Story #7: “10! Count ’em!… 10 Bikes for Cuba!”

by Jeff

Ottawa businessman Amjid Zareef – owner of Foot Solutions Stores Ottawa – and his family departed for their Cuban holiday Saturday taking ten of our donated bicycles for the Bikes For Cuba project.

Hats off to Amjid and his family for doing their part to support this special humanitarian aid program! A special thanks to Canjet Airlines for all their help. All ten bikes arrived safely in Cayo Coco.

This shipment is the biggest we have sent so far and included hundreds of pieces of extra gear including jerseys, shorts, shoes, helmets, wheels, tires, etc…all donated by caring Canadian cyclists. This brings our total up to 75 bikes successfully sent to the school cycling program in Holguin province, Cuba.

Story #6: “Looking forward to following your progress!”

by Gillian

We are so glad that we made a return trip to Cuba. Our first trip, a number of years ago, left us with such good memories of the country and of the Cuban people. I am pleased to tell you that this most recent trip in February 2011 (the same two couples who travelled there originally) only reinforced those good memories.

We spent 2 weeks at a resort near Holguin, during which time we took a trip into the city of Holguin, and also south to the beautiful city of Santiago de Cuba. We enjoyed very much seeing the beautiful countryside, and learning of the political history and the details of the everyday lives of Cubans, past and present, from our very knowledgeable guides. We had previously been struck by the beauty and the spirit of the Cuban people, and by their pride and love of their country. This was again our impression.

Jeff’s assistance when we arrived at Pearson Airport made the whole check-in process with the bikes very simple – and at no cost to us – thank you!  When we arrived in Holguin, the process again was very simple. Perhaps they have become accustomed to Canadians bringing bikes with them. Whatever the reason, we had absolutely no trouble with Customs or Security.

We had assistance bringing the bikes to our hotel transportation buses, and when we arrived at the hotel there was no problem storing them in the secure luggage room behind the main desk. The next day, my husband called the contact number Jeff gave him. Although the person initially answering the phone spoke no English, with the help of hotel staff a message was relayed to our contact who called back to the hotel within 5 minutes to arrange pickup the following day.

All in all, the experience was very rewarding. We would encourage anyone travelling to Cuba to consider volunteering to assist this most worthwhile endeavour. Looking forward to following your progress!

Richard & Gillian Shanks
Ontario, Canada