World Bicycle Relief (WBR) was founded in 2005 by F.K. Day and Leah Missbach Day in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. As a founder of SRAM and leader in product development, F.K.'s role offered a unique opportunity to problem-solve with other cycling industry leaders. As a documentary photographer, Leah’s gift for sharing stories helped bring the devastation of those affected by the tsunami to light. Together, with a solid backing from SRAM Corporation and an outpouring of support from industry leaders, FK and Leah helped to launch WBR and provide bicycles to those in need. Partnering with aid organizations in Sri Lanka, WBR distributed more than 24,000 bicycles to displaced survivors, providing access to education, healthcare and livelihoods while reconnecting entire communities.
Following the positive impact that bicycles provided as relief in Sri Lanka, we were invited to partner with a large-scale health program in Zambia. The USAID-funded program, RAPIDS, trained and equipped community healthcare workers to help combat the AIDS epidemic. In 2006, we provided more than 23,000 bicycles through this program to support volunteers who would walk long distances to provide home-based care.
WBR has since built programs to provide specially designed, locally assembled bicycles for students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs across Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. While the bicycles themselves help individuals conquer distance and increase their carrying capacity, WBR has also created new economic opportunities by training field mechanics and employing bike assemblers to support our local programs.