Bikes for the World

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Get Outside, Promote the Ride

Last year we said good bye to King Farm where a bulk of our Rockville Youth Bike Project (RYBP) work took place. We continue to offer student service learning hours needed for graduation to area youth at our Arlington warehouse and at events within the city of Rockville.

REI plays a huge part in this effort with our bike collections hosted there for the past decade. In fact, it is through an REI grant that our King Farm warehouse got up and running. We also owe a great deal of gratitude to REI and specifically staff members Rhonda Krafchin and Mark Nelson, for their long-standing support and effort setting up the RYPB as well as successful collections at numerous REI locations in the area.

The following offers a snapshot of our collaborative effort over the years:
 

Bikes Collected

For the last 10 years, the REI and Bikes for the World partnership has provided a unique community outreach experience for members of REI. Customers upgrade to a new bike purchased from REI and donate their old bike to Bikes for the World. REI stores have hosted 71 bike collections, generating an impressive 2,479 bikes. These donated bikes are shipped all over the world, changing lives for the better.

Promoting Volunteerism

Our REI-BfW collection events also engaged over 400 volunteers with more than 3,000 hours of service. Thanks to the support of REI, we converted an old barn into a vibrant warehouse, which served as the hub of our volunteer effort for 7 years. Volunteers logged over 6,500 hours prepping bikes for donation and learning teamwork and mechanical problem-solving skills.

Eagle Projects

Seven Boy Scouts have partnered with BfW and REI to hold bike collections as part of their Eagle Scout community service project. Boys work with the management team at REI to help promote the event and bring our donors into REI. Two other Eagle projects led the REI-funded effort to transform an old barn into our Rockville warehouse, where we dispatched bikes to partners around the world.

Bikes Donated

BfW celebrated the donation of our 100,000th bike during America Recycles Day 2014. During our tenure at our Rockville warehouse, BfW loaded and donated over 25,000 bikes. Partnering with area community groups and schools we provided rewarding educational service projects loading containers of bikes that were donated to individuals in Africa, Central America, Asia, and the United States.

Encouraging Safe Riding

With REI’s guidance, BfW created a local bike program, teaching maintenance and repair skills, and promoting bicycle use and recreational safety to area youth. BfW went into area schools to teach safe riding practices and perform helmet fittings. BfW provided over 300 refurbished bikes to area youth who earned them through completing tasks focused on good grades and exhibiting positive values.

Saving Our Environment

REI bike shop staff routinely set aside abandoned bikes and unsellable stock to donate to BfW. We also rescue bikes from local recycling centers. Volunteers earn service-learning hours while learning their way around a bicycle, stripping parts from unusable bikes and prepping bikes for donation. Parts we collect through this project are crucial to keeping donated bikes up and running overseas. This effort removed 313,740 lbs. of metal from our waste stream and put it to good use.


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