Renee Lockey and Claire Geiger tell us about doing BC Bike Race – a 7-day mountain bike stage race, as a team and also about World Bicycle Relief a charity helping get bikes to girls in Malawi to help them achieve their educational dreams, build self-esteem, break the cycle of poverty, and reduce HIV infections.
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In July, World Bicycle Relief did something pretty epic in order to build a school and provide bicycles for girl students in Malawi. WBR ambassador Renee Lockey (racquetball, road cycling + MTB – she’s also an OB-GYN) and WBR development manager Claire Gieger (crew, Ironman finisher, road cyclist + MTB) teamed up to take on the epic 7-day BC Bike Race starting July 6.
Since neither one has been racing mountain bikes for very long, this is definitely “outside my comfort zone” for both. It’s also a bucket list event and something they’ll have to lean on each other to finish. Part of only 15% of female participants, they are hoping to empower women (“so few women do long distance events”) while raising funds to empower girl students in Malawi with the power of the bicycle.
In Malawi, systemic gender inequalities hold girls back in a variety of ways, particularly when it comes to education and sexual health. Forty-six percent of children in Malawi do not finish primary school while 42% of Malawian girls are married by age 18. Adolescent girls and young women also face a disproportionate risk of acquiring HIV in Malawi. By distributing 70% of Buffalo Bicycles to girl students and offering strong, group-based mentorship programs, the World Bicycle Relief community can help girls achieve their educational dreams, build self-esteem, break the cycle of poverty, and reduce HIV infections.