Shaping a new generation and creating a better society. Club Correcaminos in El Retiro, Antioquia.

As I've mentioned here before, my interest in Colombian cycling goes well beyond that of professionals at the highest level. In fact, I could argue that the network of people and institutions that help develop riders who eventually succeed in Europe, are even more revelatory about Colombians and our character than those riders themselves. This is because—as I've also stated before—they prove that it's because these riders were born in Colombia, not in spite of it, that they are able to succeed as professionals. To that end, I'll be doing a fair amount of work to expand on this very topic with the kind folks at Manual For Speed. Some of that work will be launched next week, and I'll keep you up to date on those posts, so you can see them.

From the forthcoming series about cycling development in Colombia (Photo: Manual For Speed)

But in the meantime, I wanted to share the video below with you (in Spanish, but fully subtitled). It's about Club Correcaminos in El Retiro, Antioquia, a club that gives children the opportunity to discover mountain biking despite the fact that many of them can't afford a bike. The club's success rate is astonishing, having developed professionals currently racing in Europe and Latin America, as well as Panamerican medalists, and even professional bike mechanics. This is because the club has also started an academy that teaches kids (who would otherwise never access to any such education) how to work on bikes, turning them into professionals that now work for one of Colombia's most successful pro road teams.

As if that weren't enough, the club has also given 1,700 bikes to needy kids in Antioquia's most remote rural areas, allowing them to attend school by cutting down their commute times drastically.

If your primary interest is in road cycling, you'll enjoy this video nevertheless, since it shows how the very core of Colombian cycling works, and how differently it functions from other countries around the world. It's a uniquely Colombian construct, one that has helped shape Colombia's image both in and out of cycling.

Lastly, another reminder about the second volume of the book Cycling Anthology.

Tour de France, 1983

If you've ever wondered how an all-Colombian team of amateurs came to compete at the Tour de France, or why such teams stopped competing in Europe in 1992, I'd like to remind you that I wrote a chapter about this very topic for Cycling Anthology. You can order your copy, which contains writing by many other authors, here.