Bicycles for better access to education



IU employees are turning March into a fitness challenge to donate bicycles to World Bicycle Relief (WBR) for a better access to education.

  • Sweating for a good cause: As part of a fitness challenge, IU employees cycled the equivalent of almost nine times around the world, covering 345,357 kilometres. 
  • For each round-the-world ride, IU donates ten bicycles to developing countries to give people in rural regions more mobility and better access to education. 
  • A heartfelt project that took place for the second time: for sustainable development and community cohesion. 

Erfurt, 3 April 2023. "For each other, with each other - together around the world" was the motto of this year's internal fitness challenge at IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU). In March 2023, the employees of Germany's largest university circumnavigated the globe almost nine times with their combined strength - and matched their goal from the previous year. More than 100 IU teams collected kilometres through sporting activities, tracked them in an app and together covered 345,357 kilometres for a good cause: for every circumnavigation of the globe, IU donates ten bicycles to the aid organisation, World Bicycle Relief (WBR). IU will round up the 90 bicycles to 100. 

"We are proud that so many colleagues took part in our fitness challenge, even more than last year. We have repeated the campaign because it is a great way to strengthen the team spirit among ourselves, to do something good for our own well-being - both physically and mentally - and to take small steps together towards our big IU vision: To give people worldwide access to education. With the bicycles from World Bicycle Relief, we are contributing to this with one of many more initiatives," explains Tim Kaltenborn Director People Organisation & Culture at IU International University of Applied Sciences. 

Sustainability is one of the most important pillars at IU 

IU is increasingly committed to sustainable development on an economic, social and ecological level and is guided by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. With the fundraising campaign, IU supports people in rural developing regions. Thanks to the provision of bicycles by WBR, local people become more mobile, self-reliant and financially independent. Especially for girls and women, access to education, good health care and professional self-determination is often difficult due to cultural norms. Therefore, according to WBR, 70 percent of the bicycles are given to female recipients to counteract their disadvantage. In rural developing regions, there is often only rudimentary or no transport infrastructure. The bicycle is a reliable, cost-effective and resource-saving means of shortening the often very long distances to school, work and shopping. 

Focus on team spirit and employee health 

1,270 employees across all IU locations and departments came together in teams to take part in the challenge and do something good together for themselves and their fellow human beings. With the help of the fitness app "TeamFit", all sports activities were recorded and converted into kilometres. Every form of exercise counted, such as the route to work by bike, a walk, a short home workout, yoga and mindfulness exercises, cleaning the house and much more, that way there was something for every participant. ThroughIthemed weeks, they received useful tips and exercises for a more relaxed everyday life, a healthy diet and a more sustainable lifestyle for example. 

"Sustainability and social responsibility naturally start in the company itself. Through campaigns like these, we try to raise awareness of this within IU as well and support our employees - just as much as our students - in their personal growth," says Kaltenborn. 

More information on World Bicycle Relief: https://worldbicyclerelief.org/ 

More information on sustainability at IU: https://www.iu.de/ueber-uns/nachhaltigkeit/ 


With over 130,000 students, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) is the largest university in Germany. The private, state-recognised educational institution with its headquarters in Erfurt began operations in 2000 and is now represented in more than 35 German cities. Students from over 190 nations design their studies according to their needs: whether practice-integrated dual studies, flexible distance learning or individual “myStudium”, which combines online self-study and campus life. IU wants to give people worldwide access to personalised education for a fulfilled and self-determined life. In more than 250 bachelor's, master's and MBA programmes, including over 50 in English, IU teaches students key skills relevant to the future. A digitally supported learning environment and the use of AI solutions help students to achieve optimal learning results and experiences. IU is one of the first universities in the world to have developed and deployed its own AI-supported learning buddy. IU cooperates with over 15,000 companies and supports them in the academic training of professionals. Partners include Motel One, Vodafone, AWO and Deutsche Bahn. Further information at: iu.org

The AI-supported learning buddy "Syntea" is now available as a public demo version in the ChatGPT store at the following link: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-P5olqoCPc-syntea