07 January 2011

World Bicycle Relief

In most industrialized nations around the world, the bicycle represents a choice. We can choose to lessen our environmental footprint and ride our bicycles for our commutes instead of driving. Many of us have more than one bicycle - choosing the race bike for the weekend crit, or the mountain bike for some singletrack riding in the mountains. We choose to save the race wheels for those important races. We choose our clothes based on the type of riding we will be doing, Lycra, tweed, or whatever. We have the choice.

In underdeveloped areas of the world, the bicycle is less about choice, and more about survival. A bicycle can allow a child to obtain an education by reducing their commute from an unrealistic time to one that is realistic. It can allow a healthcare volunteer to cover a greater area, and see more patients in a week than walking would allow. It can increase the earning potential by allowing an individual to cover a greater distance and carry a greater load than they could by walking. The bicycle represents a better life.

World Bicycle Relief is an organization whose mission is to provide access to independence and livelihood through The Power of Bicycles. Started in 2005 by SRAM and Trek Bicycles, they are working to provide a sustainable transportation alternative to walking to people in underdeveloped areas. They are working to accomplish this mission by providing a sturdy, durable bicycle that can withstand the environment, and that is simple to operate and fix, and by providing mechanical training to keep those bicycles running.

Simple sustainable mobility in the form of a bicycle multiplies a person’s effort and efficiency with improved access to healthcare, education and economic development, especially when compared to the alternative of walking.

Healthcare: Brings healthcare to patients and patients to healthcare.
Education: Brings educators to the field and students to schools.
Economic development: Sustainable mobility is a fundamental requirement in all economic systems. Bicycles multiply an individual’s efforts by:

  • Bringing goods and services to markets;
  • Enabling workers to get to jobs or find better jobs;
  • Fueling an individual’s entrepreneurial drive – entire businesses can be run off the back of a bike.

I found this image on their site, which does a great job at showing what a great impact a bicycle can have to people.

World Bicycle Relief has provided over 50,000 bicycles to people in underdeveloped areas, and areas devastated by natural disasters.

I highly recommend you go to their site http://www.worldbicyclerelief.org/ and check them out. I also highly recommend you support them if you can, not only through monetary support, but by getting involved.


Loving the Bike said...

It's great to see you promoting all the goodness that the World Bicycling Relief does. I've been a fan of theirs for a long time and proudly include them as one of the causes we support.

Well Done.


Kendall said...

There was a card and sticker that came with one of the bicycle-related gifts my wife gave me this Christmas. Before that, I was only superficially aware of what they did. I'm glad I did some more research. What a great cause!

KJae said...

I LOVED that card that came with your shirt. It's such a beautiful concept. Great job promoting the cause!! Maybe we should donate come tax refund day!!