Much like kids all over the world, children in Zambia dream of having a beautiful bicycle to ride. So when Geoff Cross, one of our supporters offered to  ride for Malambo Grassroots at this year Levi’s Granfondo cycling event, to raise money for our Zambian community development efforts, we knew it was the perfect combination of event and cause!

On September 29, Levi’s GranFondo takes place in Santa Rosa, California. Started by professional cyclist Levi Leipheimer in 2009, Levi’s GranFondo is an annual, organized bicycle event with over 7,000 participants riding over 100 miles for various charities. Geoff Cross, will be collecting donations and riding in support of our ongoing education projects with Malambo Grassroots. See below for a quick Q&A about his upcoming ride and feel free to donate here.

Malambo Grassroots (MG): The Gran Route is 103 miles! How do you train for a ride of that distance?

Geoff, in blue, on his training ride up Mt.Baker

Geoff Cross (GC): Well, sometimes a little fear is a good motivator! In general, I like to mix it up and generally stay fit throughout the year by having fun cross-country skiing, mountain biking, playing tennis and paddling. And then, for an event like this I start adding longer and longer rides up until a couple of weeks before the event. This Fondo has a ton of climbing in the route, so I have made sure to spend time riding up Vancouver’s mountains, building up to a 95-mile ride up Mount Baker last weekend.

MG: With an 8am start and 6pm end time, how long do you think it will take you to complete the ride?

GC: If all goes really well, I am hoping the ride will last about 7 hours.

MG: What do you think is the biggest challenge riding in such a large group? And over such a long distance?

GC: There will be 7,000 cyclists, riding shoulder to shoulder and wheel to wheel, who will start the day incredibly excited but come with different levels of experience and bike handling skills. With a
healthy dose of mountain descents this also means that you have to be very attentive all day long. On the flip side, group riding is fast and the collective energy is inspiring, so you have to be careful not to get carried away too early.

MG: What type of bike are you riding and why?

GC: I ride a beautiful but older steel framed Ritchey Road Bike. While not the lightest or fastest bike in the peloton, it fits me perfectly and is more comfortable than a carbon bike because steel absorbs more of the road vibration and bumps than carbon.

MG: Even though you are riding in such a large group, will you be riding as part of a team or on your own?

GC: There are several of my friends from Vancouver and Flagstaff, Arizona riding in the event, and we will likely end up not riding together, as it is crucial that you find a pace that works for you when you are trying to complete a long endurance event to your fullest potential. Plus, with 7,000 riders, it is tough to stay together!

MG: Why are you taking part in this event?

GC: For one, there is amazing energy on a large ride like this which is enthralling to be part of. Secondly, this particular event takes place on stunning northern California roads, through wine country and even on the famous Pacific Coast Highway, for a stretch. Finally, the challenge of preparing for and completing a long event, to the best of one’s ability, calls for focus and disciplined training and offers the reward of improvement.

MG: Why is Malambo Grassroots or Zambia important to you?

GC: I think the activities of the organization provide tangible benefits to the communities it serves. What I really like is that Malambo Grassroots’ approach is sustainable, in that it is helping build local capacity around issues and initiatives identified by the local partners not imposed by foreign benefactors who, while well intentioned, are unlikely to be familiar with the cultural context necessary to get the best outcomes.


We’ll be thinking of Geoff on the 29th and wishing him all the best for a great GranFondo! Thanks for your support, Geoff. We really appreciate the 103 miles you are putting in for Malambo Grassroots!

We are grateful for Geoff’s support and welcome any further donations to continue our education work in Zambia. We are currently funding over 50 students in highschool and university and your donations will help provide for their scholarships and school supplies. To donate, please see our donation page for details. 100% of your donations go to our work in Zambia.

Feel free to add a note or comment to the donation that it is in support of “Geoff Cross, GranFondo ride”.

To read more about our current education projects, click here.

Thank you!

On Moorings Farm, Monze, Zambia

Kids in Zambia love bicycles!