Riders for Health was the vision of Barry and Andrea Coleman. Barry was working as a correspondent and feature writer for The Guardian newspaper in Britain. Andrea had worked in motorcycle racing and had been a professional rider for four years. In 1986, with racing legend Randy Mamola, Save the Children told them that one of the biggest problems they had in getting the children immunised was reaching the ones in remote village because transport was so unreliable. The Colemans went to Africa - saw broken motorbikes abandoned by aid workers and ministries of health. Some only needed small repairs - or a $3 part. They realised that something must be done about this vital but neglected piece of development. Without any background in international development they made this their sole focus. So Riders for Health was born.
Motorcycles are well-suited for harsh African landscape, where roads can be impassable with a four wheel vehicle. Barry started training programmes for riders and technicians and began to build relationships with ministries of health. They first established a fleet of 47 bikes in Lesotho that delivered health-care services from 1991 to 1996 without a single breakdown.
25 years on, Riders has ensured that 24 million people in rural Africa now have access to health care. And Riders for Health is now Riders for Health International with the development and management of the programmes firmly in the hands of African leadership – still using the original Riders’ systems which are sustainable, replicable and capable of operating on a large scale.
Two Wheels for Life has been established to continue the wonderful fundraising events within the world of motorcycles, such as Day of Champions. The funds raised will continue to support Riders for Health International and programmes in Africa, helping them to reach remote rural communities with life-saving healthcare. Two Wheels For Life - official charity of MotoGP™ and the FIM.