Bryan Papé believes that a bike is more than just a frame, two wheels, and a bunch of components. He sees the bicycle as an instrument of social change. “After clean water and sanitation, one of the biggest impediments to economic development in Africa is transportation,” Papé says. “Kids can’t get to school. People can’t get to market to sell their goods. And the simplest, most affordable solution is bicycles.”
For every bike sold through Papé's two-year-old company Miir, another bike is donated to someone in need. The program, called One4One, began with Miir’s first product, water bottles. One dollar from each bottle sold—which Papé says is enough to provide clean water for one person for a year—supports well projects in developing countries. “The starting point for the company was to make a great product and build a sustainable business,” Papé says. “Once we realized we could do that and we put in place a model that can support itself, then we turned our attention to taking some of what we were making and giving it back. Looking at the problems out there like clean water and lack of transportation, and seeing how easily they can be solved, I just feel it’s important to try and do a part.”
We chatted with Papé from Miir’s Seattle, Washington, headquarters about how the program works, the cost of clean water, and why he believes that everyone who wants a bike should get one.