Here at Giordana, we believe in enhancing the lives of our global community through cycling-centric initiatives. That's why we sat down with Claire Geiger from World Bicycle Relief (WBR) and Katie Bolling from inGamba. These are both incredible partners of ours and we want to shine a spotlight on the amazing work they’re doing to further the WBR mission. This is something we can all be proud of.
How would you describe World Bicycle Relief (WBR) to someone who is new to the organization?
(Claire) - World Bicycle Relief mobilizes individuals through the Power of Bicycles. We provide reliable and robust bicycles to students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs in rural communities in developing regions of the world. Just $147 provides a bicycle to an individual in need.
How many Buffalo bikes do you donate annually?
It varies year by year but we have distributed over 420,000 bikes since we started in 2005. We expect to deliver around 60,000 bikes this year alone.
What is your favorite WBR trip or experience to date?
Any chance I get to meet our donors and supporters in person is really special. I spend a lot of time interacting with people via email or on the phone, so when I actually get to have a cup of coffee, attend an event, or share some miles on the bike, it’s always one of my favorite parts of the job.
How do you feel the cycling community has rallied behind the WBR cause?
Our roots are in the cycling community. We wouldn’t be where we are without the incredible support from SRAM and so many others.
We see support from all sectors in the industry and it’s amazing to see companies see beyond the competition and recognize the incredible impact they can help create in the field.
How many WBR rides do you do throughout the year?
We provide a variety of opportunities for people to join us on rides from our joint ride with inGamba in Mill Valley, CA to a 6-day ride through the Colorado Rockies, to opportunities abroad. You can find all of our events listed here: http://www.worldbicyclerelief.org/en/events/
How has your relationship with inGamba grown since its inception?
The inGamba community has been an incredible asset to WBR. Joao has shown his support for WBR since Day 1 when he was committed to giving back through this venture and that’s pretty amazing. We’ve built the ride in Mill Valley up and added an inGamba trip focused on WBR with a goal of giving back. They have surpassed over $1,000,000 raised for WBR which will undoubtedly change the course of so many lives forever. We are so grateful for this partnership.
What is your hope for growing WBR in the future?
There is so much opportunity for WBR and the need is so great in the field.
Our lofty goal is to be distributing 1,000,000 bikes per year. We hope to reach even more people, companies, and institutions that recognize how a bicycle can provide a brighter future for a student trying to reach her education or a farmer trying to get his goods to market to provide for his family.
WBR MEETS INGAMBA
Can you give the readers an elevator pitch of what inGamba is?
(Katie) - inGamba is the collaboration of a few people who wanted to share their passions for riding a bicycle, eating great food and drinking fantastic wine.
Born from a passion for these things and authentic experiences, we strive to live each "perfect week" fully while introducing our guests to a world they may not know existed.
Here is more about our roots as well as an overview video of who we are and how we create the world's best cycling tour experiences. Specializing in destinations where we can truly bring the most authentic experiences to our guests, we host cycling tours in Italy, Portugal, Spain, France and California. Here is where you can see our full 2019 calendar.
How did your partnership with WBR start?
Our Founder, Joao Correia, wanted to have a charitable component for the company right from the start to ensure it was part of the fabric of the organization. He looked at a few organizations and chose World Bicycle Relief because he believed in the mission and liked the focus on access to education and how the bicycles impacted girls’ safety in their commutes. Joao’s dad also lived and worked in Mozambique before he was born so he also liked the connection to his family.
What is your favorite WBR trip or experience to date?
My favorite WBR experience related to inGamba is the annual ride for WBR that Joao hosts in Mill Valley. I loved working on that event during my career at WBR and the same goes for this past May.
Amazing things happen when you bring people together who believe in a common cause. It’s both fun and impactful.
I look at the landscape of the WBR community in Marin and the greater San Francisco community and know that Joao’s annual ride is what really activated that group to a new level. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
As for my favorite of the four annual trips that inGamba has hosted thus far to raise funds for WBR, that’s hard to say. To-date those rides have raised over $500,000 for the mission which is a real testimony to that community. However, if I had to say which was my favorite, it was the first one. I spent a year and a half traveling around the world in my early twenties searching for authentic experiences where I really felt I was a part of what was happening locally...not just a tourist passively seeing places...but as as traveler truly connecting with what was around me.
This is what I believe inGamba is doing...we are offering the best cycling tours in the world while also giving our guests an authentic look and feel into where we operate our trips.
If it’s riding with Eros Poli in his backyard of Verona, gathering in the home of a local pastry chef for a pre-ride croissant or meandering through the woods to our Portuguese guide’s favorite local restaurant in Porto, this is what makes us “inGamba”.
How do you feel your customers have taken to the WBR mission?
The inGamba community has raised close to $1,100,000 for the work of World Bicycle Relief.
Of this, about $100,000 has been directly from inGamba so it’s a really humbling testimony to the inGamba community that the mission of WBR has really resonated with many people to empower a 10x multiplier.
That’s truly humbling and a wonderful example of the power of community.
How have you seen the cycling landscape change in the last few years? Do you see more interest / involvement in partnerships like this?
I spent ten years at WBR before joining inGamba and one thing that I’ve always believed in is partnership and ensuring it provides meaningful value to each partner. It was the most important part of my work at WBR. I likened it to the great words that “A strong tide lifts all boats”. Whatever part of the cycling landscape that people are in, there is real merit in this. Building reciprocal value...it’s so critical to brands, building community and building inclusive atmospheres.
So, yes, if we want to grow the sport, the industry and participation…we all need to build partnerships where passion and commitment are not just factored into our own success...but our partner’s success as well.
What are you most excited about for the future with this partnership?
The generosity of the inGamba community and their continued interest in learning more about WBR and the impact they are contributing towards. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who helps align people to what they are passionate about. My work at WBR aligned people to a charitable cause that moved them to take action and now I’m helping people commit time to cycling experiences that will hopefully enhance their lives...and for the people who discover WBR as part of this...that’s the best kind of icing on the cake.
What is your favorite piece of Giordana apparel? Why?
The short-sleeved winter jersey. I live in Colorado so it’s a really critical piece and it’s perfect for a variety of conditions. Plus, I love the sleeve length!
How is it working with the Giordana Custom department and designers for your WBR kits?
(Claire) - The Custom department is awesome to work with. Lauren is always super responsive and willing to hop on a call when needed. We are able to share some ideas of the direction we want to go and their designers come back with top quality designs and products.
Any last thoughts you want to add?
(Claire) - Thank you for supporting World Bicycle Relief and believing in the Power of Bicycles. Our work wouldn’t be possible without the support from partners like inGamba and Giordana and we are so grateful for that.
(Katie) - I truly feel fortunate to have Giordana as a partner to inGamba and have appreciated knowing that the team there is also committed to seeing success and continued impact for World Bicycle Relief. Truly a reminder that so much is possible when we come together.
Giordana has committed a portion of our holiday sales to help support WBR. If you would like to donate to WBR or learn more about what the organization, check out their website.