People spend many hours each day walking to collect water, firewood or to access health care, school and employment. A bicycle saves valuable time, lightens loads, while dramatically improving access to work and education opportunities, helping to bring about social change.
Bikes are the cleanest, healthiest, most affordable and efficient form of transport. They increase access to opportunities, whether they are economic, educational, social or personal. They connect workers with employment, students to schools, producers to users of goods and services, patients to healthcare, and everyone to family and friends.
The bikes that we send are used to support a variety of people all of whom are vulnerable in different ways; targeted beneficiaries include disabled people, street children, trafficked children, rural families and people whose lives can be improved through skills development and access to affordable transport.
Every year we prevent about 165 tonnes of bike from a life of disuse in the UK. 43% of people aged over five in the UK own or have access to a bicycle and in 2014 3.6 million new bikes were sold! This means that there are millions of bikes left unused or making their way to the dump.
Transport and development go hand-in-hand. Virtually everything traded, must be transported, and almost everyone needs wheels to get to work. Simple, affordable transport generates income opportunities in developing countries, as well as saving lots of time and back-breaking work.
It's not uncommon for children to face a 12-mile (20 km) round-trip to school. This often results in children being exhausted before class has even started. With a bicycle, this journey time can be significantly reduced, and students have more time and energy to focus on things that really matter!
In most African rural communities, young women are responsible for collecting water and firewood. A bicycle can carry heavy goods instead of head loading, preventing spinal damage and promoting good health. They are also invaluable for travelling health workers who need affordable transport to cover more ground.
The True Size of Africa
The true size of Africa is grossly underestimated - and so are the huge distances required to access basic needs. The African continent is more than 30million sq km - but this is not reflected in the maps we are used to seeing!
Across rural sub Saharan Africa people are forced to walk huge distances, spending up to three hours a day collecting food and water. Transport is either non-existent of prohibitively expensive. For most, a bicycle proves to be the most suitable transport option.
When you give someone a bike you give them more than a bike, you give them better access to school, work, the farm, the nearest market and health centre - you’re actually giving them better life chances.
Every bike we recycle can create huge impact in an African village economy. Bicycles have proven to be an invaluable resource even in regions that have public transport.