Day One: Bikers raise awareness against gender-based violence
"As the country is going through a phase of lockdown due to COVID 19, there is an increase in gender-based violence. The ...
After an exhausting ride from Kampala to Muduuma in Mpigi district, the determined riders took a pause on their 400km journey to catch a breath, replenish their internal tanks and do a few necessary tweaks to their mountain bikes, before pedalling back into motion to complete the first leg of their expedition.
Mpigi was the first of many stops that the 12-strong team of bikers will make in the coming days as they strive to raise awareness on the need for equal opportunity for the girl child as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.
Having set off at the ACORD Uganda offices in Kampala on Monday, flagged off by the organisation's country director, Hellen Kajura, the riders appeared fit and set to complete the journey all the way to Bundibugyo in western Uganda within.
Call it a Tour de Uganda, if you like.
Their first pitstop is Mityana, where they will camp for the night, before hopping onto their mountain bikes and hit the road again on Tuesday.
The team is scheduled to ride through a total 12 towns all the while raising awareness about gender-based violence. The riders will have three pitstops in Mityana, Kyegegwa and finally Bundibugyo.
Jonathan Baguma is one of the bikers and also the executive director of Ubora Adventures, a travel and tour company partnering in the initiative.
"As the country is going through a phase of lockdown due to COVID 19, there is an increase in gender-based violence. Therefore, as men, we are cycling to create awareness," he said.
"This is to showcase that men can come and fight this vice as well."
Every year from November 25 until December 10, activists come together to campaign for the 16 Days of Activism and this year ACORD Uganda, in collaboration with UNFPA and Ubora Adventures, united to create awareness on gender-based violence.
According to the gender ministry, at the peak of lockdown, a total of 21,260 women and girls were abused in homes.
The biking activity is crowning off the 16 Days of Activism.
Take a look at how they started off day one.
ACORD Uganda offices in Kampala was the starting point for the 400km biking journey.
The mountain bikes were set, as were the men who were to ride them.
The riders did some warm-up with their machines in the buildup. The spirits were high.
They were also sure to keep themselves adequately hydrated for the task before them.
Riding 400km requires physical fitness - and a good bike and footwear too.
The men were oozing determination to raise awareness against gender-based violence, which was found to have spiked during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The weather was kind as well . . .
Once it was almost time to set off, the men lined up to be flagged off.
The biking activity from Kampala to Bundibugyo is crowning the 16 Days of Activism this year.
AND OFF THEY WENT!
Their first pitstop would be Mityana.
Steady hands, ready for plenty of sweating along the way.
Tour de Uganda . . .
It was steady progress on the busy highway as the riders remained on course.
The team was keen to put to use some riding techniques for efficiency.
Down and up they went . . .
Their first stopover was at Muduuma in Mpigi district, which allowed them to catch a breath and check their machines for any necessary mechanical attention.
So far so good.
Some required a bit of attention . . .
Drinking water? Check.
Day one was going on as planned.
And then they were back on the road to complete the rest of their journey to the first pitstop: Mityana.
Great stuff, guys!