Bikes for the World

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Featured Volunteer: Mark Winn-Ritzenberg

Mark Winn-Ritzenberg loves bikes. And Bikes for the World LOVES Mark Winn-Ritzenberg. We met Mark about a decade ago when he came across Bikes for the World while working as a teacher at Alice Deal Middle School in DC.

He knew immediately we were a perfect fit. He loved the idea of a bike collection as a community service project for his ESL students and quite frankly for himself. He continued his long run as a collection manager with us up until the day he retired from Alice Deal.

Retired? Right? He looks entirely too young to be retired! Biking can do that to a guy. For years he commuted to work by bike. He's also tailored many vacations around the bicycle including many long-distance bicycle tours.

Makes sense that he would partner up with us immediately. Well he also studied economics in developing countries so the idea of creating jobs through used bikes was appealing. Not to mention those projects we support that use the bikes to generate small business loans for villagers.

When we heard that Mark would be stepping down as the collection manager at Alice Deal we were very disappointed. For years Mark provided a great service project for his students and boy scouts and he was a great mentor with those students. But we knew he'd be out enjoying his bike so with reservation we wished him well.

No way, said Mark. I still want to collect bikes! Let's do it at my house in Palisades. And with that Mark picked up before he even walked away. His neighbors now occasionally drop bikes at his house that he holds until his annual collection.

And lucky for us, Mark now has more free time between riding and doing his amazing wood sculptures (which you can find decorating his yard). So now if you drop by the warehouse during a loading or just some random Thursday you might find Mark wrenching a bike. He continues to be a great help mentoring new volunteers and barrels through our pile of bikes knocking back the never ending stack of bikes to be prepped. And yes he bikes there.

Recently you may have seen Mark and his entire family (dog included) riding a borrowed Kinetic Sculpture for Bikes for the World in the famous Palisades Fourth of July Parade. He jumps at the chance to promote Bikes for the World especially when it includes riding a bike!

"I love the eco-friendly practice of breathing new life into an unwanted bike with the result of providing a very valued and useful resource to others," Mark Winn-Ritzenberg.

Mark has organized efforts over the years that collected enough bikes to fill an entire container...and it's not just that, he's gotten the financial donations to back it up, averaging over our goal of $10 per bike.

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