1×10: JaBig, born Jean-Aimé Bigirimana, DJ, Cyclist, Humanitarian

Welcome to 1×10, where we ask 1 inspiring human 10 questions about how they are using cycling as a force for good. Read on to meet JaBig, born Jean-Aimé Bigirimana, a Canadian DJ born in Rwanda who is planning to ride around the world to raise money and awareness for World Bicycle Relief, an organization that I love and have featured here on the blog before. I came across his posts while skimming the ‘gram and loved learning about what he was doing and the personal nature of this upcoming journey. Read more to learn about JaBig’s most memorable ride (involves fixed gear bikes and the ARCTIC Ocean!!!), his favorite bike, his plans to ride around the world over the next 5 years, and more in his 1×10 interview.

1. How / why did you fall in love with cycling?

As a kid, I learned to ride and would do so occasionally. In my thirties, I bought a fixed gear on a whim and then I discovered the freedom that comes from going fast and far.

“In my thirties, I bought a fixed gear on a whim and then I discovered the freedom that comes from going fast and far.”

2. Favorite Bike (that you own or covet)?

OPEN U.P.P.E.R which was donated by the company with components and accessories generously provided by SRAM, ZIPP, René Herse, Brooks England and Wahoo to allow me to cycle 100 000 km around the world to raise money for World Bicycle Relief. Bike fit provided by Cyclefit UK in London.

Photo Credit: Nick Ensing
Photo Credit: Nick Ensing

3. What’s the most memorable ride you’ve done, and what happened?

In 2016, I embarked on a 15-month fixed gear bicycle ride across Canada coast to coast to coast in the middle of the country’s EXTREME Winters all the way to the Arctic Ocean and to this day I have no idea how I made out alive. The epic adventure was immortalized in a short film commissioned by MEC titled “Escape” directed by Anjali Nayar. www.mec.ca/Escape

Photo Credit: Nick Ensing

“In 2016, I embarked on a 15-month fixed gear bicycle ride across Canada coast to coast to coast in the middle of the country’s EXTREME Winters all the way to the Arctic Ocean and to this day I have no idea how I made out alive.”

4. Who do you admire in the cycling world?

Lael Wilcox. How in the world does she ride such endless distances and still keep a smile on her face? Amazing!!!

5. Top tip for a new rider, or a cyclist about to take on a new challenge?

It’s all about bicycle riding not the brands, the mechanics of it, politics or anything else. The best bike to ride is the one at one’s disposal. That is how simple it is. 

Photo Credit: Nick Ensing

“The best bike to ride is the one at one’s disposal.”

6. Favorite trend or innovation in cycling?

The Internet. It democratizes information. I am new to the cycling industry but there is a lot of marketing nonsense going from brands trying to sell their products and the ability to research their claims makes for less ripped-off customers if they are able to spot hype and ignore it.

Photo Credit: Nick Ensing

7. What are you doing to use cycling as a force for good?

I am currently riding around the world to raise money for World Bicycle Relief, a charity organization that provides bicycles to disadvantaged children in African countries so that they’re able to get to school, get there faster or with less effort because I know from personal experience that education is a way out of the extreme poverty cycle.

Photo Credit: Nick Ensing

“…because I know from personal experience that education is a way out of the extreme poverty cycle.”

8. Thinking about the work you’re doing, what do you see as the potential change for people or the planet? If you are successful, what impact will you have?

I would like to be personally responsible for the delivery of over 1000 bikes to children who need it so that they are able to attend school and have a fighting chance for their future thanks to education. There is nothing philosophical about this objective. It’s all facts based therefore easily measurable which will make my efforts worthwhile.

“I would like to be personally responsible for the delivery of over 1000 bikes to children who need it so that they are able to attend school and have a fighting chance for their future thanks to education.”

9. What’s your biggest challenge/obstacle to success?

Money. The irony of raising money for charity is that it requires some expenses. The trick is to figure out how to offset them and still carry out the mission successfully otherwise I am better off staying at home and just donating money from my day job’s salary.

Photo Credit: Nick Ensing

“Money. The irony of raising money for charity is that it requires some expenses.”

10. How can people help? Where can they learn more about your work?

If you have a spare room or sofa and are able to host me, I would appreciate it. If you are able to ride with me in cities and help cycle in and out of them that would be great as that’s where most of my navigational frustrations come from.

The ultimate way is to donate to the charity that I support at www.worldbicyclerelief.org/JaBig None of those funds go in my pocket. They go straight to World Bicycle Relief who immediately work on getting a new Buffalo Bike into the hands of a child whose future depends on it.

“If you have a spare room or sofa and are able to host me, I would appreciate it. If you are able to ride with me in cities and help cycle in and out of them that would be great as that’s where most of my navigational frustrations come from. The ultimate way is to donate to the charity that I support at www.worldbicyclerelief.org/JaBig…”

Photo Credit: Nick Ensing

JaBig, born born Jean-Aimé Bigirimana, is a Canadian DJ born in Rwanda who will be cycling around the world over the next 5 years to raise money and awareness for World Bicycle Relief. When he’s not spinning records, he can be found spinning wheels around his current hometown of London, England.

Edited by John Kim. When he’s not out for a ride, John uses his expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility to help companies do well by doing good. Find him at virtcyc@gmail.com or VirtCyc on twitter or instagram.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s