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Few understand the fact that bicycles can change lives as much as the World Bicycle Relief, a global non-profit organization with a mission to empower people in developing countries with the bicycle. With the development of their sturdy Buffalo Bike, they facilitate transportation for students and healthcare workers around the world, while also providing training and employment for bicycle mechanics in developing countries.
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Just last year they reached the 500,000 mark with their specially designed bikes, and barely a year later they have reached the 600,000 mark.
Since the WBR started in 2005, Trek Bicycle has been a key partner, and for the holiday season, the iconic American bike brand and WBR announced a joint campaign. As a founding partner to World Bicycle Relief, Trek Bicycle has announced that the Buffalo Bike is their “Bike of the Year.” The bicycles are capable of carrying heavy loads of up to 220 lbs and are designed to be compatible with locally available spare parts to allow for proper maintenance.
The Buffalo Bike is a true gift that gives back, and this year Trek will match all customer donations of up to $500,000 in hopes of raising $1 million for this non-profit group by the end of the year.
“A lot of people are looking to see how they can make a difference during the holiday season,” Trek president John Burke said at the online presentation of the campaign. “We deal with a lot of charities and WBR is at the top. The amount of change you can make with $165 dollars [the price of a bike, –ed] is massive.”
“A bike in the hands of a schoolgirl allows her to get to school on time or to help at home more,” said F.K. Day, co-founder of World Bicycle Relief. “The bicycle is a simple solution for a complicated problem.”
As a long-time partner, Trek played a key role in the product development process that resulted in the Buffalo Bicycle. The bikes, which are locally assembled, are distributed to students, health workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs, and they are developed specifically to meet the pressing needs of people in rural, developing regions. They are engineered to withstand heavy loads, long distances, and rugged terrain using high-quality parts and materials. “I have seen them carry six or seven feet of firewood!” Day added.
In addition, WBR is also focused on creating a sustainable bicycle infrastructure, employing trained field mechanics to ensure access to quality maintenance. According to Day, more than 2,500 mechanics have already been trained around the developing world to keep the ever-increasing fleet operating. “We train the mechanics, give them tools. It not only helps employment but it assures maintenance.”
If you want to get in the holiday spirit, make a donation to the holiday campaign by stopping by your local Trek dealer or going to the Trek website. The holiday campaign will run from November 8 – December 31, 2021.
To learn more about this impressive organization check out the World Bicycle Relief website.