Accessibility and cycling have not traditionally gone hand-in-hand. Cost is a major barrier to entry, weather and geography can impact consistency of getting out, and not everyone has as much spare time to devote to sport. Velosolutions are changing that. By creating accessible places to ride in areas not traditionally seen as cycling communities, they are building a new community of cyclists, and in hand creating new athletes.
The Pump for Peace team is an extension of this movement. Comprised of two rider—Faranak Partoazar from Iran and Tumelo Makae from Lesotho, both leaders in cycling inside their respective countries—Pump for Peace is racing on the World Cup circuit and at World Championships in 2022. The creation of the team was a complicated process, but Claudio Caluori of Velosolutionsand 5-time Cape Epic winner Ariane Luthi felt compelled to make it happen.
“The idea of a Pump for Peace racing team has been there for a while, but we didn't actually plan on making it happen already for 2022. When Ariane found out that Faranak was struggling to register for the World Cups, she called me just two weeks before Christmas, while I was laying asphalt on a pumptrack at the Syrian border in Turkey. Why don’t we register a UCI team to get Faranak to the World Cups?” - Claudio Caluori
As more sponsors came on board, the dream became a reality. While both Faranak and Tumelo are leading cyclists in their countries, there has never been the support to allow them to compete at the highest level. Political and religious complications in addition to the aforementioned barriers make it even harder to thrive as a cyclist in these places, so to be able to sign to a properly supported team has been a unique opportunity.
With World Championships just around the corner, these two are looking forward to representing their respective countries at the highest level, and through their riding become a further source of inspiration for a new generation of cyclist.
Photos by Victor Lucas.