April 22, 2007
On Sunday, The Blue Ridge School held the first of three bicycle races called The Blue Ridge Triple Threat, but these cyclists weren’t just racing for the finish line.
At the end of Sunday's race, a winner and first, second and third places were awarded, but the real prize is the money raised from the race. That money will be given to World Bicycle Relief to buy bikes for the people of Africa.
“World Bicycle Relief actually distributes bicycles to third-world developing nations,” said Karen Fink, a spokesperson for World Bicycle Relief.
Bicycling in the United States is often recreational, but for some around the world, riding a bike is a necessity and their only means of transportation.
The creators of World Bicycle Relief founded the non-profit after the tsunami hit South East Asia in 2004, leaving survivors no transportation to help get their economy back on its feet.
“People need help with regaining economic livelihood, getting to the clinic for health care and also being able to get to school again, because so much infrastructure was destroyed,” said Fink.
This year, World Bicycle Relief's goal is to give 26,000 bikes to health care workers of Zambia.
“These health care workers are working specifically with HIV positive and AIDS patients,” Fink said.
All the proceeds of Sunday's race will help buy some of those bikes, and with them, health care workers will be able to provide educational resources and medications to those in need.
“It’s not just giving people bikes and walking away, it's creating an entire economic engine,” said Nolan Lavoie of The Blue Ridge School Outdoor Program.
“If you look at somebody who walks five miles and the amount of time it would take them, that's three to four times the amount if somebody had a bicycle. So, they're a lot more productive,” said Fink.
This is just the first of three races in our area helping to raise money for World Bicycle Relief. The next race is next weekend on O-Hill.