The Power of Bicycles

Our Story

World Bicycle Relief mobilizes people through The Power of Bicycles. We envision a world where distance is no longer a barrier to independence and livelihood.

World Bicycle Relief mobilizes people through The Power of Bicycles. We envision a world where distance is no longer a barrier to independence and livelihood.


ESTD 2005

Our Origins

World Bicycle Relief (WBR) was founded in 2005 by F.K. Day and Leah Missbach Day in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. As a founder of SRAM and leader in product development, F.K.'s role offered a unique opportunity to problem-solve with other cycling industry leaders. As a documentary photographer, Leah’s gift for sharing stories helped bring the devastation of those affected by the tsunami to light. Together, with a solid backing from SRAM Corporation and an outpouring of support from industry leaders, FK and Leah helped to launch WBR and provide bicycles to those in need. Partnering with aid organizations in Sri Lanka, WBR distributed more than 24,000 bicycles to displaced survivors, providing access to education, healthcare and livelihoods while reconnecting entire communities.

Following the positive impact that bicycles provided as relief in Sri Lanka, we were invited to partner with a large-scale health program in Zambia. The USAID-funded program, RAPIDS, trained and equipped community healthcare workers to help combat the AIDS epidemic. In 2006, we provided more than 23,000 bicycles through this program to support volunteers who would walk long distances to provide home-based care.

WBR has since built programs to provide specially designed, locally assembled bicycles for students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs across Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. While the bicycles themselves help individuals conquer distance and increase their carrying capacity, WBR has also created new economic opportunities by training field mechanics and employing bike assemblers to support our local programs.

  • Student

    The Need

    Walking is the primary mode of transportation for many people in the developing world. Everyday tasks can quickly become a struggle against time and fatigue. Going to school, visiting the health clinic, and delivering goods to market are more challenging because of the barrier of distance.

    See the Video

  • Student

    The Need

    Walking is the primary mode of transportation for many people in the developing world. Everyday tasks can quickly become a struggle against time and fatigue. Going to school, visiting the health clinic, and delivering goods to market are more challenging because of the barrier of distance.

    See the Video

  • Our Response

    World Bicycle Relief (WBR) builds and distributes specially-designed, locally assembled, rugged bicycles. With the experience and expertise gained over the last 10 years designing and delivering more than 300,000 Buffalo Bicycles, WBR has developed an efficient, innovative and scalable model to successfully address the great need for reliable, affordable transportation in rural areas of developing countries.

  • Video 2

    Our Response

    World Bicycle Relief (WBR) builds and distributes specially-designed, locally assembled, rugged bicycles. With the experience and expertise gained over the last 10 years designing and delivering more than 300,000 Buffalo Bicycles, WBR has developed an efficient, innovative and scalable model to successfully address the great need for reliable, affordable transportation in rural areas of developing countries.

Our Approach

How We Do It

Results-Driven

Our field-focused monitoring and evaluation drives innovation to meet end-user needs.

Innovative

Combining philanthropic distributions with social enterprise sales achieves greater impact.

Collaborative

Working with partners helps us design and implement better programs.

Scalable

Our supply chain is built to be sustainable, scalable and nimble.

High-Quality

Our all steel bicycles are designed and manufactured to be durable and affordable.

Sustainable

Local assembly and field mechanic training creates programmatic support and lasting infrastructure.

Wheels In The Field

Multiplying Our Impact

Our innovative model, combining philanthropic distributions with social enterprise sales, is the backbone on which we deliver greater efficiencies of scale, distribute more bicycles per donation and generate deeper impact where we work.

With a 10-year track record, WBR is a proven leader in implementing large-scale philanthropic bicycle programs in the rural developing world. From partners to end users, we remain connected and committed to providing reliable, affordable transportation for everyone.

371,628 Buffalo Bicycles

In rural developing countries where low-quality bikes are the norm, Buffalo Bicycles have earned a superior reputation. Following healthcare program distributions in 2007, development organizations, farmers and individuals sought to purchase our bicycles for their programs and personal use. This market demand moved us to create Buffalo Bicycles, Ltd., a social enterprise subsidiary of WBR that sells directly to those in need of reliable transportation.

There is a multitude of benefits in combining our philanthropic endeavors with an innovative social enterprise strategy: it is scalable and multiplies our organizational impact; it diversifies our revenue stream and provides funding for programs; it improves the efficiencies and cost structure of our education, healthcare, and economic development initiatives; and it creates a sustainable quality bicycle infrastructure in developing countries.