Bikes for the World

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Taking The LEED To Save The Environment and Change The World

What a difference a bike makes. One bike can change one life, and often times it doesn't stop there. Overseas, a bicycle is a ticket to work, school, or healthcare, but what we've seen at Bikes for the World is it changes lives in so many different ways. Really, one bike can change an entire village.
Courtesy BENN
For example these young children in Namibia are being fed through the Catholic AIDS Action soup kitchen. That soup kitchen is, in part, being funded with proceeds from the Omaruru BEC, a local Bicycle Empowerment Centre. These Centres are essentially remote bike shops set up by BfW partner Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN).

BEN trains local Namibians in both bicycle mechanics and business so that they are able to run their own locally run bicycle shops. Often the shops are no more than a used shipping container, just like we pack our bikes into when we ship them overseas.

Shop owners then come to a centrally locally BEN facility to purchase bikes and parts at low cost to take back to their bike shops for neighboring villagers. Mechanics then make sure the bikes are kept in good working order. Many BEC owners turn around and put the money they make back into the community, such as feeding orphans through a community organization.

For the second year in a row, Bikes for the World has partnered with national retailer DICK'S Sporting Goods( DSG) to take part in their annual Trade-In Trade-Up sale. The sale, which took place in early May, encourages bike owners to bring in their old rides to upgrade to newer models and hopefully get them out riding more. The owners, in turn, receive money off a new bike at DICK'S.

Better yet, DICK'S turns around and donates all the bikes received through this promotion to Bikes for the World where they end up changing lives. Thousands of lives are made better through this one promotion alone. A true testament to the value of reuse.
David Johnston from DICK'S joined us
Last year DICK'S donated over 4,000 bikes to Bikes for the World. As late as earlier this year, we were still shipping some of those bikes to our international partners. Each one changing ONE life, ONE family, perhaps one COMMUNITY.

A few weeks ago we started receiving shipments from this year's sale. We are expecting over 5,000 bikes to come into our new Pentagon City warehouse by the middle of June. We were honored to have DICK'S Marketing Director, David Johnston drive down from Pittsburgh to check out our operations.

Thanks to Vornado, our generous landlord, we currently have TWO warehouses in Arlington, blocks away from the Metro yellow/blue lines. (no excuses for you to not come down to help pack a container!) Not only do we LOVE this location, but it is truly making this year's DSG shipments smooth, not to mention POSSIBLE. We have electric, a dock, and plenty of room to store bikes.

Vornado is committed to sustainability and green living. We are extremely proud to have them join us in this massive effort. According to their website,
Vornado is the single largest owner of LEED certified buildings in the Washington Metropolitan Region. They are an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and committed to LEED certification in all new developments and in their existing buildings. As of 2012, Vornado/Charles E. Smith achieved LEED certification at 40 buildings, which total over 12.5 million square feet.

The partnership between Bikes for the World, DICK'S Sporting Goods, and indirectly, Vornado is making possible the delivery of over 5,000 bikes to about a dozen international partners in the next two months. This is over one third of our typical annual bike donations. It is making good use of a bicycle no longer used or under used, hopefully getting someone here out on a new bicycle, and helping someone overseas live a better life. Visit Bikes for the World to find out more or to find out how you can help!

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