In 2016, we hosted two, one-day rides in Illinois and Arizona, with a third opportunity for people to gather wherever they are to raise money and host rides in their own towns. Our vision was to allow anyone the opportunity to take ownership of fighting the water crisis and helping change a Ugandan community by using their own circles of influence and provide a place to celebrate the funding raised and lives changed.
The rides in Arizona and Illinois were open to anyone who raised at least $480 (equivalent to 12 lives changed) in funding, and there was no cycling ability required to participate. As cyclists ourselves, we deeply believe that the community and shared experience cycling provides is the ideal platform to inspire people to get involved in the water crisis. We were humbled by the stories told and experiences shared during the rides in Illinois, Arizona, and around the world. In the end, as a community, we surpassed our hope of raising $40,000 to help a 1,000 Ugandans and ended up raising $60,000+ and supporting over 1,500!
Similar to many sub-Saharan African countries, Uganda faces immense challenges in providing basic human needs such as shelter, food, and water for its citizens. An estimated 33–45% of the population survives on less than $1 a day, making it one of the poorest nations in the world. Safe water is only accessible to around half of all Kaliro citizens, and only 4% of households have access to hand-washing resources. Political turmoil and violence has ravaged infrastructure and government aid, preventing many efforts for substantial resource development.
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 Sanitation
Live Below the Poverty Line
Lack Access to Clean Water
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 helping lead the Team AZ ride and will once again be a significant part of it’s leadership and success.
Ryan has been a member of the Wheels4Water team since 2014 and will be back in 2016 to help impact even more lives. Ryan has been the official mechanic who ensured all the bikes of the team are perfectly maintained (especially when it comes to Justin’s daily flat tires). This year Ryan will be heading up Team Anywhere and helping cyclists on the East coast join our cause. When he isn’t riding, Ryan is a shoe engineer for the iconic Converse brand.