About

Re~Cycle is a UK charity committed to improving life prospects through the provision of cheap, sustainable transport in Africa.

A heavily loaded bicycle in Africa
Heavily loaded in Malawi

We believe that bicycles offer people a route out of poverty and a means to improve their lives, giving them opportunities to travel to work and school. Bicycles can also be adapted to carry goods and passengers giving small scale farmers and traders the opportunity to reach customers further afield or take more produce to market. They are also an invaluable resource for traveling health workers coping with the AIDS epidemic.

We receive donations of unwanted bikes from individuals, businesses and organisations such as the Royal Mail, Rotary Clubs, Schools and Churches. These are checked over and sound bikes are prepared for shipment before being loaded into containers (approx. 400 each time) and sent to our various partner organisations in Africa. There, they are refurbished before being distributed by our African partners.

Many of our partners also teach repair and maintenance skills, providing a community resource which keeps people on their bikes and mobile. Damaged bikes or bikes in poor condition are stripped down and the spare parts are also sent to Africa.

Major African Beneficiaries

In rural Africa where there is no public transport, people have to walk long distances to access education, health care or employment. For many people, a bicycle can be a first step out of poverty and towards a better life.

  • Children, who often walk long distances each way to school
  • Outreach workers, e.g. medical personnel, agricultural advisors
  • Women, whose day often has multiple journeys, e.g. fetching water or fire wood, travel to work etc.
  • Commuters and farm workers, taking goods to market

We currently work in Ghana, Namibia, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Kenya. 

In rural Africa where there is no public transport, people have to walk long distances to access education, health care or employment. For many people, a bicycle can be a first step out of poverty and towards a better life.

UK Benefits

Re~Cycle has many benefits in the UK, including;

  • Training in basic bike maintenance
  • Reducing waste and landfill
  • Providing opportunities for a wide variety of volunteers to help with preparing and loading containers
  • Brain injury and mental illness rehabilitation volunteer opportunities in a safe and supportive environment

Adapting Cycle Technology

Re~Cycle has a fantastic trailer design made from unwanted bike parts and cheap materials. Overseas, partners manufacture the XtraBike, a simple device that greatly increases the load capacity of a bike. This makes bikes suitable for many tasks including fetching water, taking goods to market, mobile vendors, and collecting recyclables. The potential for turning a discarded bicycle into a labour saving, job-creating tool for change is enormous.

Overcoming Barriers To Cycling in Africa

  • Cost; bikes cost money so micro-credit helps. Many people pay 1/4 of their income on private transport
  • Safety; mostly a question of driver awareness
  • Lack of cycling culture; some of our partners introduce cycling by encouraging children to cycle which is then picked up on by older family members
  • Gender Barriers; it is hard for women to ride bikes in some countries, with male resistance such as being considered 'un-lady like' or fear of reducing fertility. The short answer is that when incomes go up, these 'barriers' fall off