Not too long ago, someone wrote a letter to the editor complaining about using tax dollars to create bicycle lanes, wondering, "Why should my tax dollars subsidize someone else's recreation?" Sadly, many think of bicycling as solely a recreational pastime, forgetting that many commute to work by bike, lessening not only their carbon footprint but decreasing traffic as well. That's even truer in the developing world, where owning a car is an unaffordable luxury, which is where the World Bicycle Relief organization comes in.
The nonprofit organization is "a comprehensive bicycle distribution organization directed at poverty relief for developing countries in Africa and around the world," according to organizers.
Hundreds of thousands of bicycles have been distributed in nations such as Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—and these bikes improve people's lives in many unexpected ways, increasing school attendance, helping health care providers reach more patients, and helping small businesses and farmers increase their earnings.
You can help get a bike into the hands of someone who really needs it by attending SRAM's annual World Bicycle Relief fundraiser at their California Development Center (4720 Allene Way, SLO) this Saturday, July 15, from 3 to 7 p.m. Kids 12 and under are free, general admission tickets are $20, which includes food and drink, and special guided tours of the facility are $50 and also include refreshments. Tickets are available at sram.worldbicyclerelief.org/slotourdesram. If you're feeling generous, a $147 donation donates a complete bike to World Bicycle Relief.
Tours of the engineering and testing facility are scheduled for 3:30, 4:30, and 6 p.m., with a silent auction closing at 5:30 p.m.
"SRAM engineers will set aside their computers and exercise their barbeque and bartending skills instead," organizers said. "Tri-tip skewers with a delicious side as well as beer, wine, and soft drinks will be served throughout the afternoon."
The donated Buffalo Bicycles are "built for big loads on tough roads," as their motto claims, and this program makes a difference in people's lives.
"Six years of fundraising efforts in San Luis Obispo have been extremely successful with over 250 bikes funded locally," organizers added. "Worldwide since its inception in 2005, World Bicycle Relief has provided an incredible 350,000 bicycles to improve lives in 13 African nations."
Come on out, enjoy some food and good cheer, and check out a cutting-edge bicycle component and technology facility! Oh, and maybe you'll even improve the life of someone living on the other side of the world in a place where there are no bike lanes—just people who need to get from one place to another.
• If you work in Downtown SLO, you may be eligible for a free city bus pass. The Downtown Access Pass program was created to help ease the demand for parking. For more information call 783-7818. Go green, save some money, and ride a bus!
• The county of SLO Public Libraries recently received a $25,000 gift from the Friends of the Cambria Library. The gift has allowed the library to purchase hundreds of additional titles for its Overdrive downloadable collections that include ebooks and audiobooks. The Overdrive collections are available to cardholders for free through the library's website and can be used on most electronic devices. Δ
Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey wrote this week's Strokes & Plugs. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.