Bikes for the World

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NORM!

Norm Jacob, Kevin Dolan, and Keith Oberg
Cheers! We had a donor give us TEN brand NEW Kona Africa bikes around Christmastime last year and we want everyone to know his name. So when you wander into Race Pace Bicycles in Columbia this season we want you to yell, "Norm" like you just walked into that famous bar in Boston.

This isn't the first time Norm Jacob donated a fleet of new bicycles to Bikes for the World. A few years back he bought quite a few one speed Kona Africa Bikes that we shipped to Uganda.

Then late last year, we got word from Race Pace that he was at it again! This time he bought 10 3-speed Africa Bikes that were included in our latest shipment to Kenya.

But we wanted to know more about our "Secret Santa" so we went up to Race Pace to meet him in person. Turns out Norm is a part time mechanic there.
Norm shared with us how that happened, "I used to be in public service. I'd just like to do something completely different. And this is completely different."

When Norm retired he was looking around for something to do (besides ride his bike) and an employee at Race Pace suggested he take their Parks Tool course. After he finished up the guy approached him and offered him a job.

"I thought, let's give this a shot. That was seven or eight years ago."

That would be about right. Norm told us the reason he originally took the job at Race Pace was because he had heard about Bikes for the World and he wanted to get involved with the organization. "I got to thinking that was a pretty good thing to do," says Norm. So he wanted to hone his skills to help BfW.

"We often had to wrestle, literally, with them in the back 'til they got picked up." He is talking about our bike donations that come in through Race Pace. All Race Pace locations serve as an intake point for us. In fact, before opening their new shop, they even let us park a trailer at their Ellicott City location.

 When Norm found out we ship the bikes overseas 'as is' to help generate employment there, he decided to make an even bigger impact. So he decided to use an employee discount to buy new bikes to donate.
New bike donation from Donald Mahley
"I certainly hope I'm not the only one who's donated new bikes," Norm humbly questioned.

And after poking around the warehouse, we managed to find this brand new Trek (left) that came in through Spokes Etc., also around the holidays.

All of these new bikes were recently loaded by Sasha Bruce Youthwork, who came out to Lorton for a service project. This shipment will be sent to BfW partner Wheels of Africa in Kenya.

Several regular volunteers as well as some from Fairfax Volunteers for Change came out during the two-day load to help us process many bikes that came in from area bike shops.

After a year-end holiday sales offer, Spokes Etc, our largest local bike retailer partner, added another 50 or more bikes to our supply. Many of these bikes were included in this 522 bike shipment (quite a few of them 'like new'). We are confident that our Kenyan partner will LOVE this container.

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