As any of our riders can tell you, a new bike can make a big difference in how they get to work, catch up on their exercise, or schedule their entire weekends.
But for women and girls in developing nations, a new bike can do a whole lot more. It can ultimately change their life.
“A bike is one of those rare artifacts that’s so fun and useful. Someone can use it to get to school or get to work, but it’s also really freeing. It just reinvents their world,” filmmaker and philanthropist Dan Austin told the Scenic Route. “If you give somebody something that makes them happy and gives them a feeling of self-worth, it has as a huge impact.”
Austin calls this approach joy-based philanthropy, and it’s the driving (riding?) force behind the 88bikes Foundation, a nonprofit he started in 2006 with the goal of providing 88 children in a Cambodian orphanage with bicycles. Fast forward to today, and the foundation has helped nearly 10,000 low-income women and girls across the world secure bikes of their own, placing them on the path for a happier, more promising future.
“We’d love to eventually get to the point where we’re doing 10,000 per year, if not more. You’re never going to run out of folks who could use a bike,” Austin explained. “If things keep going the way they're going, we'll be able to get to those benchmarks.”
It’s a hefty mission, to say the least, but starting today, Rad Power Bikes will be taking a small step to help bring it a little closer to reality. Through the end of the month, we’re collaborating with Austin’s foundation by staging 88 pieces of bike-themed art produced by the international agency Design Bridge in our Seattle showroom.
Customers who stop by to take a test ride or pick up an electric bike will have an opportunity to check out the striking collection of sketches, photographs, and paintings. When something catches their eye, they can scan a nearby QR code and donate for a chance to win each piece. Whoever puts forward the most will receive their masterpiece once the formal auction ends on December 17.
“The artwork is so beautiful and diverse. We love having it in here,” retail supervisor April Porter said. “It’s like a bike shop meets an art gallery.”
To date, presenting these works of art in retail hotspots and other public spaces has drawn the attention of thousands to 88bikes’ cause. And according to Porter, there are likely going to be a lot of Rad Riders soon joining their ranks.
“One of the things that I admire so much about our customers and what makes me so happy to work with them is that they really do care about giving back, not just to our planet, but in a broader sense,” Porter said. “Partnering with a foundation that brings joy to the world is such a natural fit. It really aligns with our values.”
It’s a sentiment that Austin shares.
“We’re super thrilled to have Rad Power Bikes behind us,” Austin said. “We know you folks care a lot about getting people out there riding understand the freedom and fun of biking. We think it’s a really nice match and we hope great things will come of it.”
Seattle-based riders can come see the artwork every day from December 9-31, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but even if you can’t make it, you can still help out this amazing organization by making a donation directly.
Plus, you can expect more than just the good karma that comes with helping out a worthy cause. 88bikes makes the experience more tangible by sending everyone who donates $88 a personalized photo of their beneficiary enjoying their new set of wheels!Donate Now