Within the boundaries of Alajuela one can find stunning waterfalls, a topiary wonderland in Francisco Alvarado park, a colorful array of flora and fauna, and lush rain forests. Perhaps the biggest attraction is one of Costa Rica's largest active volcanoes, Arenal, which watches over the province.
Tourists can buy rambutan from small roadside vendors without leaving the car or by visiting the larger commercial marketplaces in more populated areas. These markets bustle with local farmers and vendors selling their products brought from farther away homes and farms. Fruits, veggies, even fine leather products like belts and saddles are sold in these community markets.
These bikes provide much needed, affordable transportation to farmers and merchants who need to travel many miles to reach the bigger markets to sell their home-grown products. Our bikes save them time and money by getting them to market faster and with more product to sell.
Bikes are also used by many of the children going to school in Upala. Eight-year-old Kevin (right) just received his bike in June. His mom, Yorleny travels to school with him every day. A trip that used to take over a half hour now takes only 10 minutes.
In addition to helping members complete errands faster and assisting vendors with added carrying capacity, our bikes are helping students commute to school faster and stay in school. In one particular village only 35 members have acquired a college degree. They are expecting the percentage of graduates to decrease in upcoming years due to the high drop out rate in elementary and secondary schools. Many families cite high transportation costs as the reason for pulling kids out of school. Bringing bikes to these villages is increasingly important to help families and communities continue to thrive.