group at pedal to empower
(Photo/World Bicycle Relief)

World Bicycle Relief Campaign Raises $1 Million for Cyclists

The Women on Wheels fundraiser concluded with a global cycling event that drew over 900 riders. The proceeds will help support female cyclists worldwide.

Eight thousand women and girls worldwide are about to get access to bikes. That’s thanks to more than $1 million raised by the global cycling nonprofit World Bicycle Relief.

The organization concluded its midyear fundraising campaign, “Women on Wheels,” on June 5. It wrapped the season with the second annual Pedal to Empower event, which united more than 900 riders all over the world.

This Pedal to Empower event was the nonprofit’s largest ever — it raised $450K this year, an increase from $300K in 2020 — as part of the “Women on Wheels” fundraising campaign, which raised more than $1 million this year.

“Our organization is committed to empowering women and girls with life-changing bicycles,” said Dave Neiswander, CEO of World Bicycle Relief. “Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality in many regions of the world, we are grateful to everyone who contributed to the Women on Wheels campaign.”

Neiswander notes that the money raised will help mobilize 8,000 women and girls.

group photo pedal to empower
(Photo/World Bicycle Relief)

‘Women on Wheels’ to Combat Gender Inequality

The 2021 Women on Wheels campaign came at a critical time for gender equality. COVID-19 has taken an outsize toll on women, who have experienced greater economic, social, and health threats during the pandemic than men.

The nonprofit seeks to give women all over the world access to the reliable transportation afforded by bicycles. The goal this year, it said, is to ensure that women all over the world not only rebound from the pandemic but also thrive.

One such woman is Zule Quintero, a member of the Food and Agricultural Organization in La Paz, Colombia. Before receiving a Buffalo Bicycle from WBR, she spent $100 per month to commute to and from her job transporting produce. According to WBR, she now uses that money to pay school fees and feed her children. “The bicycle has been of great benefit to me,” Quintero said.

WBR also helps women with direct job skills and training. Annie Chisale is a World Bicycle Relief-trained bike mechanic in Malawi. “I am trying to dismiss the myth that only men can fix bicycles,” she said. “Being the first woman mechanic, the youth in our village look up to me and understand that they can do anything to improve their lives and the community. I am a role model and am proud of that. Women can.”

women at pedal to empower
(Photo/World Bicycle Relief)

2021 Participation and Campaign Results

Women on Wheels is designed to drive more funding to women like Quintero and Chisale — and the initiative has gained traction in both the corporate and private sectors. WBR reports the 920 riders across 33 countries who rode in the Pedal to Empower event collectively raised more than $450,000.

Several corporate and foundation partners also made significant donations toward the $1 million total, including Akuna Capital, Liv Cycling, Saris, and Trek.

Various cycling pros also got involved in the campaign. The list of athletes included Roxsolt Liv SRAM team cyclist Peta Mullins and Natalia Francov of TWENTY24 Pro Cycling.

World Bicycle Relief believes that bicycles can help women and girls unlock their potential. It emphasized that reliable transportation helps women access crucial resources like healthcare, education, and employment as well as helping them feel safer.

“The Women on Wheels campaign and Pedal to Empower will have a lasting positive impact on girls and women throughout the world,” said Neiswander, “and we thank all who helped us make a difference.”

Learn more about World Bicycle Relief at the nonprofit’s website. Or, learn more about Women on Wheels.

group at pedal to empower
(Photo/C. Mitchel, World Bicycle Relief)
Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.