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Courtesy World Bicycle Relief
World Bicycle Relief - Buffalo Bicycles
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Courtesy World Bicycle Relief
Based on innovative approach, sustainability, and direct social impact, Buffalo Bicycles of World Bicycle Relief has received the prestigious Schwab Foundation 2013 Social Entrepreneur of the Year award.
World Bicycle Relief (WBR) is a non-profit organization that distributes bicycles in rural Africa to increase access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities. Buffalo Bicycles is a for-profit subsidiary social enterprise program through which WBR sells the robust, high-quality Buffalo Bicycle to aid organizations, businesses, and individuals. The bikes are also granted through WBR work-to-own, study-to-own, and environmental programs.
Transportation is critical to all areas of development. Bicycles not only increase the speed of journeys and the distance that one can go in a given amount of time, they add a significant carrying capacity as compared to walking. Although Africa is the recipient of many donated bicycles, they are usually of poor quality: cast-off American road bikes that are too fragile for heavy loads, expensive to repair, and simply not made for sub-Saharan African terrain.
Buffalo Bicycles, locally assembled in Zambia, are designed to operate on rough desert roads and are built to carry 220lbs. Each bicycle comes with a toolkit and a pump. To ensure fleets of bicycles stay rolling, a mechanic is trained for every 50 bicycles in the field. They learn bicycle assembly, maintenance and repair, and basic business management, and are able to launch their own micro-enterprise.
Since 2008, WBR has distributed over 40,000 bicycles and trained over 800 field mechanics in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Angola, South Sudan, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. Lives and communities are thriving: more students are attending school and achieving better grades, healthcare workers are able to provide more and better care, and farmers can bring more produce to markets.
WBR is hosting two upcoming fundraising rides to reach their goal of providing 50,000 bicycles for students, teachers, educational workers, and health workers:
Saturday June 29, 2013: Red-Bell 100 – Redmond to Bellingham, WA
Sunday August 25, 2013: Wrigley Field Road Tour – Chicago, IL
Both century rides will fund the global work of WBR and the local work of the Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation in Washington and the Chicago Cubs Charities in Chicago. Both events will provide jerseys, catered rest-stops and meals, post-ride parties, and fundraising prizes for the participants.
If you can’t come out to the rides, you can still support WBR by buying a Buffalo Bicycle online for WBR programs. If you're adventurous, you might even consider a WBR Power of Bicycles Africa Ride where you can build a Buffalo Bicycle with a local in Zambia, ride alongside community members, and experience first-hand the profound impact of a bicycle.