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02.19.09

TLD to Sponsor 50 Mile Bicycle Ride for Project Rwanda

March 21, 2009 Trabuco Canyon, CA

Troy Lee Designs is proud to announce it's involvement with the 3rd Annual 50 mile ride for Project Rwanda. The event is being held on March 21st, 2009 beginning at Cook's Corner restaurant in Trabuco Canyon, CA, and winding through several of Orange County's popular riding areas. The goal of this charitable event is to raise funds to supply "coffee bikes" to the coffee growers in the African country of Rwanda, who have been using wooden "bikes" (which look like something out of the Flintstones) to transport their coffee cherries from the orchards to the washing stations where they are prepared for sale on the worldwide market.

The wooden bikes currently used by many farmers are little more than glorified hand-trucks that the farmers cob together from scrap. The wheels are solid wood, usually cut from the cross section of a tree, with car treads nailed to them as "tires". There are no brakes, no drive train, and must be pushed by hand rather than ridden. The "brakes" are usually just a piece of wood with a nail through one end, pushed into the wheel with the rider's foot in order to stop. They are in a word, prehistoric.

Troy Lee Designs Territory Sales Manager Shannon Churchill rode the event last year, and had this to say: "When I was first approached to do this ride, I didn't know what to think. I went really more for the opportunity to ride some Orange County trails I haven't gotten around to riding for whatever reason. When I arrived at the event, saw the turnout, and saw the wooden bike, and the Project Rwanda calendar, it suddenly hit home what it was really about. I was struck by how supplying these people modern, purpose-built bikes with brakes, gears, and a frame that is built to carry the required load could be so beneficial. Here I was on a high-end mountain bike, doing what I would have been doing on a Saturday anyway, and yet this time it could make a difference."

The simplicity of giving someone a bicycle and improving their standard of living is amazing. "I have always thought that if we in this country embraced the bicycle as something more than a toy, we could solve a lot of the problems that even we as a modern country face, such as environmental, transportation, and health issues (like rising obesity rates)," says Shannon. "I'm sold on this cause, and I feel that riding my Yeti to help someone less fortunate than myself is the least I can do. The event is first rate, and the feeling I had when I finished the ride last year was amazing. But that was only the 25-miler. This year, I'm doing the 50, and I can't wait."

TLD was approached by the organizers of the event last year, and seeing the obvious value of the Project Rwanda cause, donated a few items for the post-ride raffle and giveaways. However, this year TLD has stepped up the commitment with a cash donation, additional product for the giveaways, including 2 full kits (shorts, jersey, gloves) for an undetermined finisher of both the 25, and 50 mile loops. In addition, TLD will create a custom jersey featuring the Project Rwanda logo, which will be autographed by several of TLD's MTB legend athletes and raffled off at the event.

"This is really a great cause for us to get behind," says Troy Lee. "We all love riding bicycles, so to have the chance to help out the people of Rwanda and give them hope for the future, well that is the best part of all."

For information about the 50 Mile Ride, visit: www.50mileride.com.

About Project Rwanda

Project Rwanda was founded by American bike industry legend, and MTB Hall of Fame inductee, Tom Ritchey after he visited Rwanda in 2005, out of his passion for cycling, a love of Rwanda's natural beauty, and the inspiring stories of hope of the Rwandan people. Tom's trip resulted in a realization that the bicycle can be an important tool in rebuilding a country, building national pride and addressing local issues facing Rwanda and other African nations. Project Rwanda is committed to furthering the economic development of Rwanda through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope. The goal is to use the bike to help boost the Rwandan economy as well as re-brand Rwanda as a beautiful and safe place to do business and visit freely.

For more information visit www.projectrwanda.org.
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