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Worthy Bike Charities

Old 04-19-21, 06:30 AM
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Worthy Bike Charities

If you as a bike tourist were to donate to any bike related charities where would your money go? Why?

I am a long time ACA member and think they do a lot of good stuff, but I don't always like their focus. They are in the running and may get a few bucks of my money, but are not a perfect fit. I am not sure if they will let you earmark donations to specific projects or areas. I might have to look into that.

My financial guy has been after me to set up the donor fund associated with our family trust and at almost 70, I figure I should be taking this stuff more seriously.
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Old 04-19-21, 07:09 AM
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One charity that I support is called World Bicycle Relief. It provides bicycles to people in Africa (healthcare workers, school age girls, farmers, etc) to allow them to expand what they can do and to try to keep girls in school. It also trains mechanics to fix those bikes. Given how much biking has enhanced my life, I highly support providing bicycles to people who can't afford them. Here is an article I wrote about them.

Obviously, this has nothing to do with bike touring, but I feel it is a worthwhile cause.

I also became a life member to the ACA several years ago as I support what they are doing 100%. I also donate to warmshowers.org.

Last edited by raybo; 04-19-21 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 04-19-21, 07:15 AM
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Rails-to-Trails.

Any small non-profit shops or co-ops in your community?
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Old 04-19-21, 07:48 AM
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Following.

If I get hit by a bus today ACA will benefit big time.

One possible idea to look into: Rather than Rails to Trails, perhaps there is a trail you are particularly fond of that is managed (or being developed) by a 501(c)(3) or something similar that you could give directly to.
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Old 04-19-21, 08:46 AM
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I like the sound of World Bicycle Relief. I'll look into them.

I am not a big fan of rail trails myself. I tend to be more supportive of riding on the roads. Rail trails tend to give bike haters and excuse to try to keep bikes off the roads. I am not totally against them and do think they are a great place for families especially with young kids, but building them isn't high on my list of things to donate to. I'd rather support someone who lobbied for laws that supported cyclists on the public roads.

Local co-ops sound great. My concern with them is they tend to come and go here. I'd give to one today, in fact I have some pretty nice bikes I plan to donate next week that would quickly sell on FB marketplace, but including a co-op in long term planning. I'd wonder about them being around when the time comes. I know one that was here a few years ago went bye bye recently.

Despite my philosophy not totally aligning with the ACA they will no doubt get some of my donor fund dollars. There are other outdoor and environmental causes, that aren't cycling related so I am not mentioning them here.
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Old 04-19-21, 10:42 AM
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- https://www.bikeleague.org/ - They may have done more for biking than any other org in USA
- I like World Bicycle Relief. Led by the Sram folks. They do it right by designing bikes and providing repair. It's not just bikes that were donated from garages that will not carry stacks of bananas or pounds of coffee.
- https://www.pedbikeinfo.org - It is not clear to me how to donate to this group but they also do a great deal for safety and biking in general
- I see you are from Florida and I expect your statewide advocacy group has been there for years https://floridabicycle.org/ If it is not that group, I think every state has an advocacy group that has been helpful to bicycling.
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Old 04-19-21, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
If you as a bike tourist were to donate to any bike related charities where would your money go? Why?
https://www.dreamteamdesmoines.org/

I am biased, Ive been on the board and am currently one of the planners and an active mentor for this program. We teambuild and ride with local teens from February thru July. March is 2x/week indoor training at a local Y where we split our time between spin class and teambuilding. April thru July is 3x/week riding where we start easy(25mi paved rail trail routes) and work up to 40-80mi rides(depending on if its a weeknight or weekend) that are hillier and use county roads. We also do 3 weekend campouts thru training to get kids used to riding long back to back days(150mi round trip for each) and expose them to how we operate in camp.
All this is to prepare them for RAGBRAI at the end of July. We all ride the full route and at the end, the new riders earn their bike and accessories(helmet, lights, wedgepack, bike computer) to keep. They are also invited back the next season.

The program is totally free for the kids- we provide them with all equipment and local cycling groups donate unused/lightly used clothing as well as unused bottles.
Kids are referred to the program by a teacher/school counselor/program counselor, etc. Its a very diverse group. Some join because they struggle socially at school, some join because they dont have an outlet/opportunity for physical activity due to home life, some have awkward teen confidence issues, etc.

While the program i help run is pretty unique(georgia has a small similar program), maybe there is a youth cycling program in your area that would benefit? A youth MTB program that exposes kids to trails, a local bike co-op that does bike donations for youth, or a community bike camp where kids learn to safely ride. Even if the program is entirely volunteer managed, there are still costs involved for maintaining bikes, or trails, or administrative costs.
If its local, you could possibly see more of the impact too.
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Old 04-19-21, 01:03 PM
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I have no idea what the future of Dream Bikes is, they closed half of their locations during Covid, now only in Wisconsin.
https://www.dream-bikes.org/

I hope they recover.

I have donated a lot of parts, bikes, etc. to them. They sold one frame for $350 that I donated to them, so they were happy about that.

They got donations from at least one major manufacturer, possibly more. Madison area includes Trek, Saris, Pacific (Schwinn and other brands), Planet Bike, maybe others that do not come to mind.
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Old 04-19-21, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post

One possible idea to look into: Rather than Rails to Trails, perhaps there is a trail you are particularly fond of that is managed (or being developed) by a 501(c)(3) or something similar that you could give directly to.
This (but then I have a close affinity with a certain pair of R2T's)
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Old 04-19-21, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
This (but then I have a close affinity with a certain pair of R2T's)
What I meant is that it may be possible to donate directly to the agency managing a specific trail rather than to the Rails to Trails organization itself. It’s my understanding that Rails to Trails is an “enabling” organization but it does not manage trails itself.
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Old 04-19-21, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
What I meant is that it may be possible to donate directly to the agency managing a specific trail rather than to the Rails to Trails organization itself. It’s my understanding that Rails to Trails is an “enabling” organization but it does not manage trails itself.
In Wisconsin, I think all of those trails are managed by the Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources, along with the state parks. I suspect that is the case in many other states. But, in Wisconsin, some trails that are not formerly rail are managed by counties or communities instead of the state.
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Old 04-19-21, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
In Wisconsin, I think all of those trails are managed by the Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources, along with the state parks. I suspect that is the case in many other states. But, in Wisconsin, some trails that are not formerly rail are managed by counties or communities instead of the state.
Yeah. It varies widely. Here’s an example of a non-profit that manages a popular trail in PA:

https://www.avta-trails.org/index.php

The Mickelson in SD falls under the state parks authority.
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Old 04-19-21, 06:08 PM
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Were I in your position, I would talk to some of the coops about their issues. Even if you don't end up giving to them, you might learn of something that felt right. Up here there is an outfit in Burlington, VT called Old Spokes Home that does some outreach to get people with little or no money on bikes. They might be able to help you define your focus.
Good luck.
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Old 04-19-21, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Were I in your position, I would talk to some of the coops about their issues. Even if you don't end up giving to them, you might learn of something that felt right. Up here there is an outfit in Burlington, VT called Old Spokes Home that does some outreach to get people with little or no money on bikes. They might be able to help you define your focus.
Good luck.
There are people in Burlington with little or no money?

Seriously...Good suggestion. There is an organization here in Philly that teaches kids bike maintenance, repair and riding skills. IIRC, they earn bikes by putting in time with the program.
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Old 04-19-21, 07:08 PM
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My experience with bike co-ops, having been a volunteer at four, founder of one, and board president at one, is they do good work and spend their money carefully. They are usually highly dependent on volunteers, and often financially on edge. So some of them are short lived. Each one tends to have its own focus. Indy Cog in Indianapolis, for example, focuses on at-risk youth. The Columbus Bike Co-op in Columbus IN has a strong earn-a-bike program, where participants learn bike mechanics as they build their own bike. The Bike Farm in Portland OR emphasizes DIY bike repair. The one I started in San Angelo, TX folded and donated all equipment to the local library's maker space, when I moved away.

The most memorable tourist I helped while volunteering was a young man who'd ridden down the east coast to Florida, and was on his way up through Indiana to Chicago. He came first to fix his bike, then ended up volunteering for a while as he saved up money for the next leg of his trip. The stories he told! My favorite was when he came across a United Way fundraising campaign - you know the kind where they have a big thermometer sign showing progress toward their goal - and he donated every penny he had just to feel like he was part of something. I think it was only $20 or $30. Humbling.

Cheers.
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Old 04-19-21, 07:57 PM
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World Bicycle Relief and IMBA seem decent. People for Bikes seems like it does decent work but you might consider some local stuff around you that you can more easily monitor.
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Old 04-20-21, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
World Bicycle Relief and IMBA seem decent. People for Bikes seems like it does decent work but you might consider some local stuff around you that you can more easily monitor.
Not to sure on the local stuff. Tallahassee is not a big town and it seems that things come and go really quickly here. The idea of monitoring doesn't apply well here. This is a case where I am likely to add a charity to the list and not think about it often if at all after that. They will get money when I am dead and I definitely won't be doing any monitoring then. I don't trust myself to stay on top of the list while I am in good health and a sharp state of mind and at some point I may not be. So charities added to the list should be stable and likely to be around for the long haul.
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Old 04-20-21, 04:44 PM
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Many rail trails, even when they're components of a state program will often have a non-profit "Friends of the XYZ Trail" and they're the ones that often do a lot of the maintenance and/or upgrades to the trail such as adding park benches, tool stands or water facilities. In my experience, often a little bit of money can go a long way in these ventures.
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Old 04-20-21, 05:51 PM
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Just in case you think of donating to a rails to trail system, in Wisconsin the state is considering opening up some rail trails to ATVs. Such trails could very well become a motorized rec vehicle trail system within the next decade. If I was making a donation, it would be to trails that have the sole purpose of muscle powered activities, refund of the donation if that is reversed later.
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Old 04-20-21, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Not to sure on the local stuff. Tallahassee is not a big town and it seems that things come and go really quickly here. The idea of monitoring doesn't apply well here. This is a case where I am likely to add a charity to the list and not think about it often if at all after that. They will get money when I am dead and I definitely won't be doing any monitoring then. I don't trust myself to stay on top of the list while I am in good health and a sharp state of mind and at some point I may not be. So charities added to the list should be stable and likely to be around for the long haul.
Fair dinkum...Some of the bigger ones are still good.
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Old 04-22-21, 03:57 PM
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First, very nice of you to support cycling groups. Much of my cycling donations support the following groups.


Originally Posted by debade View Post
- https://www.bikeleague.org/ - They may have done more for biking than any other org in USA

I like these guys a lot. They have done a lot for urban cycling in most states. They have a "Bike Friendly America" program which rates cities' bike friendliness. They give advocates excellent advice and assistance on improving their towns bike-ability. I used them for our local bike advocacy advances. Baltimore county was way behind many other counties in Maryland 10 years ago but is now moving forward, such a welcome sight. We are currently trying to improve our segments of the East Coast Greenway. We are also making huge advances on the Patapsco Greenway project as well as local biking infrastructure on our county roads.



Bikemore: https://www.bikemore.net/
This is Baltimore city advocacy group. Huge advances in the last 5 years, this group has made big improvements in Baltimore cities cycling. Also a strong supporter for disenfranchised neighborhoods, linking them to the cycling grid. They educate novice cyclists and have the politicians ear.


I also support, Bike Maryland:
They are our legal arm representing the laws surrounding cyclists in the state of Maryland.
https://www.bikemaryland.org/


And finally the organization I am a board member of: Catonsville Rails to Trails ( I know you don't want to support rails to trails but thought I would get a little free advertising ) They also advocate for on road bike infrastructure on both county and state roads. Much has been done in our area of Baltimore county in the last 8 years. Unfortunately our site got hacked a few months ago and we are rebuilding our web page.

https://crtt.org/
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Old 04-22-21, 08:38 PM
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My mother left a significant sum to a local animal shelter. Her will instructed if that shelter were no longer operational, then the money was to go to a specific national animal rescue. Unfortunately, the local shelter was defunct. I called the current operation and asked if they had reorganized/renamed. No, they were completely separate. I told the attorney that I was sure my mother would rather her money stayed local. The attorney instructed me that the money had to go to the national organization because her will didn't allow for a different, local shelter.

You might take that experience into consideration in your wording.
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Old 04-23-21, 05:19 AM
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Thanks folks. That gives me some ideas to consider when tweaking my list.
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Old 04-23-21, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Thanks folks. That gives me some ideas to consider when tweaking my list.
Sorry I forgot one, especially perfect for touring and should last a long long time. The East Coast Greenway!!!
​​​​​​https://www.greenway.org/
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Old 04-23-21, 07:14 PM
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I've been a member of RTC (Rails-to-Trails Conservancy) since it's inception almost 35 years ago. Lots of 'abandoned' rail right-of-ways that could be used for cycling (or MUPs) throughout the country that need to be preserved before they are plowed under or otherwise 'reclaimed' into housing developments. Rail-trails have gentle inclines of less than 2%, so they can be ridden by others that the 'most fit' riders Yes, many go through 'less than scenic' neighborhoods, but they also allow those same city residents to explore areas outside... No car/truck traffic (big plus there!)... The biggest obstacle is getting the locals to embrace bicycle riders (instead of trains!) to go through their neighborhoods.

What is really crazy is that although I've been a member of RTC for 30+ years, I think that I've only ridden on a rail-trail a grand-total of ONE time, and that was last year when I had arranged the purchase of a bike from another BF.net member... we met at a rail-trail halfway between us, and went for a short ride (me on the bike I was buying) and rode the rail-trail for a few miles.
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