We were lucky enough to have Milton join us for our several days in Gaborone. He has an uncle who lives in Gabs and travels back and forth so he’s able to make the trip quite easily. It was great to see him and check in after his first year of operating. From the beginning, we knew Milton was special and we had high hopes for his shop. In the first year, he has not disappointed! He has successfully sold through his first container, and has been working closely with Rob and Terry of Bicycle Recycle to stay restocked. He has so far taken several additional bike deliveries from the Gaborone warehouse, and he combined his visit with us with a buying trip. He and Rob selected the 40 bikes from what remains of the last container, and we loaded “The Beast” for Milton’s return trip. He also has a previous 40-bike order waiting at the Zimbabwe border and will use the Beast to get those up to Bulawayo as well. He pays on time, and he is careful with what he orders – enough to service his customers, but not so much that he gets overloaded. He’s very happy to have good stock going into the holiday season, which, like everywhere else on the globe, is good for retail businesses.
In addition, Milton has formed a cycling club to get some of the local youth involved in the sport, and he has spoken with the Zimbabwe Cycling Association about getting some of these guys hooked up with the national team. If you remember from last year, we met two of his local racers, PK and Nkulumo. Nkulumo has replaced PK as the local fast guy, and has gained so much notoriety that he has been lured away to another team. Milton is certain he can get him back…
After getting the overall report, our first question was whether “Precious” ever got his bike. (Precious was our favorite Bulawayo police officer – find out more by reading back to the Zimbabwe posts from last year.) Milton confirmed that Precious had indeed finally saved up enough cash, and is currently the proud owner of a sweet new ride. All the other cast of characters are doing well - Big Mike is still helping out Milton with the more difficult repairs, and Milton his returning the favor by supplying him with spare parts. The Joiner did finally finish the shop and while we are still waiting for pictures, we hear it looks great.
MK Cycles has done so well, in fact, that Milton came to us with a proposal to add new locations. He requested help in adding a store near Victoria Falls and one on the capital city of Harare. We all discussed it in detail over several days and decided to focus first on Harare because the market there is much larger and much more in need. It fits better with the mission of the Foundation to get bikes in the hands of Harare residents who really need them, rather than the tourists visiting Vic Falls. We’ll keep you updated as those plans progress, but we think Milton is poised for much success in his future.