Following our 2014 ride to raise funds for a community in Uganda to receive clean water and sanitation, the 2015 ride benefitted a school in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These children were facing extreme health concerns daily from the lack of clean water and hygienic training. Justin Ahrens (Rule29), Brian MacDonald (Wonderkind Studios), and a handful of other friends rode from Santa Rosa, CA to the Lifewater headquarters in San Luis Obispo, CA, using one of the most famous and picturesque highways in the United States: the Pacific Coast Highway.
At the end of the ride, over 3,400 children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were given safe water and sanitation for life. Even when the circumstances seem desperate, there is always something we can do. We’re deeply thankful for everyone who partnered with us along the way in 2015!
Though the DRC claims a range of valuable natural resources, the country has been plagued and deeply scarred by generations of civil war, tribal violence, corruption, and inequality. The country’s needs are vast, proven by it being placed second to last place on a United Nations study of human flourishing in nations across the world. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s largest challenge continues to be meeting the basic human needs of its population such as shelter, food, and water.
Despite great strides in economic and social development in recent decades, Uganda continues to struggle to provide safe water and sanitation to its citizens.
Lack Access To Water
Lack Access To Sanitation
Live Below The Poverty Line
As leader of Rule29 and father of four, Justin enjoys digging into a business problem and designing a strategic solution. But he gets a bigger charge out of seeing the positive impact that solution can make – for the client and for the world. As a creative, he believes that we are built to see the world differently than most. It’s one of our unique, innovative traits. We all say we want to be a part of changing the world, but how do you actually accomplish this? Justin hopes that, through initiatives like Wheels4Water, he will be able to make positive changes in key global issues while also transforming himself, his company, and help influence the design industry as a whole.
How do we make choices that help to shift our perspective? As a visual story teller Brian uses his photography and film making at his company, Wonderkind Studios, to challenge people to look at ideas from a different view. He is in constant pursuit of that elusive moment that makes people slow down and consider a new possibility. He continually challenges himself to shift views, and honestly, quite often fails. But there have been small victories as he has been able to share the stories of incredible people struggling in unbelievable circumstances. It is for those people that he’s doing this ride. It’s his hope that we will not only raise money and awareness for clean water in communities of people in Africa, but that we shift our view to one that everyone can do something to make this world a better place.
Tony has established himself as a leader in the print industry in Arizona over the course of a 35+ year career and as CEO of O’Neil Printing. Tony and the O’Neil team are not only loyal supporters of Wheels4Water and Lifewater International, but integral in the management and logistics of the rides. This year Tony is even stepping out of the support vehicle to log a few miles on his bike.
Ryan has been a member of the Wheels4Water team since 2014 and will be back in 2015 to help impact even more lives. Ryan is an incredibly strong rider and the official mechanic who ensures all the bikes of the team are perfectly maintained (especially when it comes to Justin’s daily flat tires). When Ryan isn’t cycling, he’s a Senior CAD Engineer at Timberland.