Life Behind Bars
After each Olympic games, each city is stamped with a legacy the event has left. In London, the 2012 Olympics caused people to swap their cigarettes for cycling. In June of 2015, the cyclists in the capital reached an all time high. The total number of cycling journeys has risen to 23 million per year.
With this rise in biking, we've seen a spike in niche cycling companies, making the biking lifestyle more than just a life behind bars. One company in particular, Vélosophy, is blending bikes with philosophy.
A Swedish company fusing morals with cycling, Vélosophy gives biking meaning. Similar to the principles of TOMS footwear, Vélosophy has announced that for every purchase they will provide a bike for a schoolgirl in Ghana. Partnering with UNICEF in Ghana, the company encourages girls to get active and provides them with a means of energy efficient transport. According to Plan UK - students' results can increase up to 60% when girls maintain active lifestyles.
In Ghana, big yellow school busses are not very common and schools are often quite a ways from students' homes. Additionally, a gender gap between educated youth in rural areas has made it even more difficult for young women to 'get learned'.
Vélosophy is determined to change this. Founder, Jimmy Östholm says that “Even though the world needs more bikes in general, I doubt I would have been motivated enough to launch a bicycle brand just to make a nice bike. Vélosophy is about helping out and creating a company where profitability and charity go hand in hand. Women are central to the welfare of developing countries, and their ability to affect society increases if they get the chance to go to school and receive a full education. Bikes are one of the single most important factors in giving more girls access to schools; when girls have their own bikes, attendance goes up by 30% and grades increase by close to 60%. Having the opportunity to contribute to that feels amazing and is what spurs us on each day.”
The company only works with local craftsmen and sources accessories from craftsmen in Romania. They keep track of the sales through their webstore and promise a one for one deal and to promote a positive social footprint.
We're all in favour of bikes for a cause, especially with the new planning commissions in London. So, if you're going to brave the streets and you're looking for an awesome new startup that's making a difference, check out Vélosophy; you won't be disappointed.