Bikes for the World

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Bikes vs. Used

Modesto Pinto

Modesto is one of Bikes for the World's oldest beneficiaries. Meaning, he's owned one of our donated bikes since the beginning. Modesto purchased this Trek from Goodwill Panama, our partner in Panama, ten years ago and it's still in great shape, a testament to the value of a quality used bicycle.

Modesto lives in Valle de Antón  where he owns and operates the town's bicycle repair shop. Anton Valley is about two hours from Panama City, making Modesto's bike shop invaluable to the residents outside the city. In addition to bike repair, Modesto repairs flat automobile tires for the local police and residents. He also salvages damaged truck tires, turning them into planters by cutting them in half and then selling them to local gardeners.

Modesto supports his family with income from this diverse repair shop. He is especially proud to have supported his daughter through nursing school. Modesto's shop is successful enough that he also has an assistant, Ismael Rodriguez.

Ismael Rodriguez (Rápido)

Modesto's assistant Ismael, also known as Rápido, bought a brand new Rali two years ago. Rali is popular bicycle brand out of China that is relatively inexpensive...initially. Rápido has already, in two years time, replaced everything on the bike, except the seat.

Fortunately Rápido works in a repair shop and has the skills to do the maintenance work himself. He has replaced the brakes, handlebar, crank, shifters, seat post, even the wheels. The only original parts truly are the frame and the seat.

Modesto's Trek has served him well since 2005. With simple tune ups and basic care, he has kept it running for the last decade with minimal cost. In contrast, Rápido bought a cheaply made Rali that began breaking down immediately.  In order to make a bike more affordable, lesser quality parts are often placed on the bike initially. While this brings down the cost of a bike, it also diminishes the quality, ensuring the bike will not survive long without constant care and repairs, in the end costing more.

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