Yesterday marked the first-ever World Bicycle Day, recognized by the United Nations and commemorated with an event in New York City. World Bicycle Relief CEO Dave Neiswander and Team Novo Nordisk’s Phil Southerland were speakers alongside UN officials, diplomats, athletes, cycling officials and cycling community advocates.
World Bicycle Relief CEO Dave Neiswander, celebrated the inaugural World Bicycle Day and gave the following message, “Through delivering more than 400,000 bicycles in developing countries, we witness on a daily basis that bicycles can serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity.”
Neiswander added, “In mobilized communities, visits to patients by community health workers have increased 45 percent; students have increased attendance by 17 percent and improved their academic performance upwards of 59 percent; and dairy farmers have increased their income by 23 percent by using a quality bicycle as a reliable transport for their milk.”
Teddy Nosiku, a recipient of a Buffalo Bicycle from World Bicycle Relief added, “Growing up in Zambia, I can tell you that a bicycle can change a life…Providing a bicycle to a student for education is a blessing because the education you are giving them they keep forever and they will help change their community and the world. With my education, my goal is to become a public defender, helping those who need it most.”
Photos courtesy World Bicycle Relief
UN World Bicycle Day – Phil Southerland’s Speech
Team Novo Nordisk partnered with the United Nations to celebrate World Bicycle Day at the UN Headquarters in New York City
On Sunday, the UN General Assembly celebrated the first official World Bicycle Day in New York City. World Bicycle Day recognized the uniqueness, longevity, and versatility of the bicycle; it’s simplicity, affordability, reliability, cleanliness and environmentally fit sustainability as a means of transportation. The event promoted environmental stewardship and health.
In addition to Team Novo Nordisk CEO and Co-Founder Phil Southerland, UN leaders and diplomats, cycle advocates, athletes, and other cycling organizations gave speeches.
Below are excerpts from Southerland’s speech honoring the event and the value of the bike:
“At 12 years old, I found the bike. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was only seven months old and was told I would be dead or blind by 25.
I started riding so I could eat Snickers bars. Because I had access to insulin, testing supplies and a bike, I didn’t just live life with diabetes, but I thrived with diabetes. The bike served as an equally powerful drug, and I believe everyone should have access to a bike.
I believe the bike not only helps prevent type 2 diabetes, but helps type 1, and more importantly can help every person on the planet to live the best and the healthiest life possible.
The message of hope, inspiration, and empowerment must be shared with all. No matter where you are in the world, you need to believe you can achieve your dreams, and there is no better place than the bike for those dreams to begin.
I thank the bike for bringing me to the UN. I am grateful that the bike has brought me to you, and my hope is that together we can help the world. Everyone can use the bike as a tool and ride for life. This means prevention, but also an inspiration to dream. I hope that the UN Resolution for World Bicycle Day ensures every person in every corner of the world has access to a bike, thus a chance to live healthily and to dream.
Finally, it is my dream because of World Bicycle Day that you will see every person with diabetes in your countries as a work capable and powerful member of society. Diabetes only chooses the champions, and I urge you to invest in our lives with insulin and testing supplies. Your return will be heroes and role models for the rest of society.”
Photos courtesy Team Novo Nordisk