By Jessica Congelliere
In the early morning hours of March 14th, 2009, 4,500 riders from around the country gathered in the sleepy Danish community of Solvang, California.
Assembled to compete in the 26th annual Solvang Century and Half-Century, athletes lined up to ready themselves for their turn to role through the start and begin either a 50 mile (~80KM) or 100 mile (~160KM) cycle ride through the beautiful California countryside.
Amongst the participating riders were cyclists who were racing with a purpose. More than 60 riders competed as participants with Team World Vision.
Team World Vision cyclists secured sponsorship and raised over $55,000 this weekend to provide loans for bikes in Zambia. These bicycles are used by entrepreneurs to bring more products to market, increasing revenues and profit. Through additional income, the lives of families and children in Zambia are improving.
Bicycles are supplied through loans for $134, and are repaid within three to six months. With nearly $240,000 that has been raised in the last eleven months, more than 178,000 bicycles will be delivered over the next five years, by means of the multiplying power of microfinance. World Vision employee, Jonathan Cox, understands the need for bicycles. Cox shared, “I use my bike every day, not just for recreation, but as a form of transportation. I can appreciate the bike as a tool, a tool that can change the lives of people that I have seen firsthand in Africa.”
For more information or to sign up for the next team World Vision cycling event please visitwww.teamworldvision.org. For more information about the Bikes for Africa project visit towww.visionfundinternational.org/bikes.