of $50,000 Raised
Rory Macleod

Why I Ride for World Bicycle Relief


I'd like to tell you a little about why I ride for World Bicycle Relief. It has to do with impact.

Back when I was at Apple, we used to talk a lot about impact. Whenever we were deciding which projects to take on, we'd ask ourselves, would we rather make a modest impact on the largest audience possible or a really big one for a much smaller group?

There's no right or wrong answer here. But for me, I always preferred the projects that did the greatest amount of good, even if only a handful of people benefitted. That's why I never worry about things like word count or page views with my writing; I'd rather have a few people think something I wrote was very good than a lot of people think it was just meh.

So when it came time to decide which charity to ride for, I knew that whichever one I chose had to fit into that equation. I had to feel that my effort and the efforts of my donors would have a major impact, one that could be life changing even. And there's nothing more life changing than a bicycle.

Let me briefly explain what I mean.

Right now in Zambia, the average school girl has to walk six kilometers just to get to class.* The journey is often difficult and dangerous, requiring her to go over rough, unpaved terrain and past fields with workers who make catcalls as she goes. The threat of assault is constantly present. Then, assuming she even makes it to school on time, she has to do the walk all over again in the afternoon.

The reality is, for many such girls, the burden is just too much. There are too many people depending on them. There are brothers to feed, grandparents to look after, firewood to gather, chickens to de-feather and clean.** As a result, more than half will drop out of school before finishing their primary education. Of the ones who do, another half will be married by the age of eighteen, and many more will give birth to babies they have no means of supporting.*** And so the burden soon falls on their communities.

But what if we could give one of those girls a bike? One that's specially designed to withstand those rough, bumpy roads and sturdy enough to carry all her books and belongings? With a gift like that, this same girl can now get to school in a fraction of the time it used to take her, giving her more time to be at home in the mornings and evenings, more time for her chores, more time for her family, more time to be just a regular girl. Maybe now she won't have to drop out of school or get pregnant early. Maybe now she has a chance to make something of herself, to achieve her own young dreams. All because of a single bike.****

Now imagine if we did that for a lot of girls. Hundreds of them, thousands even. Imagine all the good that could do. All those lives, changed forever.

That's the kind of impact I was looking for when deciding which charity to ride for. And it's why I chose World Bicycle Relief.

Ever since 2005, the organization has given out more than 337,000 specially designed bicycles to farmers, healthcare professionals, and schoolchildren in impoverished areas all over the world. That's more than a third of a million people whose lives and communities are forever changed, all through the power of bicycles.

You don't get much more impactful than that. So while there are still big challenges in the world, challenges we collectively have to solve, there are some things we can do right now as individuals to make a huge difference. Like helping young girls in Africa get to school.

So I ask you to join me in donating to World Bicycle Relief and help me reach my new goal of raising $35,000. And for every bike we raise between now and October, I will personally deliver when I join World Bicycle Relief in Zambia this fall. It'll be an adventure unlike any I've had before, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to go.

But to get there, I need your help. So please donate today. No matter how much you give, every dollar will make a world of difference to the people who need it most. 


* Girls who live ten kilometers from school are in fact likely to miss five more days of class and score fifteen points lower on exams compared to girls living one kilometer away.
** According to UNICEF, girls between ages five and fourteen spend 40 percent more time on domestic chores than boys of the same age.
*** According to the World Health Organization, childbirth is the second leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 in the world.
**** A recent World Bicycle Relief program in Zambia showed that academic performance increased 17 percent, the amount of missed classes above ten days fell by 35 percent, and there were significantly fewer school dropouts among kids who received bikes compared to the ones who didn't. 

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