By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Fri, 11/06/2010 - 13:14

Just over 2 weeks after sending a container load of bikes to Zambia we had enough bikes to make up another shipment for The Village Bicycle Project that were loaded here at Colchester. The container was then taken to the port at Felixstowe and is due to arrive in Tema, Ghana three weeks later on 27th June.

Once again we managed to load over 400 bicyles plus lots of valuable spare parts, wheel and tyres. Some of the bikes that were loaded came from the 600+ collected by Romsey Test Rotary Club that were left over from last months shipment to Zambia. Once again we are grateful for the hard work put in by our experienced team of hard working volunteer loaders and to all who had donated the bicycles.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 22/05/2010 - 12:22

On 15th May we finished loading the most recent container consignment of that is now on the long journey to Zambia.  A great example of cooperation and team work - the bikes were collected over several months by an enthusiastic team led by Graham Lee from Romsey Test Rotary Club.

The shipping was organised by UK Charity The Kaloko Trust who also support the project in Zambia and the loading of the container which took place just outside Romsey, Hampshire, was led by a small team from Re~Cycle.

349 mountain bikes (less than usual as the shipper didn't send the requested "high cube" container...) will arrive in six weeks time after a long overland journey from Dar es Salaam.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Wed, 07/04/2010 - 08:01

Today we are loading a container load of bikes for Ability Bikes Cooperative in Ghana. They have previously received shipments from The USA but this will the first from Re~Cycle.

417 bikes (highest recent total) plus lots of spares, tools, wheels and tyres. A great effort from all of our loading volunteers - our thanks to them all. The container is due to arrive in Tema on the 24th April so by the end of the month, the bikes will start be be given new owners and a new lease of life.

Thank you to all who donated bicycles to us recently, and to the generous people paying for the shipping; Transport for London (with a full on Tour de France sponosred ride - HERE), McKinsey & Co and Infinity Foods.

See for more information about this great project that creates employment for people with disabilities.

There is a short film about Ability Bikes Cooperative and the work they do made by David Branigan of the American group Bikes Not Bombs who helped get the cooperative started HERE.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 19/01/2010 - 10:13

Re~Cycle's first shipment for the new year has been successfully unloaded at the Village Bicycle Project in Accra, Ghana. More than 360 bicycles were loaded into Re~Cycle's final container of 2009, just two weeks before Christmas - which also included many spare parts, tools and accessories.

Unloading in progress

The shipment will be split between veteran recipient VBP and Re~Cycle's newest partner in Ghana - the Ezetela Bicycle Workshop, who will take a small number of bicycles and spares to kick-start their workshop before their own shipment arrives in February 2010.

Unloaded bicycles in Accra

The Village Bicycle Project will begin its outreach work for the new year by visiting a string of villages across the Western Region, where it will work with Peace Corp field staff to bring bicycles and maintenance classess to rural settlements.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sun, 17/01/2010 - 07:57

As Rob is nears the end of the West African section of his epic cycle he finds the time to drop in on two active recipient partners in Ghana.
The first stop was the Village Bicycle Project in Accra who will receive Re~Cycle's first shipment for 2010. Unfortunately, as Rob arrived the bicycles were still to leave the port of Tema - otherwise he would have no doubt been employed in the unloading effort! The VBP specialises in getting bicycles into rural villages and townships - where they are in most demand - and supports their distribution with maintenance training workshops.


Rob enrtering Dodowa


Next stop was the Ezetela Bicycle Workshop in Dodowa - a small township just east of Accra. Ezetela is new partner being developed on-the-ground by two Re~Cycle volunteers. Rob was able to see first hand the beginings of a new recipient and talk through their ambitious plans for the future.
Rob was also invited to speak to the children at one of the local sunday schools - who were thrilled to learn all about his 'home-on-wheels', which included a tent demonstration!


Sunday School tent demo


Rob has now crossed the 'half way point' and is currently in Nigeria. Get the latest updates at and support his journey at

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 15/12/2009 - 18:04

Another shipment of 363 bikes has just left our warehouse and is now on its way to The Village Bicycle Project in Ghana.  There were slightly less bicycles loaded this time but an extra large quantity of spare parts and tyres, many donated by Recyke-yer-Bike in Newcastle and OWL Bikes in Cambridge, were sent.

50 of the bikes and a portion of the spare parts are being shared with a new project - Ezetela - which is being supported by our long standing supporter and volunteer, Jason Finch, who is spending 12 months in Ghana.

Jason is also visiting both existing and new potential partners whilst he is there and providing valuable feedback to and from Re~Cycle and is also encouraging our partners to share and exchange information and ideas.  Hopefully Rob Forbes will have time during his epic bike ride from Cirencester to Cape Town (see separate news story, below, for more information) to meet up with Jason and see at first hand, some of the great work that our partners do.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sun, 13/09/2009 - 12:25

On the 1st October 2009, Rob started his massive sponsored bike ride, swim and run to South Africa, and has already raised a very impressive £13,442 for Re~Cycle!

We're amazed and impressed and thank and salute him.

As if cycling 19,000km across 21 countries through some of the most remote and rugged terrain in West Africa wasn't enough of a mission (phew!), he's planning to make it an "ultra triathlon" by braving sharks and ships in swimming the Strait of Gibraltar and running an "ultra-marathon" of 56 miles (89km) in South Africa. He plans to visit a number of Re~Cycle's partner projects on route and conclude this epic physical and mental challenge by donating his bike to a partner project in South Africa.

He may sound like a nutter (hell, he's got to be a nutter!), but Merlin and Derek have spent two days with him in Colchester, one planning the trip and organising support along the way, and one he helped loading a container of bikes.

If you wish to follow his progress, donate or get involved please visit his website -

He writes a brief and entertaining blog, when he's got signal.

Update - Rob has swum the straits of Gibraltar, 6.5 hours, 25km, details here.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Fri, 17/07/2009 - 15:40

We've shipped 382 bikes to a new partner in Kenya, Glads House, who work with street children.  As usual with new projects, we pulled out all the stops to send even more spare parts than usual, and we send tools for the new workshop.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Mon, 29/06/2009 - 11:45

Matthew Modine supports the launch of a short film showing how unwanted bicycles can transform the lives of people in developing countries.

'Re~Cycle - The Journey of the Mighty Bike' shows how bikes are collected and prepared by Re~Cycle volunteers in the UK, and the impact they have in Africa. The film focuses on Ability Bikes in Ghana, a bicycle co-op run by disabled staff.

Award-winning actor Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, Memphis Belle, The West Wing, Sex and Lies in Sin City) is a keen cyclist and founder of Bicycle For A Day (BFAD).  He is a big fan of Re~Cycle the charity that for 10 years, has collected second-hand bikes, parts and tools in the UK and shipped them to African countries.  There local partners teach people how to repair and maintain the bikes, helping them to improve their lives in a sustainable way.

Modine said:

BFAD supports the efforts of Re~Cycle because it puts bikes within the reach of people that have no access to bicycles.  Re~Cycle empowers individuals and offers them the possibility to learn how to rebuild bikes. Everybody wins: from the bike donors to the recipients whose lives are transformed upon receiving the gift.

Bicycling is one thing that most of us can do that has an immediate positive impact on the environment.   Encouraging people to pedal bikes instead of using a petroleum powered vehicles is one of the goals of Bicycle for a Day/everyday.  Bikes make people smile and the world can use a lot more of that!The Bicycle Film Festival hosted the premiere of Re~Cycle’s short film, "Re~Cycle - The Journey of the Mighty Bike.

The festival and film will tour the world, appearing in 39 cities. Re~Cycle is looking for other film festivals and avenues to promote the film (please contact us if you have any suggestions). The film will later be available to view on its website.

In 2009 the BFF will be in London in September, 23rd  - 27th, volunteers needed to help with valet bicycle parking and selling raffle tickets.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Wed, 10/06/2009 - 01:02

A huge thanks to the brave Transport for London (TfL) riders who not only cycled from London to Canterbury, but took some detours to climb 4 hills, and thereby follow the Tour de France route - not for the faint hearted.

All the riders finished, an inspiring effort!  Thanks also to the support team for food and water, and for Adrian for mechanical assistance.

Total donations so far, from the ride, party, raffle, dress down days, film night (these people are amazing!) is £10,500, and still coming in!

I've put up a section on our How To to help other people who might like to ride this route, here (more thanks, for preparing these quality documents)

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 21/05/2009 - 18:15

A landmark bike number 30,000 was shipped to a new project in Zambia.  They have a volunteer going out for 3 months to train mechanics and set up 2 workshops.

The bike was donated by Trevor Moles of Colchester.  It belonged to his wife's Aunt who sadly broke her hip and is no longer able to ride, but wanted her bike to be given to someone in Africa.

You can join our FaceBook group, if you're into that sort of thing.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 27/11/2008 - 17:19

Yesterday we shipped a container of 427 bicycles to a new partner in Lesotho, based just outside of the capital Mesaru. Beyond Bicycles is a new start-up project supported by Sentebale, the charity founded by Prince Harry.

Although we normally load a container in 6 or 7 hours, we had this one over 2 days to give more hours of daylight to work in and to help maximise the number of tools and spare parts squeezed in to stock up their new workshop.