Bikes for the World

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Giving Used Bikes a Second Life

Carl Henn Memorial Ride 2011
By now you've heard us rave about the recent partnership with Dick's Sporting Goods and Bikes for the World. While this Trade Up program brought us thousands of bikes, what it also did was help Americans upgrade their rides and hopefully encouraged more bike use right here in the States.

Bikes for the World not only promotes cycling as transportation overseas, but we fully support advocacy efforts right here in the DC area too. We have participated in Bike To Work events, numerous Bike Fairs in communities and schools, and supported the Carl Henn Memorial ride in 2011.
Nick and Chris at Spokes Belle View
In fact, BfW has partnered with many local bike shops over the years who serve as Drop Off points for us year round. It is a relationship we are all proud of. We have gotten over 1,000 bikes from our local shop partners this year alone and over 1,500 last year. In addition to bike donations, shops will donate used tubes, tires, and parts that we in turn ship overseas to help mechanics there maintain the bikes we are sending.

Our relationship with bike shops is how we hope to help grow the number of people out on bikes in our area. Upgrading or fixing a bicycle is often what stands between a cyclist and the trail.

Properly maintaining a bicycle is key to keeping it running smoothly. Jill DiMauro, previous owner of Proteus in College Park, tells us dirt is often the culprit for wearing down parts prematurely. The greenest thing you can do for your bike is clean it, she says. But once the parts are worn they need to be replaced. Sometimes it just makes more sense to buy a new bike rather than fix the old one.

Keith rescuing bikes from Shady Grove
But some environmentally conscious cyclists are concerned about adding to the waste stream. Rightfully so, these used bicycles are certainly not 'waste'. In addition to bikes received at bike shops BfW also saves bikes left at recycling facilities in the area. BfW repurposed close to 2,000 bikes left at the Shady Grove Waste Transfer Station last year alone.

Larry Black, owner Mt Airy Bikes, has been recycling for years and even won the Green Shop Award a few years back. He will patch and reuse a tube until it's no longer round! Then he will cut them and use them for rubber bands or bungees. Black is a huge supporter of the work we are doing at BfW. He has been overseas on numerous occasions, both for work and fun, and he can tell you how important the bicycle can be to a family overseas, IF you can stop him from running around the shop long enough.
Recycled tube handbag
We have several key volunteers who help support the bike shops working with BfW. They pick up bikes stashed in overcrowded stock rooms and recycle rubber and metal that cannot be reused.

One of the programs we support in Ghana, The Village Bicycle Project, has actually requested our old tubes, even the ones that need patched. Tubes can be used and reused and reused; however, here locally they are often used and tossed in the trash. The quality of rubber that we have in the US is often of a higher quality than what they receive new in Africa. Our old tubes,therefore, are preferred  to brand new ones.

Donating an old bike makes room for a new one AND makes the donor feel good to find a new owner for an old friend. We hope a brand new, properly tuned bike gets folks out riding more often.

All the shops we work with are supplied with receipts and can not only take a bike donation and financial donation to BfW but they can issue a receipt at the time of the donation. We appreciate all the work they do for us knowing it takes time out of their day and space out of their shops. That's just how important this program is to many of them.

Many shops also serve as collection points for our regular seasonal collections as well. Bikenetic, Bike Doctor, Race Pace, Capitol Hill Bikes, and REI have all sponsored collections in the past year. And many of them share our updates online to their customers. A list of all our current shop partners is available on our website.

And the Dick's Sporting Good Partnership was just plain amazingly awesome! See for yourself:

No comments:

Post a Comment