Bicycles – Making the World Go Round

Almost every day for four years I walked to class at the University of Texas at Austin and people in bicycles zoomed by me.  They’d get their faster and more efficiently than me.  I could always tell who  the cyclists were in class; they’d usually have one pant leg rolled up to prevent the chain from getting stuck.  The smarter ones would have a helmet attached to their backpack strap and riding gloves on during the rigid winter.  Austin, Boulder, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco – the U.S. is catching on to the cycling craze, with these cities being in the top running for best bike-friendly zones.   But what’s up with it all? 

Why Bicycle?
Obviously, bicycling is better for the environment.  We know it reduces traffic congestion and helps to reduce carbon emissions from escaping those pesky exhaust pipes.   But it also does a lot more.  It improves personal health, enhances your quality of life and reaps economic awards.  It can be said that bicycles make individuals and economies “go.” The World Bicycle Relief organization possesses the efficiency facts to back up the fad.

The Power of Bicycles
According to the World Bicycle Relief, bicycles increase carrying capacity five times as much as compared to walking.  A person can travel four times more by bike than foot.  Bicycles save time, approximately three hours for every ten miles.  Knowing this, the organization made it their mission to provide independence and livelihood simply by giving bikes to underdeveloped, poverty and disaster-stricken regions.  But they do more than provide.  World Bicycle Relief designs a “comprehensive, scalable, sustainable bicycle solution.“ 

Completing the Cycle
It’s like the quote says: Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day.  Teach him how to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.  Thus is the philosophy of World Bicycle Relief.  They do more than simply provide bikes.  They make sure suppliers improve bicycle design while ensuring that all changes are culturally appropriate.  They enhance distribution with local sourcing, manufacturing and assembly, partnering with existing NGOS, governments and community-based organizations to train mechanics in the maintenance and repair that goes along with owning a bike.  They also measure and evaluate the impact of bicycles and communicate the results to improve all programs associated with bicycling world-wide. 

Therefore, they don’t simply drop off the bikes and get on with their life…and that’s what I really like about this organization.  I especially like the new perspective it’s given me on bicycle riding.  While I just thought of it as a fad or a way to get from a-to-z, it’s actually so much more.  It can be a way to transport healthcare, education, development and much much more.

 

-Lizette Romero

 

If you’d like to improve someone’s life, donate or advocate for World Bicycle Relief through YourCause.com.

 

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