The journey of a Re-Cycle bicycle
To celebrate this year’s World Bicycle Day, we decided to track the journey one of your donated bikes from our warehouse in Colchester, all the way to Gambia - one of Africa’s poorest nations.
Peter Langman from Cirencester donated his much loved Raleigh bike to Re-Cycle through his local Halfords drop off point in Cheltenham during their winter bike trade-in event (October 2017).
The silver bike arrived at Re-Cycle’s warehouse along with over 2,000 other donated bikes in November 2017.
All bikes donated to Re-Cycle are quality assessed when they arrive and the bikes suitable for Africa are prepped (compacted) by our volunteers before being carefully loaded into large 40 foot containers. With our special prepping and packing techniques, we can fit around 500 bikes into a single container. Peter’s bike was wrapped in tinsel so that it could be easily found.
In early January the bike started its long journey to The Gambia. From the warehouse, it left for Felixstowe port and then travelled overseas for 26 days to the capital Banjul. From there it was transported by road for a little over a week to reach the small village of Madina Salam.
On 2 February, Ebrima, a local bike mechanic who works for our African Partner charity Wonder Years Centre of Excellence (WYCE), caught sight of the gold tinsel wrapped bike and unloaded it from the container.
WYCE was set up to enable Gambians to make a better future for themselves by providing employment, transport, training, health care and education. Over the years, they have built a school, a primary health care clinic providing maternity services and with help from Re-Cycle - a bike workshop, where they employ local mechanics to refurbish and sell affordable, good quality bikes in their community.
Ebrima and his staff refurbished the bike and offered it to the local community.
Yaya came from a nearby village to the workshop looking for an affordable, yet sturdy bike for his smoked fish business. He walks miles daily, carrying wood from the bush and fish from the beach back to his family compound. Once he has enough, he uses the wood to smoke the fish and sells it at market for income to feed his family.
Yaya chose Peter’s Raleigh bike because it has a rear basket rack- perfect for transporting fish and wood.
With Peter’s bike, Yaya can now carry larger quantities of fish and wood, and earn more money for his family. He says “I’m now not so tired at the end of the day as I no longer have to carry the heavy wood on my head and walk miles to market”.
This is the story of just one of the thousands of bikes we send to Africa each year.