why we would you  ride over the mountain when there was a perfectly good road around the bottom of the mountain. With having  built Bicycles for Humanity and experienced the power of mobility and the impact on rural communities, iEmpowerment and the   power of  education and healthcare delivered on phones and tablets, we knew that mountain biking and the spin off effects of trail building  and  tourism would  help empower a very marginalized  tribe and help them on the road to a better life. More than anything, this  was the most important thing to Paul,  to respect their culture and provide opportunity that   would empower them for generations to come.

With the  second Tour of Karamoja about to start, we thought it might be a good idea to   show up early, map out and  build   the trail network.  I asked a friend Steve Andrews from Whistler to come over and help me  lay out trails, teach the skills to build the trails and in 2 weeks,  create a  riding area everyone would be proud of.  We arrived,  with the locals we walked the trails,  we hired about 60 of them, they were incredible workers  and  the more  they saw us riding the  better they got at understanding how to build trials.  

The second tour was an incredible success, the local people loved being a part of the event. Watching  my friend Paul  Sherwen work with  everyone   from the chief down to the youth cutting the grass, watching  him train people, encourage them to be the best and acknowledge their efforts was one of the highlights of my life.  I have never seen Paul happier than   when  we had completed the   riding facility, the camp and everyone, community and riders shared  an incredible  never to be forgotten experience.

 To fund the  initial  trail build, we sold Tour of Karamoja jerseys and  the profit from every jersey paid a trail builder for a week.  To put things in perspective, we were paying $2.00 a day, a very big wage in this area, we needed about 60 people and over 400 showed up wanting to work.     Since  October, Steve and the local  team have started  a mountain  bike association, Karamojabike.org, and   we are actively fundraising   to  continue to build out the trail network until  one day, it is   the crown jewel of mountain biking globally. 

Who would have imagined, a world class indigenous mountain bike facility, in the middle of nowhere, with   a people and culture second to none and the world's best game park, Kidepo Valley  in the north of the region.  Riders are already coming from  all over the world to ride the region and we have  only just started.

We invite you to come to the  3rd Tour and experience the  region Paul loved, if you are inclined to want build trails,, we invite you and if you  just want to be a part of something very special and help us  build out the  vision Paul had for the region and it's people, we invite you to support us with the purchase of one of our  fundraising items.

Paul and I believed that Karamoja, would Lead Africa Forward and  bringing  tourists and mountain bikers here, while exporting skills and  a model of grassroots empowerment  to all in Africa  I believe is a fitting tribute to Paul and a legacy all of us that love cycling can be proud of.


Grassroots Trail building empowering an entire region

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