JaBig: On the road again...

Marc Gasch 18. Jul ’23 General

Frequent readers of OPEN’s updates might recall when I was first introduced back in 2019, as I embarked upon a global bicycle tour to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief, an expedition cut short within six months due to the sweeping global lockdown. This abruptly redirected me back to Montréal, my hometown, from the European leg of what was then deemed my adventure of a lifetime.

I'm Jean-Aimé Bigirimana, though you may know me as JaBig, a Canadian international DJ born in Rwanda with a fervour for cycling adventures.

My “repertoire” include a winter journey across Canada on a fixed-gear bike to set a Guinness World Record in 2016-17, a second one on a road bike this time (the U.P.P.E.R) amid the pandemic in Summer 2020 and last year’s tour around the United States of America where US $20,000 was raised for World Bicycle Relief.

Cycling, for me, began rather serendipitously as I walked past a bicycle shop on a balmy summer's day, impulsively purchasing a bike that caught my fancy. Upon hearing it was a fixed-gear, a concept unfamiliar to me, I shrugged it off, enchanted by its charm and rode it home. That’s when I discovered the unstoppable pedalling nature of my new acquisition!

As a professional DJ with bookings confined to Thursday to Saturday evenings, the 'fixie' became my weekday companion. From a humble 15 km trip to my parents' home, my rides evolved to a 120 km circuit around the island of Montréal and even extended to overnight escapades to Ottawa, 200 km away, to visit family. Quite unexpectedly, again!, I found myself engaged in the 15-month winter journey, a story now immortalised in the short documentary film, “Escape”. 

Each adventure, I assure myself it's the last, only to find myself gazing longingly at Google Maps, drawn back to Komoot and sketching out routes for the next dream adventure. This brings us to my forthcoming expedition.

From July to September 2023, I will embark on a solo unsupported journey, traversing a vast 7,500 km (4,600 miles), from North Cape, Norway – the northernmost cyclable point in Europe – to Tarifa, Spain, the continent’s southernmost tip.

This journey across Europe represents more than an adrenaline-charged thrill. It is a significant landmark in my ongoing quest to raise US$1 million for World Bicycle Relief, the organisation steadfastly committed to providing bicycles to rural African children thus enabling easier access to education.

An unusual and unique twist on this epic odyssey will be the inclusion of fellow cyclists, who will join me at various stages to share full or partial days of camaraderie and contribute to World Bicycle Relief through their participation.

OPEN has graciously provided this platform for me to invite you all to join the journey at your convenience, including a significant event taking place upon reaching its Swiss headquarters which they will reveal in due course.

If you are “open” to this, please do drop by my Instagram,visit my blog: www.bigonbiking.com or send me an email at jabig@jabig.com and we'll work out the specifics. Please bear in mind that my cycling pace is laidback, both due to my naturally slow average speeds, as my Strava will attest, and simply because I view this journey as a marathon, where pacing is key.

Thank you for your time, and do stay tuned for a mid-journey update in a few weeks to share my progress on this adventure.