Friday, December 15, 2006

What to do with that old bike?

This question was asked recently on the MORE forum. Being that time of year when many of us replace, replenish or replicate something that works just fine, I fully understand the dilemma of the bike crazed consumer - what should we do with that old bike or part (or just about any other object found in a typical house)? Be it buyer's remorse or simply a lack of storage space, we eventually clue in that it might be fine time to downsize.

Since arriving in Ghana, I've had a few email exchanges and phone conversations with various non-profit organizations promoting bicycle usage in developing communities. In my own words, the promotion and description of the programs list below would be entirely simplistic. They all collect donated bikes and parts for distribution and affordable resale through various means. They all need used bikes. Bikes can be just a means to obtaining a better life - not just a indicator of having already achieved it.

Best to skim the sites for yourself for the full story...

Bikes for the World

Village Bike Project

Chain Reaction Youth Bike Shop (DC)

Surely there are many other programs that operate domestically as well.

In my most recent phone coversation with a BftW rep back in Arlington, VA, we discussed how I might be able to provide a somewhat local perspective of the bike scene in Accra and beyond. What works? What doesn't work? What is the Government of Ghana doing to promote cycling (sorry, had to chuckle)? How are bikes being used? What do bikes/parts cost? Who rides bikes? Why?

I'm pretty excited have the opportunity to do something like this.

Oh, so don't scrap that old bike. Recycle it!

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