News / USA

    Chicago Businessman Provides Affordable Bikes in Africa

    Chicago Businessman Frederick K. Day's efforts have put more than 70,000 durable bikes in some of the poorest places on the planet
    Chicago Businessman Frederick K. Day's efforts have put more than 70,000 durable bikes in some of the poorest places on the planet

    After the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed more than 200,000 people, Chicago businessman Frederick K. Day wanted to help survivors rebuild their lives.  As the founder of Sram Corporation, maker of high end components for racing bicycles, Day felt his greatest contribution would be what he knew best-he put his knowledge of bicycles to use and formed World Bicycle Relief. 

    The bicycle Lance Armstrong rode across the finish line in his record-setting Tour De France victories, was in part, made possible by Chicago-based Sram Corporation.

    "The last two Tour De France winners were on our components.  Last year, the first second and third place folks were on our components," Day said.

    Frederick Day, also known as F.K., founded the cycling company with his brother in the 1980s.  Sram is now the world's second largest manufacturer of bike components. "We make every single part that goes onto a bicycle frame, but we don't make the final bicycle," he said.

    When the Indian Ocean tsunami struck in late 2004, Day wanted to put his experience to use and make a difference in the lives of survivors.  He flew to Sri Lanka to talk with relief organizations about how he could help.  They suggested money.  Day had a better idea.

    "You can do a large scale bicycle program?  The impact would be huge!  Then we selected a partner, and together we delivered 24,400 bikes into Sri Lanka," he says, "all locally sourced and manufactured."

    That experience planted the seed for what became World Bicycle Relief.  Now, Day's charity is focused on sub-Saharan Africa.  

    Sram's expertise has helped World Bicycle Relief put a more durable and affordable bike - locally manufactured - onto the rugged roads and trails of Zambia.  The non-profit also trains local mechanics to repair the bikes.

    Day says the program has put more than 50,000 bikes into circulation in Zambia. The  rewards for the riders are immediate.

    "With a bicycle, you can go get fresh water, with a bicycle you can get medical care, with a bicycle you can go to your job or find a better job," Day says, "So it doesn't provide you fresh water, but it gives you the ability or access to it.  And it's all about access."

    "The need is insatiable," Todd Ricketts said. Ricketts serves on the board of directors at World Bicycle Relief.  He says the true value of the bike, which costs about $135 wholesale, far exceeds its cost. "You see people putting hundreds of pounds on these bicycles, and you realize that if they didn't have that, they would have no way of getting to market or they would have to build something themselves that would be rudimentary," he adds.

    Though he still owns part of Sram Corporation, Day now spends much of his time on expanding World Bicycle Relief.  The success in Zambia has paved the way for similar operations in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

    Though he's made a success out of increasing the performance of racing bikes, he says his greatest achievement is boosting the quality of life for the world's poor.

    "To me the highest performing bike I have ever seen is the bike in the hands of a girl student fighting for her education," Day recalls, "or the bike in the hands of a mother fighting to feed her children, there is no higher performing bike than that""

    Day's efforts to change lives have placed him on financial magazine Barron's list of the top 25 Best Givers in 2010.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.