Bikes for the World

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Featured Volunteer: Zak Elmanakhly

So this face might be unfamiliar to many of our regulars around the warehouse, but his impact to our program should not go unnoticed.

Zak Elmanakhly has gone the distance for Bikes for the World, quite literally. Miles and miles and miles. Zak has been helping us centralize and condense our stock pile of bikes that stretches along the east coast.

Zak came to us in November of last year after talking with Andy Williamson who works with us on collections and also on local donations to kids in Kentucky. Andy has quite a bit of experience hauling large number of bikes and pulled Zak into the conversation.

Andy Williamson
Not to get too much off topic, but Andy also has quite a bit of miles in for Bikes for the World. We honored him a few years ago for his work with that bike donation in Kentucky. He's now moved, repaired, and delivered nearly 900 bikes to kids in this program!

But back to Zak... so he started last fall by collecting some of our New York bikes and bringing them down to our main warehouse in Virginia. We needed these bikes to help round out our final containers shipping from our Pentagon City warehouse. Those bikes helped complete the container we were shipping to Village Bicycle Project in Ghana last December.

Then came the bigger task. Pittsburgh. We've known for a while now we needed a plan to close down our Pittsburgh warehouse. But we also knew there were close to 200 bikes there thanks to a very successful Eagle Project back in 2015. Moving them would be no easy task.

To say Zak jumped at the idea might sound exaggerated, but none the less, true. After spending some time in Bali and Egypt, Zak arrived home to Connecticut only to leave two days later en-route to our warehouse in Pennsylvania. Once there, this is what he found, a basement full of bikes.

So after a six hour drive to Pittsburgh, Zak immediately got to work loading the rented U-Haul that awaited him. Ahh, but if only it were that easy. The bikes were in the basement and Zak was by himself. With the help of a very well used elevator, Zak brought all those bikes to the surface a handful at a time.

He then had to put some final prep work into some of the bikes so that all 142 would fit on the truck. Finally, he loaded the truck and drove to DC. Again to recap, jetlagged and tired, Zak drove six hours to Pittsburgh. Once there he spent the next five hours moving and prepping bikes by himself. Then hemade an overnight trip driving the final leg to Virginia to deliver this load to our storage area at Bonzai Sports.

These bikes will make our next shipment possible at the beginning of March. We hope at that time to be settled into our new permanent home...details coming soon!....

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