Serk Cycling Beijing
If you've ever been to a major Chinese cycling race you've probably lined up against some Mongolian riders. They are usually very strong and more often than not are the riders that end up on the podium at the end of the day. The Mongolians are great bike racers - maybe its related to the harsh living conditions or remnants of the conquering spirit of Gengis Khan, whatever the reason there is some real talent in Mongolia.
What's even more impressive is that many of the Mongolians are racing on substandard and worn out equipment. While it’s great to see riders triumphing based on talent (and not equipment) I’ve also wondered how much more would be possible if they had access to better equipment.
A few years back the Finnish Embassy donated a bunch of new bike equipment to Serk. It belonged to a Finnish cyclist who lost his life while in China. His family had asked for the equipment to be donated to young cyclists. It was mostly spare parts like tubes and chains which we’ve slowly been selling and collecting the proceeds to give to the right group once we identified one. I finally found that group recently when I came across an article about the Mongolian Women’s Junior Team on Cyclingtips.com. I contacted the author Kate (an aussie working directly with the team) and decided that they would be a great young team to make the donation to.
The team of young women are training on worn out bikes and have little or no budget for replacement parts. Their big dream is to represent Mongolia in the 2022 Tokyo Olympics. Here are some quotes from the article ;
The greatest difficulty the team face is funding. The Mongolian economy is in decline. An estimated 28 % of the population lives below the poverty line, and the average annual income is under AU$6,000. This makes the purchase of even an entry- level carbon road bike a significant investment. No one on the team rides a carbon frame. They use their brakes to the limits, ride their tyres down to thread, and time trial equipment is out of the question.
Their dreams stay big. In 2017 they hope to send two riders to the Asian Road Cycling Championships in Bahrain. Longer term, their goal is to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
I know that many of you also have bike parts sitting in boxes at home so we thought we would organise a bike parts swap meet and donation drive to try and collect some more bike gear for the girls. The Bike Swap meet is pretty simple. Bring along a box of parts you no longer need - you can swap or sell them to other riders or donate them to the Mongolian Team. There is no obligation to donate if you’d prefer to just come along and swap or sell.
Serk will use the money generated from the sale of the Finnish cyclists equipment to send the products to Mongolia along with a small cash donation. We also have a box of our own products to donate and hope that others can join the drive. If you don't have anything to donate you are welcome to donate some cash and Serk will use it to purchase products on the list at wholesale price and send it with the package. If you don't have time to make it on the day you are welcome to send a donation via WeChat as well. We can also pick up your bike parts (see below).
The event will take place on Sunday 26th March and is free of charge.
If you'd like to bring a box of parts to swap / sell / donate please let Shannon know via WeChat.