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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-05-08, 12:00 PM   #1
gerv 
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Working Bikes Cooperative of Chicago

Just read a story in an Iowa newspaper about Working Bikes picking up a number of local bikes for distribution in Africa. There's also a video with the story.

http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pb...9818/1002/NEWS

http://workingbikes.org/

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Working Bikes is primarily volunteer-driven. Currently it receives no government or foundation money. All its operations are funded through the sale of bicycles at its storefront. Working Bikes uses that money to provide bicycles to charity organizations within Chicagoland and to ship bicycles to the Gulf Coast, Cuba, Guatemala, Ecuador, and many other places of need.

In the countries to which Working Bikes ships, a bicycle can often mean the difference between work and unemployment. The bicycle is the primary means of vehicular transportation for the majority of the population and is used both for personal transportation and for carrying cargo.

Due to wage differences, a bicycle worth $20 in Chicago can be worth the equivalent of $1,000 in Africa.
Just wondering if anyone here has volunteered with this or a similar organization. Is there any way we could all help this cause?
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Old 04-07-08, 10:46 AM   #2
Dr.PooLittle
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I've been to WB and I dunno what to think. I love what they stand for, but I wouldn't buy a bike there. They have bikes worth like, 20 bucks for 80-100 bucks. Prices here in Chicago are inflated, so I guess I should take that into consideration, but still. . . I'd be happier buying a bike for say, 30 bucks, and being asked for a donation on top of that, rather than getting a bike for more than it's worth. Psychological, I suppose.
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Old 04-07-08, 07:43 PM   #3
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I don't know about their retail effort in Chicago, but like the idea that what we fill our landfills here could be a viable means of transportation in another area. Their web site references an organization in Guatemala that uses old bicycles to create things like pedal powered corn grinders. Or a project in Ghana to distribute bikes to allow people to move more easily to carry water, to get to jobs, etc.

I find this all pretty interesting considering all the junk bikes I see during the annual Des Moines cleanup week.
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Old 04-08-08, 07:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
I don't know about their retail effort in Chicago, but like the idea that what we fill our landfills here could be a viable means of transportation in another area. Their web site references an organization in Guatemala that uses old bicycles to create things like pedal powered corn grinders. Or a project in Ghana to distribute bikes to allow people to move more easily to carry water, to get to jobs, etc.

I find this all pretty interesting considering all the junk bikes I see during the annual Des Moines cleanup week.
A friend of mine that works at Working Bikes went to the recent Guatemala trip. Essentially they went down there to build them many types of machines that can be powered by bikes, washing machines for example.

The deal with Working Bikes is that they help the community as a non-profit. They charge what they do to recover costs like driving a huge truck to Iowa to pick up bikes, repair the bikes, and pay staff to sell bikes. What they do for the community here in Chicago is amazing. They give away bikes to poor families as well as organize many bike drives and charity events.
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