Tim Lewis’s account of the creation of the Rwandan cycling team is far from the usual rags-to-riches taleWhen Rwandan Adrien Niyonshuti crossed the line in the men’s mountain bike race at the London Olympics last year, he did so bearing both the hopes of a nation and the scars – mental and physical – of the 1994 genocide. The fact that he was thankful just to finish – in 39th place – is just one reason why Tim Lewis’s fascinating story of Rwandan cycling isn’t a typical rags to riches, triumph against adversity tale. For one thing, as this book repeatedly reminds us, life in Rwanda is rarely that neat.Lewis, however, does a fine job of unpicking a tangled narrative that begins with swathes of Niyonshuti’s family being hacked to death by Hutu mobs. As president Paul Kagame strove to rebuild Rwanda, American mountain bike pioneer Tom Ritchey – in the throes of a full-blown midlife crisis – was in the right place at the right time. His Project Rwanda aimed to produce cheap bikes for coffee farmers to transport their produce and, eventually, hoped to form a national cycling outfit that might suggest a more positive image of the …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books