Riders RaR 2024
Route RaR 2024
Riders RaR 2024
Route RaR 2024
Dirt, Sweat and Fever: Conquering the 1.000 hills around Rwanda
Ulrich Bartholmoes started RaR 2023 with the goal to win, but the universe had some surprised for him. He presents Dirt, Sweat, Fever, a documentary about resilience, determination and the unpredictability of ultra-cycling.
Movie premiere at 7pm on 24 October via YouTube (below)
Results RaR 2023
Finally another Race Around
Are you keen to discover Rwanda on a bicycle, but not able to join the Race Around Rwanda? We offer bespoke cycling trips, training camps and cycling themed holidays all year round through Komeza, run by RaR organizers and friends.
Visit www.komezarwanda.com and discover all the options, from full training camps to relaxed tours through the land of a thousand hills.
The inaugural Race Around Rwanda is over. Extreme weather made the course even more challenging than expected, yet almost everyone managed to reach the finish line. Find the final results here.
The inaugural Race Around Rwanda took place from the 2nd to the 7th of February 2020. It was an eagerly anticipated event which brought together 67 participants from 23 different countries to take on a challenging route across the Land of a Thousand Hill’.
While the participants gathered in Kigali there were a lot of conversations about the weather, with many trying to predict when the ‘dry season’ might actually start, and what tyres would best deal with the conditions! Despite the uncertainty from above, the race kicked off at 0430 on a dry and misty East African morning. The racers headed off to the East taking in the rolling hills close to Akagera National Park and it wasn’t long before there were some splits in the field. By 0730 Jason Black had summoned the strength to mount his bike, leave Kigali and begin the ‘catch up’, all done while dealing with severe food poisoning.
During the first night all riders experienced a large tropical storm, this was.especially felt by those out on the second gravel section! Gravel conditions were extremely challenging and the tarmac was treasured!! The only abandon of the race happened at this point, completly worn out brake pads, no spares and still 600k to go, Josh Ibbett could not see any other option than to DNF while being 2nd place at the moment.
The racers then made their way through the Volcanes and then to the shores of Lake Kivu before turning South towards Nyungwe Jungle. By the middle of the race there was a clear leader in Ultan Coyle, but 2nd-5th places were hard on his tail! Rob Gardiner put in a strong effort of 500km straight to try to close the gap. The pairs race was in full flow with 2 Rwandan teams battling out for the lead. This was made all the more impressive as it was their first ever ultra race.
After a beautiful cycle through the oldest jungle in Africa the competitors were into the final stretch of the race. The one remaining gravel section changed dramatically over a 48 hour period after heavy rain and then baking sun….but this only added to the challenge, adventure and race. All riders found their way safely back to Kigali in time for some well deserved beers at the finishers party!!!
Not every cyclist is a racer, some ar journeyers too. All participants were free to use shortcuts and alternative roads as they wished, we did not keep a ranking, but their time at each checkpoints was registered nonetheless and can be found on the livetracking page: http://rar-journey.legendstracking.com/
Known as the land of a thousand hills (Le Pays des Mille Collines) thanks to the endless ‘ups and downs’ in this stunning country. Rwanda’s breathtaking scenery and warm, friendly people offer unique experiences in one of the most remarkable countries in the world. It is blessed with extraordinary biodiversity, with incredible wildlife living throughout its volcanoes, mountain rainforests and sweeping plains. Of note, Rwanda is one of the only places in the world where you can visit the endangered Mountain Gorillas.
Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is a land locked country and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Rwanda is ranked as the 8th safest country in the world by the World Economic Forum and 11th by the 2017 Gallup poll.
This safety and stability has dramatically increased investment, tourism and economic growth over the last 10 years. The relaxed and welcoming feel will be apparent from the moment you land and get your ‘visa on entry’ and continue right through your cycle adventure!
2022 will mark the 28th year since the Rwandan Genocide which took place in 1994. Since then all in Rwanda have taken huge leaps forward in creating an incredible nation …. one that is perfect to experience from the saddle!
Cycling – Getting on 2 wheels and peddling really is a national way of life! The sturdy single speed is an ever present, and the 2019 ‘Tour de Rwanda’ saw over 1 million Rwandans line the roads to support the spectacle. Rwanda has surfaces and routes to challenge all types of rider from pure road riding on extremely smooth rides ( to the well known ‘Congo Nile Trail’ mountain bike route…
Flights – Kigali boasts some super connections to Europe and other parts of the world. There are a large number of direct flight options (UK, Belgium, Turkey, Dubai, Qatar and most of Africa) and all other countries are a short connection away!
Weather – Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than are typical for equatorial countries because of its high elevation. Kigali, in the centre of the country, has a typical daily temperature range between 12 and 27 °C (54 and 81 °F), with little variation through the year.
Some interesting facts:
Find an answer to the most common questions here
Just come and ride, it’s a friendly country! If you want a bespoke cycling holiday, get in touch with our friends at www.komezarwanda.com or join a Rwanda Beyond Bikepacking event in January or the week before the race at www.rwandabeyond.cc/bikepacking
We advice you to join Rwanda Beyond´s Bikepacking trip instead!
All countries can receive a visa on entry to Rwanda, for members of African Union, Commonwealth and Francophonie, this is free of charge – others can pay at arrival in USD or with a Credit Card. Immigration link and further information is here.
Race Around Rwanda is a self-supported event. In the spirit of bikepacking races there are no real support vehicles. However, we will have organization cars following along the route, as well as a medical team at the checkpoints, ready for dispatch in case of serious accidents.
Participants should ensure that their medical insurance covers this type of event and country.
We advise that participants drink filtered or bottled water throughout their time in Rwanda. There are many places along the route to replenish your supplies. IF you are needing to drink from an alternative water source then do use your preferred bacterial filter and purification tablets.
Most of Rwanda is populated by humans and there are no large wild animal populations outside of the national park boundaries. There are monkeys in different areas of the country. Insects and mosquitoes can be a nuisance, especially at dusk and dawn in low marshy areas, so take the needed precaution with covering up and using repellent.
Rwanda doesn’t have a culture of ‘wild camping’ and although it is a safe country with low crime rates we advise that you seek out a bar, restaurant, hotel or campsite that will be able to support you during those needed naps. Many of these locations have provision of a walled garden/area. If you choose to rest at the side of the route then be aware you will likely have quite some attention (wanted or unwanted) from locals.
We will provide you with a race map with some information about villages where you’re most likely to find accommodation (you would never be more than 50 km away from such a village). Race participants can sleep for free in some of the checkpoints.
Race around Rwanda is organised by RaR Events Ltd., a Rwanda registered organisation, ran by a Brit and a Belgian living in Rwanda.
Matthew Brokenshire is always on the look out for an adventure….the longer and crazier the better! He swam the English channel and the straits of Gibraltar in the past, but currently spends most of his hours on the bike.
Originally from the UK Matt and his family have been in Rwanda since 2017.
Simon De Schutter has been cycling for all his life, and for the past 3 years mainly on Rwandan roads, on gravel bike, road bike or mountain bike. He is passionate about bringing this sport to the land of a thousand hills.
You carry it 😉 This is a self-supported race, which means you need to take everything with you (of course you can buy stuff in shops along the way). No luggage will be transported to any of the checkpoints, but we will provide storage space in Kigali (start and finish location) for your extra bags and bike boxes.
The third edition will start in the morning of February 5th 2023
See our ‘rules’ page
There definitely will be, on the night of Friday!
You need to be at least 18 years of age at the day of the race start, and sign a note stating you are physically fit. You will also need to be able to show proof of insurance.
In the bikepacking racing tradition, there is no prize money. But thanks to our sponsors, the fastest male, female and pair will receive some nice souvenirs to take home
Yes, you will be provided with a GPS tracker, and a livetracking page will be on our website for all who wish to follow the race online.
This is a self supported race. This means: no drafting, no support cars, not accepting any help offered by supporters, and fixing your own bike in case of mechanicals. Everyone can make use of all commercially available services such as hotels, restaurants or local bike mechanics.
This is a race for gravel bikes. Although riders have finished it successfully on rim brake road bikes and on 29″ MTBs, if you ask us, take a gravel bike with 35mm or wider tyres.
See our ‘about Rwanda’ page
The race starts at 5am on Sunday with a time limit of 139 hours, which means you have to be back in Kigali by the finish party on Friday (6 days and 15 hours later), cut off times for each CP will be published later.
If you don’t make a cut off time, of course you are allowed to finish the course on your own pace, you will still receive a finish time in the ranking, although OTL.