The need for bicycles in Africa

Transport and development go hand-in-hand. Virtually everything traded, must be transported, and almost everyone needs wheels to get to work or school. Simple, affordable transport generates income opportunities in developing countries, as well as saving lots of time and back-breaking work.

In Britain, millions of bikes are thrown away or lie unused in sheds, whilst many people in Africa have no access to transport of any kind. People spend hours each day walking to collect water, firewood or to access health care, school and employment. A bicycle lightens this burden and dramatically improves their wellbeing as well as work and education opportunities helping to bring social change. A bicycle cuts travel time to a fraction and can carry passengers and heavy loads. Bikes give families the extra time to earn, learn and enjoy life.

Roughly 1-2% of the bikes donated to Re~Cycle are either unsuitable for Africa (such as thin framed racing bikes) or are bikes with disc brakes which are parts that are not readily available in Africa and thus less likely to be usable. Instead of recycling these bikes we sell them at the local University of Essex and our warehouse in Colchester, generating a sustainable income to help cover our running costs. These bikes are sold at affordable prices starting at £75 and many of these bikes are sold to students or people just starting out as cyclists and therefore looking for a good bargain.

We’ve just published our Annual Report and we have brilliant news! As we wrap up our 18th year of service, and head towards our second decade in operation, Re~Cycle has gained forward momentum and entered a period of serious expansion. 2014 has seen records from all previous years in all departments broken - with significant growth in all areas.