Bikes for the World

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Numbers

The numbers are in even though not all of the bikes are yet! I'm talking about the recent partnership with Dick's Sporting Goods(DSG) and Bikes for the World. DSG recently offered a promotion to their customers that involved trading in an old bike for a new one, or rather money off a new one.

And I bet you aren't really asking what they did with the old ones since you are reading this here! Yes, indeed, all of those traded in bikes have been trickling, okay trucking, into Lorton the last two weeks. THOUSANDS of bikes! We are thrilled to have such and amazing partner like DSG.

That's how many stores participated in the promotion yielding us those 4,191 bikes. We will be getting our last shipment sometime next week. Then comes the task of shipping them all back out again!Hats off to the staff at DSG who really helped us out by watching our processing video and prepping the bikes BfW style,  just like our Collection Managers and volunteers. This saved us tons of time and themselves tons of space as they also packed the trailers to be sent from their distribution centers from Atlanta to the Mid West.

There were twelve 53' containers in all, two of them shared with our sister organization Working Bikes in Chicago, who also ships to some of our same partners overseas. Each of these trucks held somewhere close to 350-400 bikes.

Consider the fact that we typically load about 500 bikes inside a 40' container! We did see a few damaged wheels coming in from DSG possibly from the movement in the back of the trailer.

Our rows are packed a lot tighter when we ship overseas. Sometimes you may wonder if this damages the derailleurs the way we push on them. We have gotten some feedback that gears need tweaked on the other side, obviously (I'm pretty sure I have a bike or two in my shed that need tweaked right now too!) but overall, the damage that could potentially be done if they have the room to rock with the ocean is much worse.

Once we off loaded all the incoming bikes our volunteers counted and confirmed the totals. We then took on the bigger task of going over all the bikes.

Craig Annear hands down a bike off an earlier DSG delivery
How was the quality of the bikes donated you ask? Can you say AWESOME?! Only about 2 per 500 weren't up to our standards to ship overseas. That means out of 4,191 bikes, 4,180 of them will be shipped in tact overseas. That's incredible! Anything not up to our standards is stripped for usable parts and those parts are then shipped with the bikes.

Bikes for the World has a reputation across the globe of sending not only quality bikes but also the right kind of bike for the local terrain. We listen to our International Partners and give them what they need. More often than not this is a sturdier, fatter tired bike, good for hauling goods over unpaved roads. This is exactly what we received from DSG more often than not; about 80-90% of the bikes donated fit this description. 

Don't take my word for it. See it for yourself. Check out the bikes, see them fill the space, count them if you can!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Yes! We do donate some our bikes right here in our community. We are asked this all the time. While most of our efforts are overseas due to the large quantity of bikes we ship, we do support a few local programs as well and today we gave away about 30 bikes out at King Farm.

Bikes for the World is proud to partner with the City of Rockville Department of Recreation and Parks every year to supply bikes for their TERRIFIC program. The TERRIFIC program is a values-building program aimed at reinforcing good habits and practices by young people in the community.

This year 30 students earned bikes through this program by completing tasks defined by the Department. Awardees must be TERRIFIC Rockville citizens...Trustworthy, Earnest, Respectful, Responsible, Involved, Fair, Industrious, and Caring.

Along with Jenny Olin Bike Safety, Coordinator  of Rockville, Bikes for the World representatives including Keith, Nick, Craig, and several new board members, helped fit kids with new helmets and locks donated through BfW and the City of Rockville. The kids were then allowed to pick out a reconditioned bike donated by BfW.

This program is open to all students enrolled in grades 1-5 in Rockville public or private elementary schools. With the completion of six (or more) of the responsible acts listed on the back of the program flyer issued by the City of Rockville a child can earn a bike through this program. They just need a responsible adult (parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, or guardian) to sponsor and monitor their progress. A non-family member must certify at least two of the responsible acts.
Bikes for the World does support half a dozen local programs. In addition to the TERRIFIC program in Rockville, BfW also partnered with Montgomery County's temporary workers' program to donate more than 20 bicycles to individuals needing transportation to get to work.

In Arlington, an "earn-a-bike" program with Phoenix Bikes benefits from some bikes donated by Bikes for the World. This program receives quality road bikes which teens repair and either sell--to support the program--or earn for their own use. They are mentored by experienced adults in a structured, safe, and supportive environment. BfW is always looking for qualified organizations such as this to support local bike use.

Finally, BfW donates a number of children's bicycles--especially of a size manufactured by Wal-Mart which is not found overseas and therefore not overly sustainable or easily repaired or replaced outside the USA. These bikes are often donated to one of three Northern Virginia "Christmas bike" programs gifting bikes to children in low-income households.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Couple of Cool Kids!

Ann Jackson and Friends
What a day! Bikes for the World supported three collections today at Sherwood High School with Olney Rotary, Glenwood Middle School with Glenwood Lions Club, and Pedal Pushers with veteran Ann Jackson and Friends. 158 bikes came into King Farm by late afternoon with the help of drivers Keith, Nick, and Yvette.

All three of these organizations have been supporting BfW since the beginning. I can't put my finger on the exact number, but between the three of them they have collected over 1,000 bikes for Bikes for the World. And Pedal Pushers Bike Shop, where one of the collection points was, is also a regular drop off point for us bringing in a bunch more!

This blue bicycle was donated by the Writt family at the Glenwood Middle School collection. Brandon and Megan saved their allowance and bought this brand new bicycle just to donate to Bikes for the World.

Mom Robin says it took quite a while for them to save that much but feels it's important for them to save a third and donate a third to a cause. I didn't ask what happens to the last third, but they definitely earned the right to enjoy it!They chose a bike for this collection as their 'jumping off' point. And Mom even processed it so it is ready to be shipped!
And shipped it was! Here we are loading it that very afternoon onto the container heading to Ghana in a couple days. This shipment will be heading to the Village Bicycle Project (VBP).

VBP delivers bicycles to urban and rural users, but with a particular focus on rural development through providing targeted training and sales. Working in partnership with Peace Corps volunteers and other rural change agents, VBP trainers (former teachers and bike mechanics Samson Ayine and Geirge Aidoo) provide intensive instruction to local teachers, health workers, agricultural extension workers, and other village-level workers in bicycle maintenance. Individuals who complete the course gain access to a reconditioned bicycle at a discoutned price.

You can totally follow their progress on our Website or better yet, check them out on facebook!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bike To Work

Don Marco with his BfW bike
Imagine riding your bike to work EVERY day. No pit stops, no fanfare, no happy hour after work. Today was Bike To Work Day, and although many people in DC do ride every day, it's not the only quick, inexpensive way to get around. We have Metro, buses, fact, everything is so tightly packed in the city you can often just walk.

Not so in many of the areas of the world. Getting to work and school is often a time consuming, expensive excursion. Many people walk several hours just to get to work. In fact, some of them live so far from their jobs they often spend the night away from their families just to save time.
Aisha Nakibuka
Some of our beneficiaries use their bikes to get to and from work faster allowing for more time at home with their children. Other families are able to use their bikes for work, getting them to more customers or enabling them to carry more product greater distances, increasing the amount of money they are able to bring home.

The alternative means of transportation is often walking. With the use of a bicycle health care workers are able to see more patients. Teachers can stay later at school to help students with work when they have a bike to get them home faster.

Marco Vinicio (don Marco) sells ice cream and frituras (fried snacks). Before he had a bicycle he could only reach a few construction sites making very little money. When he bought a bicycle from our International partner FINCA Costa Rica he was able to travel greater distances, increasing his sales immediately. Aisha Nakibuka saw similar results in Uganda. Aisha has a honey and wax business, but had a difficult time delivering the honey fast enough to keep it fresh. When she bought a bicycle she saw her monthly income almost double.

You only have to see the pictures to see how a bike can change a life almost immediately overseas. Whether it is used for transportation to and from work, during the work day, or even as a method to carry more stuff...the bicycle is a powerful tool empowering communities.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Thousand One Hundred Thirty Eight

Theresa Bucci of Salsa Labs with BfW Volunteer Bob Evans
1138 bikes in one week...and we aren't done! Bikes for the World received the second shipment of bikes from the Dick's Sporting Goods trade-in promotion today. Actually we received TWO trucks before day's end.

760 bikes arrived today at our Lorton storage facility in Virginia. We barely got one truck unloaded when the second one pulled up. With the help of volunteers from SALSA, our listserv and online fundraising vendor, and a handful of regular BfW volunteers we were able to unload both of these trucks by the afternoon.
Tight fit at Lorton
With all the rain from earlier in the week the grounds at Lorton were still saturated with water. Our truck driver, however, was game to try to get the truck to our loading dock to make unloading the bikes easier. Unfortunately, due to some obstacles (like a light post) near our makeshift dock and the size of his trailer (53 feet) he was unable to make it work. You can see the tight fit he attempted between the buildings. The grass was also so muddy his wheels were spinning just trying to park.

So here we were again unloading bikes, stacking them outside the building, then rolling them inside after counting them. Our first truck didn't even have a ramp so we were just handing them down to volunteers who moved them out of the way. It was a lot of moving bikes but thanks to all the help we had it went relatively smoothly. And again we were pleased with the high quality of bikes we were receiving and the number of mountain bikes, which are in high demand overseas.

Phil Ruth cannot be stopped.
And today we had bolt cutters to help with the seal, remember I told you not to ask about Monday's incident wrestling the seal? That's how Phil's arm ended up in a sling. Didn't hardly slow him down, however. As Yvette handed off bikes two by two to volunteers rolling them into the gym Phil would request one with a high seat on the left as he wedged it under his bent injured arm. He also continued to process bikes getting his pretty blue sling marked up with the unmistakable grease of a seasoned BfW volunteer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bikes for the World, EH?

Bob Evans mentoring a group of students during winter load
From Director Keith Oberg: 
Bikes for the World is a “do-it-yourself” volunteer-based organization built on the muscle, guidance, talent, and energy of un-paid individuals who contribute without any monetary reward.  This should not mean that they go un-recognized, and over the next few months, Bikes for the World will feature several who have been instrumental in enabling us to transition to a more effective, larger-scale network.   These include board members, “key volunteers” distinguished by sustained participation, and representatives of our 100+ community partners who have been instrumental in successful collection and outreach events.

One individual who merits recognition at this time is Alexandria-resident and super-cyclist Bob Evans.  Bikes for the World has benefited from Bob’s business and communications background in moving forward on institutional issues, including the recent contracting of a firm to revise the Bikes for the World website.  He has dedicated many hundreds of hours to basic physical tasks, including moving, sorting, and prepping bikes for shipment.  He has been a constant presence processing bikes, fixing bikes for our TERRIFIC youth program in Rockville and for the occasional sale, and loading bikes for overseas destinations. 
Combining these two elements, Bob has occupied a key role in representing Bikes for the World and leading less-experienced and new volunteers, at collections, loadings, and other public events.  From time to time, he has opened up our Thursday volunteer night at Rockville; of late, this spring, he has regularly done the same on Saturday afternoons for incoming trucks at our Lorton site.   He is among the select few that have taken on the physical and leadership challenges of the infamous” third tier” in shipping containers, enabling us to load more shipments.    
Bob doing his thing during DSG unload
The bad news is: Bob is moving on and re-locating to Toronto Canada.  The good news is that he has the initiative, analytical and inter-personal skills, and physical energy to assess feasibility of, and create, a Bikes for the World affiliate or sister initiative in that five-million inhabitant Metropolitan area.   So the even better news is that we will continue in touch and in all likelihood work together to foster a growing, continent-wide movement for tapping the power of used bicycles for community service and learning, and sustainable human development.
Thanks, your patience, your skills, and your ipod will be missed!

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's Raining Bikes!

The bikes are in. Well, ONE load of them. 378 bikes to be exact. This is the first shipment of MANY Bikes for the World will be receiving from our recent partnership with Dick's Sporting Goods (DSG).

For one week, to kick off Bike Month, DSG held an in-store promotion accepting trade-ins for money off a new bike. Those trade-in bikes were in turn generously offered to BfW from DSG.

In each of their 481 stores, customers were able to trade in a bike when purchasing a new one. We love this deal not only because we are awaiting over 3,500 bikes, but because a new bike will hopefully get a cyclist riding a bike even more! This is why we love partnering with bike's a win-win-win, for programs overseas, bike shops, and the local rider.

Thank you to everyone who came out to help with this first shipment...Bob, Craig, Phil, Adam, Paul, Keith, Nick, and Yvette. They braved the weather, fought the traffic, wrestled with the bolt seal (don't ask) to make this first shipment roll without a hitch.

The weather did prevent the truck from pulling closer to our storage area and therefore our makeshift 'dock' but thankfully the truck had a ramp. So we rolled the bikes right off the truck and against the building.

Most of the bikes needed more processing, but thanks to DSG staff not much. They did a great job removing the pedals and attaching them to the frames with cable ties. They also turned the handlebars and took off some training wheels (thank you!) BfW pitched in by finishing up the final processing tweaks, counted the bikes, and stacked them inside to join the others soon enough.

In this shipment we found bikes coming from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, even as far away as California (but we suspect that might have been from someone who moved). And the quality of the bikes is AWESOME! We don't know where these bikes will be heading yet, but with this many bikes, maybe ALL of our partners! They will certainly be in West Africa and Central America possibly by this fall.

On Wednesday we will be preparing to receive TWO shipments in the same day. We are hoping for sunshine and dry ground so we can pull the trucks closer to the old gym. Ideally, we would like to be able to roll the bikes straight from the truck to the gym, that's one of the reasons we process the bikes the way we do.

People often say, "wouldn't it be even smaller if you took the wheels off?" Well, it doesn't save a TON of space to do this AND you have to carry the bikes to load. And remember our shipments are over 500 bikes so that's a lot of carrying. And don't be fooled by those 'small' bikes, some of them are the heaviest ones!  So that's why we leave the wheels on...we like to make our volunteers' work as simple as possible. Hope to see you out there soon!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

From DC to Kampala

Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church Collection
On Saturday May 5th Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church held its first bike collection with Bikes for the World. By the time BfW arrived first thing in the morning they were already wheeling out close to 30 or more bikes they had collected the previous week! They had them lined up and ready to be processed.

We had a great group of volunteers who came out to pitch in and help with the collection. But let me tell you, the ladies of Pilgrims Rest are not afraid to get greasy! Everyone there picked up a tool at some point and helped prepare the bikes for our next shipment, which just happened to be next week (TODAY!).

This is what we love to entire group or congregation coming together to contribute to the success of one common goal, in this case a first time collection with Bikes for the World. So they collected the bikes AND loaded them on the container for Africa!

 This isn't the first service project Pilgrims Rest has tackled either! They old us about the houses they helped build in Haiti after the earthquake and financial training they provided in Africa. They were quite excited to share the next mission trip to South Africa they are planning for next year as well.
Financial training is one thing BfW is proud to say one of our partners in Africa holds in high regards. Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia provides business training right along with the donation of bicycles. And you might know one of our latest shipments was heading to this very project.

 BEN Namibia creates these 'Bicycle Empowerment Centres' which are basically the same containers we pack with bicycles. These BECs contain around 300 bicycles and spare parts and tools. They are delivered to communities where the BECs act as basically, bike shops. The bikes are reconditioned and sold and the BEC becomes a small local business. BEN Namibia trains the locals not only in mechanics but also in how to run a business to ensure its success.

You can read more about BEN Namibia on their web page or ours. For now let's get back to Pilgrims Rest and better yet, the container we loaded today for Uganda.

And this is why we are talking about Pilgrims Rest! Some of the group we worked with last weekend came back out THIS weekend, this time to our Lorton storage facility, where we were loading for Uganda.

It was so great to have this group come out with us after a collection the previous weekend. They were able to see how their work adds to a larger project and see why it was so important to process the bikes like we request. Oh and they also got to place some of the very same bicycles that were donated at their collection into the container today.

After leaving Lorton later today the bikes in this container will head to Baltimore where they will be loaded onto a ship and set sail for Uganda. Because of its location in Africa shipping here is actually a several step process and therefore longer and more expensive than some of the other places we ship.

But we feel this project with the Prisoner's Support Organization is doing a lot of good and therefore ship several containers there throughout the year. Bicycles delivered through PSO have helped homemakers get to and from market so they can buy necessary food and supplies for their families. The bikes have helped workers increase reach in the markets therefore increasing sales. Some new bike owners use them to see AIDS patients decreasing the amount of time it takes to travel long distances making it possible to see many more patients. The Hormisddallen School also purchases kids bikes from PSO for sporting events with the students.

Uganda shipment leaving Lorton

Friday, May 11, 2012

Send In The Bikes

BfW space in Lorton Gymnasium
Lorton is ready. Bikes for the World staff and dedicated volunteers spent the week preparing our Lorton storage area for the big shipment of bikes expected this next week from Dick's Sporting Goods. I for one, have never seen the gym look this nice! The bikes are stacked and the floor is swept.

Word on the street is there are TONS of bikes heading this way from the week long promotion at DSG, with the first truck slated to arrive on Monday morning. The official total? 3,660! There's a total of about 8 trailers heading this way filled with bikes; have I mentioned we need help next week? Call the office for times (they vary from day to day, but we could get a truckload every day next week!). One load of bikes is actually going to our sister organization Working Bikes in Chicago who will help us load and ship more bikes overseas.

Meanwhile back at Lorton, we never stop. The loading for the Prisoners Support Organization in Uganda is underway. When I left, dedicated volunteers like Phil Ruth, Fred Schuyler, Bob Evans, and Peter Berty were hard at work rolling bikes onto the mostly empty trailer. You can see Phil here on the left with Keith packing the first row of bikes and filling in space with tiny bikes and tubes and parts.

Also never resting, are our bike collections. We have two tomorrow: one at Bishop O'Connell HS and one in Waldorf with Waldorf Kiwanis. So if you donate a bike at one of these two sites tomorrow there is a high chance it could end up in this trailer and be in Uganda Africa by next month!

Okay, to recap...we are busy packing about 500 bikes into the trailer above. Starting Monday, trailers will start arriving each carrying about 350 bikes, totalling maybe 10 truckloads. We need to unload these trucks in two hours or less and get ready for the next one. We will be separating and organizing these bikes as they come in so they are ready for the next loading at Lorton, which I feel compelled to point out will be long overdue by week's end when we refill the gym with over 3,000 bikes!

Phil Ruth
We are expecting a great crew of folks to come out and help...but there is always room for one more! And I hate to point out the obvious, but with Phil amongst our ranks, we have plenty of clowns! SEND IN THE BIKES! We. Are. Ready.

If you've never met this character Phil (only heard about him) you really need to come out this week to at least meet him. For years he has been representing BfW in Western Maryland. He's been supporting collections, picking up bikes at shops, pushing bikes in containers (yes, that's him sitting on his butt with the bikes, a huge smile on his face!), and even turning in our scrap metal for recycling.

 I heard a rumor (ugly, ugly rumor) he might be moving soon so I'm taking a second to give a shout out to one of our hardest working, most dedicated volunteers. If you've worked with already know! Thanks Phil!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Going Social!

One of the things that makes Bikes for the Philippines so darn cool is how connected they are to social media. This allows us here in DC to peep in on the project daily through their Facebook page. Before I even stepped foot on the island I felt like I had friends in the Philippines. It made my first trip overseas just that much easier.

Here at Bikes for the World we are finding more and more that the web is the place to be! When Collection Managers are trying to advertise for a bike collection personal emails to friends and listservs tend to pull the most people to collections anymore. And Facebook is the best place to invite friends to an event or even share photos after the collection. If you haven't already LIKED should!

In fact, while I was in Manila and Bohol I was uploading photos from that same day's activities right there to our facebook page. And back here in DC I was able to practically watch as the same group of students I had just met and ridden with were graduating from Baclayon National High School.

Some of the BfP bike beneficiaries have already graduated

It seems almost fitting that Bikes for the World is preparing to receive over 3,500 bicycles from last week's promotion at Dick's Sporting Goods this week. While I was in Manila in February, we received the initial email contact from DSG's marketing firm inquiring about a possible partnership this spring. Through the magic of the internet I was able to respond to that email via our virtual office as well as inform Keith of this opportunity while he was also off in some '-Istan' country (I wasn't even sure which one at the time!).

Fast forward to today. Volunteers have been busy all week preparing our Lorton storage site for the arrival of these bikes. Starting today, tractor trailers will be delivering the bikes Dick's Sporting Goods collected during their Trade In Trade Up Promotion.

Think about what 3,500 bikes means to us... We typically ship about 500 bikes per container. That's SEVEN loads of bikes heading overseas from just 'one' collection. Okay, it was a NATIONWIDE collection, but how cool is that? For one whole week, 481 Dick's Sporting Goods Stores from Florida to Washington collected bikes now being donated to Bikes for the World.

Mama Alex

And those bikes might be heading overseas as early as Saturday! This Saturday May 12th we are loading a container heading to the Prisoner's Support Organization in Uganda. You can read more about Mama Alex (seen here to the right) and other beneficiaries on our web page. You can also read more about the PSO and find other links on our web page.

And while you are there...check out the volunteer page. We need your help unloading all these bikes! You can find directions to our Lorton site and contact information on who to call to sign up. Hope to see you out there this week!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How BfW Started

St Andrew of the Apostle 2005
 Before we dive into what is happening in the Philippines, how about a little background about Bikes for the World. BfW started in 2005 with a spattering of collections around the DC area. We partner with groups in the community who simply reach out to their circles of friends and ask if they have any old bikes they'd like to donate.

Before you could spin a pedal 360 degrees, we had thousands of bikes. By the end of our first year we shipped almost 6,000 bikes to countries such as Panama, Sri Lanka, and Costa Rica, to name a few. In fact we donated bikes to nine countries in 2005 including some that stayed right here in the United States.
Keith Oberg and Craig Annear

 Although we do service several programs here in the DC area, the bulk of what we donate does go overseas. There are several reasons for this. The biggest reason to ship overseas involves the number of bikes we are rescuing from landfills and garages here in the US. In 2008 we topped 10,000 bikes (that's just for that year)!

For example, in 2005 we distributed over 5,000 bikes and by the end of this month we will already be at that number for 2012! It is these impressive numbers that makes Bikes for the World the nation's largest non-profit bicycle reuse program.

Because we are shipping 500+ bicycles at one time we needed to find non-profit partners that could handle the large volume of bikes we typically ship. Not only that, but we needed to find partners who would distribute the bikes to areas that needed them most. Given Director, Keith Oberg's background in overseas development programs both professionally and as a volunteer, he was the perfect guy for the job.

BfW then came up with a sort of checklist for groups seeking bikes overseas. 
  • Provide information evidencing a track record of social service delivery or economic empowerment benefiting the poor;
  • Financial statement for the most recent year;
  • Reference—contact information for an individual familiar with the proponent agency (the individual should preferably speak and write in English or Spanish, and work with a known international organization); and
  • Provide a work plan clearly describing what types of bicycles would be useful, how they would be used, and how the project would be managed.
This not only ensures a vested interest in both parties' corners, but provides BfW with the necessary feedback to ensure that the program we are supporting is sustainable. Some of those programs that have been with us from the start are:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hopes and Dreams of The Future

BfW/BfP Banner
Since I joined Bikes for the World back in 2010 I have been passing along beneficiary stories from across the globe about how Bikes for the World is changing lives. In February 2012, I got to see it for myself. This blog will introduce you to an amazing group of young adults possibly riding YOUR old bicycles. This is a personal account of my trip to the Philippines, in which I hope to show you how our donated bikes are not only changing the lives of families in a remote area of Bohol, but also how they are changing a school system, a culture, even how they changed my own life.

Over the next few weeks I hope to share with you a personal view of one of Bikes for the World's latest partners Bikes for the Philippines. BfP was born from the dream of one man who was inspired by many. That man, Joel Uichico, ran a buggy tour through the rustic roads of Baclayon, the very town now peppered with the unmistakable green helmets of BfP beneficiaries. He noticed some of these same children walking great distances to school over steep, rocky, muddy roads, often without shoes.

Joel approached his cousin Jo Grant, who lived in the United States, to see if she could help get donated bikes for these children of Baclayon. Joel found that students were dropping out of school because of the distances between their homes and schools. His hope was to give these students bikes from the United States to help keep them in school.

Gensler Collection
Meanwhile, local cyclist Joel Esguerra had similar dreams. Independently of Uichico and Grant, Esguerra approached BfW, with the same hope of bringing bikes to the children of the Philippines. The three of them got together in the spring of 2011 at a BfW collection managed by Esguerra and sponsored by his company, Gensler.

Uichico returned to the Philippines dedicated and inspired that BfP would soon be receiving their first shipment of bikes from BfW. He began the process of identifying beneficiaries by interviewing families who lived 3-5km (that's up to 3 miles!) from school. Throughout this interview process, Uichico noted one common theme between all potential bike beneficiaries...these children had no hopes or dreams of the future.

In November 2011, Jo Grant and I began talking about a trip she would be taking to the Philippines in 2012 to visit family as well as this new bike program. Looking for a place to take my vacation, I decided on the Philippines! In February, Grant and I would meet in person for the first time in Concourse A at Detroit Metro Airport, before boarding the 20 hour flight to Manila.

This is the first entry as I document that journey. Please join us as I take you to Manila and eventually Bohol, where we will not only ride with the beneficiaries of Baclayon, but we will talk with their teachers, their families, and their local officials. We will visit their schools by buggy and by bike. You will get to see where they live, how they travel, and where they are now, as the first group of students just recently graduated from high school.

Here is an introductory photo montage video of the Philippines project: