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Old 11-30-08, 10:25 PM   #1
4hmom
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Bicycles for the poor-good orgs?

I have seen several references to programs which provide bicycles for the poor in 3rd or 4th world countries. Some religious programs and some secular or ngo affiliated. Like this for instance.
http://www.wheels4life.org/faq/
Has anyone had experience with this type of work? What organizations are legitimate? Will bicycles truly help lift people from poverty or make their lives better? Do people in countries who are extremely poor actually want bicycles?
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Old 12-01-08, 07:27 PM   #2
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No experience, but Bicycling Magazine has their 'Bike Town' program, and Kona has their 'Africabike' program.

Also, I recently just found out about a co-op of sorts. One of the local bike clubs runs it. They only help those that have been referred by some sort of social services organization. If it really helps, haven't a clue.
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Old 12-01-08, 08:49 PM   #3
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In many poor countries a bike is the ONLY transportation affordable by the poor to middle class for individual use. There is a reason why China has about 500 million bicycles and India is not far behind. Also true in many African countries. A bike can be a big help to such people.

Not sure about individual organizations which are helping provide them however.
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Old 12-01-08, 09:45 PM   #4
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In many poor countries a bike is the ONLY transportation affordable by the poor to middle class for individual use. There is a reason why China has about 500 million bicycles and India is not far behind. Also true in many African countries. A bike can be a big help to such people.

Not sure about individual organizations which are helping provide them however.
Since China is becoming more affluent (driving cars more, riding bikes less), perhaps the charitable organizations should 'redistribute' those now under used bikes...
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Old 12-01-08, 09:51 PM   #5
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Bikes can make a HUGE difference. I believe BikeTown Africa's bikes are used by health workers that can now visit far more people than they were able to do on foot. The bikes are custom made to be low maintainance and easy to service ad suitable for the local conditions

Bikes reduce, already poor, countries dependance on fossil fuels while benefiting the health its people. They also reduce emissions as many 3rd world countries don't have or can't enforce emission laws.

One thing that is often over looked by 1st world charities/donors is the country may already have a bike industry or a bike shops. A massive influx of FREE bikes can put these guys out of business. Charities should endevour to work with existing bike outlets or groups for distribution.

Just sending bikes without checking things out can be dodgy too. I know of containers of 2nd hand bikes, send by a well meaning organisation and meant for free distribution that are sold for personal gain.

If anyone want to talk to me about giving bikes, particularly road bikes, I run a club that helps a developing country's youth get into competitive cycling. We always on the look out for bikes and bike gear.

Have a look here. I can be contacted on the email address there or PM me.

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Last edited by Velomancer; 12-01-08 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 12-01-08, 09:53 PM   #6
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I like bicycles, but question the wisdom of trying to divine if somebody 8,000 miles away needs a bicycle, as opposed to food or just money.
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Old 12-01-08, 10:27 PM   #7
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I like bicycles, but question the wisdom of trying to divine if somebody 8,000 miles away needs a bicycle, as opposed to food or just money.
Everyone needs food and everyone wants money. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for life.

Bikes really do change peoples lives.

BTW You're getting this reply from someone 10,611.62km from where you live.... ain't the internet wonderful
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Old 12-02-08, 02:48 AM   #8
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Since China is becoming more affluent (driving cars more, riding bikes less), perhaps the charitable organizations should 'redistribute' those now under used bikes...
Possibly true in major cities but private cars are still scarce in China. As of July 2007 the number of cars there is claimed to be 13 million or about one per 100 population.

Here is a Wikipedia list of cars per thousand population by country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...les_per_capita

In general much of Africa appears to need bikes the most but many other countries are almost as bad off for private vehicle availability.
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Old 12-02-08, 09:36 AM   #9
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There is a church group in Charleston WV that accepts donated bikes and reconditions them for low-income people without cars - the Charleston public buses all have bike carriers, too. The program seems to work really well.
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Old 12-02-08, 11:50 AM   #10
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I like bicycles, but question the wisdom of trying to divine if somebody 8,000 miles away needs a bicycle, as opposed to food or just money.

In Africa, bikes ARE food and money:

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Old 12-05-08, 05:09 AM   #11
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People buy bikes by the hundreds from police auctions and send them off to third world countries so your bike is not going to accomplish much. Leave it outside in recycling day with a note saying free bike and list any defects that should be corrected. I am very suspicious of first world people with first world salaries doing work that can be done by local business people.
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Old 12-05-08, 08:07 PM   #12
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With the economy the way it's going, there are and will be plenty of poor in the US who could use a bike.



Havn't driven a car since February 2, but not by choice.

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