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Fighting HIV/AIDS--and Trying to Save Lives--Two Wheels at a Time; Bicycling, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's Secure the Future Program and Kona Bicycle Company Deliver 200 Specially-Designed Bikes to Botswana to Launch ''BikeTown Africa''.

GABORONE, Botswana -- Health Care Workers, Advocates and Patients in Botswana Will Get Much-Needed Transportation Assistance

Bicycling magazine Editor-In-Chief Steve Madden, along with representatives from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's SECURE THE FUTURE program and the Kona Bicycle Company, will this week officially distribute 200 specially-designed and constructed Kona bicycles in two Botswana cities to assist home health care workers in caring for patients with HIV and AIDS as part of their joint BikeTown Africa program.

The initiative, the first international expansion of Bicycling's acclaimed four-year-old BikeTown USA program, is designed to assist health care workers with the delivery of home health aids and services in Botswana's rural and hard to reach areas.

Having personally assembled and tested each of the bikes earlier in the week, Madden and other BikeTown Africa delegation members will officially present 100 bikes in a public ceremony on Wednesday, May 24 to the Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme (BOCAIP) in Gaborone, then will drive 400km north to present 100 more bicycles to the Bobonong Home Based Care Society in a public ceremony on Saturday, May 27.

Both programs, along with BikeTown Africa, are supported by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's SECURE THE FUTURE program, an unprecedented $150 million corporate commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa. SECURE THE FUTURE has established a number of HIV and AIDS treatment programs throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including Botswana.

Botswana currently has the second-highest rate of HIV infection (38%) in the world, behind Swaziland. Home health care is a critical component of the treatment chain for those infected, and as many home care specialists often must walk miles between visits, the goal of BikeTown Africa is to enable caregivers to greatly increase the frequency of their home care visits (in some cases from 1 to 3 per day to as many as 6 or more per day).

All 200 bikes were generously designed, constructed and donated for BikeTown Africa by the Kona Bicycle Company. The bikes are specifically tailored to best suit local conditions while also requiring a minimum of maintenance. Spare parts and the training of local individuals on the repair and service of the bikes will ensure the bikes are fully utilized. (To view Kona's AfricaBike, and for blog reports on the design and construction process, visit www.konabiketown.com).

"Since we created BikeTown three years ago, we've seen hundreds of lives markedly and positively changed through the simple gift of a bicycle," said Madden, who created the program for Bicycling in Portland, Maine in 2003; the program since then has given away more than 1,300 bikes in 26 U.S. cities in an effort to chronicle the impact a new bike can have on the physical and emotional well-being of individuals, as well as their families and communities.

"BikeTown Africa is an opportunity for bikes to do more than just change lives. In this case, bikes can help save lives. So we're grateful for the very generous support of Kona Bikes, which has enthusiastically supported this effort from the outset, and especially thankful for the vision and partnership of Bristol-Myers Squibb, which through its longtime sponsorship of the Tour of Hope, has long understood the redemptive powers of a bicycle."

"Taking essential services, especially health care, to communities and those that need them most is a major challenge on our continent. This is severely compounded for those who need HIV and AIDS care and support," said Phangisile Mtshali, Bristol-Myers Squibb's SECURE THE FUTURE Director in southern Africa. "We hope that BikeTown Africa's efforts will not only assist in health care service delivery, but that they will also stimulate recreation and fitness activities among the youth."

"SECURE THE FUTURE programs have included the training of home health care workers to bring life sustaining programs into rural communities." said John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. "One of the greatest challenges in sub-Saharan Africa is reaching those afflicted with HIV/AIDS and living in extremely remote locations with no means of transportation. The gift of a bicycle to a home health care worker and counselor will profoundly impact the lives in these remote villages, and increase the number of people who will have access to these vital support services."

SECURE THE FUTURE has established one of its six African community-based treatment support programs at Bobonong Primary Hospital, through which the Bobonong Home Based Care Society operates. The Bobonong program provides medical treatment combined with care and support beyond the clinics, including home-based care, psychosocial counseling, food security, orphan care, and income-generating projects.

In Gaborone, BOCAIP is a SECURE THE FUTURE grant recipient that works nationally to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS through integrated counseling strategies encompassing pre and post test counseling, home visitations and trauma counseling.

"We are honored and humbled to develop a bicycle that will address these unique conditions and important demands," said Dan Gerhard, President of the Kona Bicycle Company. "BikeTown Africa is an example of what we, as an industry, should be doing.

"It might be too strong to say that the bicycle can save the world, but we believe it can and should play an integral part in the fundamental improvement of society."

About Bicycling:

As the industry leader, Rodale's Bicycling is the voice of cycling, providing the stories on the personalities, trends, and techniques behind the sport. Appealing to readers of every ability and interest level, the magazine features expert reviews of the latest equipment as well as training and fitness tips. Published 11 times a year, Bicycling, a 2006 National Magazine Award nominee, is the magazine for the athlete for whom the bicycle is the centerpiece of an active lifestyle.

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and SECURE THE FUTURE

In 1999, Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation launched SECURE THE FUTURE to help alleviate the HIV/AIDS crisis among women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the years, the program has funded more than 200 grants totaling $150 million to provide medical care and research, infrastructure- and capacity-building and community outreach and education in ten hard-hit countries in southern and West Africa. Through SECURE THE FUTURE, Ministries of Health, medical institutions, health care professionals, non-governmental, community-based and faith-based organizations have worked together to build sustainable models to address medical, educational and community outreach needs in southern and West Africa. In addition to the Children's Clinical Centers of Excellence, other programs developed and operated through grants include: a Community-Based Treatment Support Program for sustainable care, with sites in South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and Mali; and the BMS Foundation NGO Training Institute focusing on capacity-building in five southern African nations.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global pharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life.

About the Kona Bicycle Company:

The Kona Bicycle Company designs, manufacturers and distributes more than 60 models of purpose-built, high-performance mountain, road and urban bicycles. Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Ferndale, Washington, USA, Kona bicycles are distributed worldwide in more than 60 countries through independent specialty bicycle dealers and networks. Kona funds several professional mountain and cyclo-cross racing teams that include world cup champions, world champions and national champions such as Roland Green, Fabien Barel, Tracy Moseley, and Ann Knapp. For more information, visit www.konaworld.com
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Date:May 23, 2006
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