Cycling for the past and the future—local cyclists ride to honour the passion of their friend

What do 200 miles, 13,250 bagels, and a Rwandan school have in common? This year—quite a lot. In conjunction with the annual Seattle to Portland Bike Classic (STP) bike race, July 14th and 15th, a team of 32 cyclists will make the ride to remember the life of a young man who was killed last year in a tragic cycling accident and support the cause of Rwandan education that he was so passionate about.

This July marks the one year anniversary of Ben Farrant's death. Farrant, at the age of 25, was struck and killed by a car as he was biking home from a 70-kilometre training cyle in preparation for the Seattle to Portland bicycle ride. So, this year it seemed appropriate to honour his life by making the ride he was training for.

Cycling, however, was not Farrant's only passion. After graduating from Trinity Western University (TWU) in 2002, Farrant traveled to Africa with five friends. Calling themselves the “Safari Six,” the group climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, rafted down the Nile and spent time on the Indian Ocean. And it was during this trip that Farrant developed a more involved interest in Africa, particularly in war-torn Rwanda. The devastation of the region moved Farrant, and he later became a founding board member of The Wellspring Foundation for Education, a non-profit development organization founded by two of his friends, Richard Taylor and Jeffery Komant, who are both TWU alumni and who had been part of the “Safari Six.”

“I cannot think of a more appropriate way to remember someone that lived a full and meaningful life than this ride,” says Taylor, Executive Director of The Wellspring Foundation and a friend to Farrant. “When we put on our Team Wellspring jerseys it will be a tribute to a person that has helped set a strong foundation for the success of our work in Rwanda.”

Team Wellspring will be readily identifiable with colorful cycling jerseys, featuring the words “Twese Hamwe,” which in the Rwandan language means “All Together.” And all together, Team Wellspring hope to raise $40,000 with their bike ride to help build a new classroom in the recently constructed school, Wellspring Academy.

The Wellspring Foundation for Education, which was founded in 2003, seeks to be part of the rebuilding process of the Rwandan education system by offering training and support to Rwandan teachers and by developing sustainable Rwandan schools.

Vancouver and Langley locals who riding with Team Wellspring include Richard Taylor, Chris Schuld, Gillian Hall, Lisa Edwardson, Alex Kirstiuk, Mel Witzigmann, Mike Strain, Greg Ulmer, Dave Ogilvy, Megan Plesko, Mike Teeter, Gord Thompson, and Amy Lange.

For more information about either The Wellspring Foundation or Team Wellspring's STP ride, please visit http://www. thewellspringfoundation.com/community/events/cyclathon. The STP is one of the largest recreational bike rides in the U.S. Spanning from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR and across scenic valleys and forests, the bike ride attracts both national and international riders. This year there will be nearly 9,000 participants.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 39 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music to business, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 15 graduate degrees include such areas as counseling psychology, business, theology, administrative leadership and interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history.


Writer: Amber Butler

Last Updated: 2007-10-11
Author: Erin Mussolum