Krizia rents her beautiful red bike, Ruby on Cycle.land and all proceeds go towards funding humanitarian projects. We spoke to Krizia about Ruby and how humanitarian bikes can change the world. If you'd like to donate your bike to the humanitarian bike fleet, you can do so by contacting us.
Tell me a bit about yourself, Krizia. What is your background (studies, work)?
I’m originally from Mexico City. I have worked for almost 8 years in Migration and Innovation & Science issues in different institutions globally. In 2013, I studied a Master's degree in Migration Studies at Oxford University. I just moved back from San Francisco after working with Oxford Entrepreneurs of the Bay, a group dedicated to connect Oxford and Silicon Valley. I am now Head of Science and Innovation at the British Embassy in Mexico City.
How did you hear about Cycle.land?
When I was working in Silicon Valley, I worked with a group (OE of the Bay) that showcased startups in Oxford as a regular basis on social media. It was through an article in Forbes that I heard about Cycle.land, and because it started in Oxford, I had to follow it up. I remember thinking what a great idea Cycle.Land is!
After that, I met Agne (Cycle.land Founder) through Roy Azoulay at OUI startup incubator when I was in Oxford on a work trip. Roy is Agne’s mentor for Cycle.land. I remember Agne had a Cycle.land poster next to her, which I recognised from the Forbes article. It turned out that Agne and I had both studied Migration Studies at Oxford University, but a year apart! So there was an instant connection.
Ruby, the Humanitarian Bike is very popular on Cycle.land. Can you explain what a Humanitarian bike is?
It is a bike where all the funds are donated to humanitarian projects, in particular to migration and refugee projects. This year, all proceeds from the humanitarian bike will go to two projects. One project is Techfugees, an international organisation coordinating the tech community respond to the needs of refugees in the world. Another one is Migration Matters, an organisation empowering the public to have a more nuanced and evidence-based conversation about migration through bite-sized video courses that provide original ideas from leading thinkers in the field.
What is the story behind the bike?
This was my bike when I studied at Oxford University in 2013, which was a very special year for me. Ruby is called like that because its red, cute and the song that has the same name by the Kaiser Chiefs.
What is your vision for Humanitarian bikes? Could Humanitarian bikes change the world?
Of course! When I talked to Agne about the concept, we thought it’d be great to have a pilot project to show that the sharing economy can also make an impact - the ‘impact sharing economy’ where people wouldn’t only lend to make money but to create impact for others. My vision with Ruby is the first example to grow a fleet of humanitarian bikes to create many more funds. If more people see this example and follow it, it can change the world.
The idea is that it would be adopted by other companies in the sharing economy, e.g Airbnb. People would share their houses and the funds would go to humanitarian projects. This is just one example, in my view the "Impact Sharing-Economy" model that this humanitarian bike project is having through Cycle.land could be adapted in many other social issues in the world.
Did you know that the bike is famous in China?
Agne sent me the article and I got really excited because China has millions of bikes! If someone sees the idea it might then be replicated somewhere else and create a big-scale humanitarian impact.
Do you have plans to add more Humanitarian bikes to Cycle.land? There could be a whole fleet of Humanitarian bikes!
That is the next step, yes. To convince students or colleges of Oxford to donate bikes to the fleet. Also to inspire them to create their own charity causes through Cycle.land!
What is the best way for people to donate their bikes?
They can donate by contacting Cycle.land. We can spread the word through Cycle.land and the University to convince students to donate their bikes to the fleet. Even if it’s just for a few days a week when they are not using their bikes.
Ruby is outside QEH (the International Development Department) which is where Agne and I studied our degree in Migration Studies. We thought it was a great idea to permanently locate it there to be available for students and faculty. We want the humanitarian fleet to be all around Oxford, outside colleges, departments, and local community centres.
I manage Ruby and I can easily manage more bikes. It works really well. I think the whole point of the sharing economy model is trust. Ruby has been rented out through Cycle.land for almost a year and I’ve had no issues. I could definitely continue to do this with a bigger fleet.
I would encourage students, colleges or anyone else living at Oxford, to donate their bikes to the fleet. Oxford has many abandoned bikes that could be used to create humanitarian impact in the world.
Is there a story that stands out for you from renting Ruby to Cycle.land members?
An acquaintance I met at Oxford when studying, who is also a Cycle.land user, saw my bike on Cycle.land and rented it. She is very tall and Ruby is for shorter people but she wanted to rent it because it’s a Humanitarian bike. She knew the bike from when we were students but because Ruby had been refurbished, and had a new basket she didn’t recognise it at first. We were both surprised to reconnect through the Cycle.land message system!
I also have regular users. Most are students doing Migration Studies or Development Studies at the International Development Department. I always love it when the same users keep renting Ruby, and it gives me extra trust.
Thank you, Krizia :)
Ruby can be rented for £1 a day here