As you know, I cycle with the Moeke Spijkstra Cycling Club a few times a week. One time we cycle 40 kilometers, another time 80 and at weekends we reach the 120. I think it’s a wonderful sport, a great way to stay healthy and fit, but also definitely an ideal way to connect. And that, we have proved again last Tuesday!
When we’ve heard that a number of refugees from Eritrea, who are guided by Versa Welzijn in Naarden and Bussum, had to make their first cycling round in the Netherlands, we did not doubt. In Eritrea, cycling is a very popular sport, and we as cyclists know how much you can miss the sport. In addition, we find it a great way to help these gentlemen find their place in our district because there is nothing that connects better than a shared interest in a sport. It's important to help new Dutch people, to help them integrate and make them feel welcome. You can’t just leave that to politics, it is our duty, as a society, to do that.
So we gathered at Moeke Spijkstra for our cycling tour on Tuesday, at 19:00. The 'New Dutch' Yohannes Yergalem, Mikele Nuyuse, and Kesete Desta were already ready, and with the help of an interpreter, we've met. Then the gentlemen poured themselves into the bicycle clothing, made possible by The Bike Shop Houses, and the bikes were brought in at that moment. Mikele Nuyuse showed that he controls the sport, which comes as no surprise because in his home country he has been cycling with Daniel Teklehaimanot, the first African cyclist to wear the polka-dot jersey during the Tour de France in 2016. Last year, Daniel gave us a preview of the huge talent in Africa, and Mikele, Yohannes, and Kesete showed us that they also have that talent.
We drove our famous ‘Jaap’ ride, about 40 kilometers, through Eemnes, Bunschoten, and Amersfoort, and ended again at Moeke Spijkstra. Once arrived, we had some time to chat with Yohannes, Mikele, and Kesete (accompanied by an interpreter). The three gentlemen are becoming the newest members of the club, and we will make sure they get a good sports equipment. We are very proud of our aspiring members, and we are going to help them to achieve their goals. Five-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault once said: 'It's a matter of time before a rider from Eritrea wins the Tour of France.' Perhaps it's gonna be one of the (future) sons of Yohannes, Mikele or Kesete… Or maybe one of them? Can you imagine how proud we would be if one of them accomplished that?
There is nothing more beautiful than helping someone, and certainly, if you have a shared interest. So, find out: what do you like to do and with which ‘new Dutchman’ are you going to be connected to?