A Testament to “The Most Powerful Bicycle in the World”

by World Bicycle Relief
September 6, 2019

Terri Bidwell, of New Zealand, battles the lava fields on her Ironman race in Hawaii (and rocks the WBR 89,707 tattoo!)

In October, World Bicycle Relief (WBR) attended the 2011 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii to celebrate 89,707 bikes in the field. Nearly 2,000 athletes participating in the Championship were invited to be a part of the growing WBR movement–to funnel their love of cycling into raising awareness and funds to help others. As part of the events in Kona, WBR raffled off a SRAM and Zipp-equipped Cervelo P3 (valued over $9,000)–one of the most loved bikes in all of triathlon. The raffle helped World Bicycle Relief showcase the price contrast of WBR bikes, which cost $147–a fraction of the cost of bikes ridden by Ironman athletes. The Cervelo P3 was valued at the equivalent of 68 WBR bikes. The comparison truly helped the athletes see what an impact they can make by supporting WBR.

Participants spent a lot of time at our booth drooling over the Cervelo, and many raffle tickets (at $25 each) were sold to benefit WBR. There was much anticipation for the drawing and we were pleased to call out Terri Bidwell’s name as the winner. Then, something shocking happened–Terri turned down the Cervelo bike! Here’s why‰Û_.

A few evenings before the drawing, Terri, who hails from New Zealand, visited our booth and was thrilled to see us there, citing WBR as “her favorite charity”. Upon purchasing enough raffle tickets to fund an entire bike ($147 worth!), Terri spent time at our booth discussing ideas on how she could better share our work in her community in New Zealand. She also inquired about what it would take for her to have a WBR bike of her own to showcase and use as a tool to rally support for WBR. So, when her winning ticket was pulled, we decided to give her that option. She excitedly chose the $147 WBR bike instead of the $9,000 Cervelo, sharing with us one of FK Day’s (WBR’s Founder and President) favorite quotes: The most powerful bike in the world is not one that weighs 16 pounds, made of carbon and is ridden by professional athletes; it’s a 55 pound steel bike in the hands of a Zambian student fighting for her education.

Terri has quite a history with her passion for providing bicycles in impoverished regions. She’s an orthopedic surgeon and has traveled and worked in many parts of the world where the bicycle is seen as a too, not as recreational equipment. Terri shared with us one specific experience she had in East Timor, where she was performing surgeries on orphans with orthopedic problems. One day, after a successful surgery, her patient expressed to her that what she and the other orphans truly desired was bicycles. So, Terri and a few others raised funds for three bicycles for the orphanage, to be used for assisting with chores and transportation. Later, when she discovered the work of World Bicycle Relief, she more fully understood the value of not just providing bicycles, but of providing culturally appropriate, robust bicycles. She said that the sustainability of WBR’s bikes is one of the reasons that WBR is on the top of her favorite charity list.

Terri also commutes by bike (6 miles each way on a steel bike). So, outside of showcasing her new WBR bike, it just might come in handy for her commute as well!

We are still touched and amazed not only by Terri’s unusual choice of her raffle prize, but by her passion for WBR’s programs. Asked why she chose the WBR bike, Terri stated, A Cervelo is a very specific machine, very useful for racing in triathlons–but I already own a triathlon bike. On the other hand, the WBR bike can ride almost anywhere–it can transport a child to school and can take goods to a productive market stall. It is a real example of a bicycle that can change the world and I’ll love having one in New Zealand to showcase so that others can see it too.”

If you are like Terri and want to do something special and significant to incorporate WBR in your racing, please contact Katie Bolling at kbolling@worldbicyclerelief.org.