Help Kenyan racer get back in the saddle

Bikes & lots more looted in post-election violence

If you think fitting in riding and training around your hectic life is hard, spare a thought – and maybe more – for Kenyan mountain bike racer Morris Otieno.

Otieno is one of the victims of Kenya’s recent civil strife. He was away for a new year holiday in the Kenyan district of Kisumu, which he describes as his homeland, when violence erupted in the country in the aftermath of December’s disputed elections.

Kisumu was the scene of some of the most violent protests and Otieno was unable to get back to his home in Naivasha in Kenya’s Rift Valley province until January 7. What he found then has put his mountain bike racing on the back burner for a while.

“I could not believe my eyes when I find my house was completely looted by  thugs,” Otieno wrote in an email to his long-term UK sponsor Cyclescheme Ltd. “I have to start a new life.”

Otieno lost almost everything: “motor cycle, gas cooker and fridge, 2 mountain bikes, 15 trophies, 2 sets of sofa sets, 1 computer, 1 21in TV set, 4 suit case,  1 rear wheel for my race bike, my indoor trainer, important documents, utensils, wall units, cupboards,  laptop and many more.”

Some 600 people have died and 250,000 fled their homes as a result of claims that the election was rigged in favour of President Mwai Kibaki.

Otieno says that the situation in Naivasha  “was not as bad [as]  Kisumu, Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret, [or] Narok” which have all seen violent clashes between supporters of President Kibaki and opposition  leader Raila Odinga.

If any BikeRadar readers would like to help Morris out, Richard Grigsby at Cyclescheme is coordinating donations. He can be contacted at richard@cyclescheme.co.uk.

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