Despite all the modern technology available to us in the 21st century, the bicycle is still the most efficient, ecological, and sustainable mode of transportation in the world. Providing freedom, fitness, and fun for people across the globe; the bicycle is a symbol of positive change in the lives of many.
Upon learning about the “Africa Bike Drive & Sister Shop Program” started by Mike’s Bikes in San Francisco, we immediately started the Southern California Chapter to further the cause. The program is a 501(c3) non- profit foundation that establishes self- sustaining bicycle businesses in developing regions in Africa. It partners with local community residents who receive start-up funding along with business and mechanical training to create these sister shops.
At Bicycle Warehouse we truly believe in the power of putting people on two wheels and when given the opportunity to help a large number of people in need, we rose to the occasion. So the Africa Project was born; based on the belief in providing bicycles to communities across Africa that are in dire need of transportation solutions and a healthy hobby. Over 30,000 bikes have been donated and delivered under the Africa Project, and the impact on the local communities is astounding.
Ken, Mike's Bikes CEO, with Mike & Debbe, Bicycle Warehouse Owners
Visiting Tumi's Bicycle Shop - Lesotho
How it Works
How do we make this amazing program work? With your help of course! The lifeblood of the Africa Project comes from donations of used bikes by our very own guests in Southern California. Help spread the word, and put that old bike that's been sitting in the garage to a good home. Any of our Bicycle Warehouse locations are ready and willing to accept your Africa Project donation, and the impact your donation will have on someone's day-to-day life will be huge!
Mike, Debbe, and Ken meeting with the Prime Minister of Lesotho
Discussing increased support for cycling within the community.
How does this all work you might ask? Well the magic behind the machine is quite impressive. Not only do these bikes change people's lives for the better, but the Africa Project is improving the local communities economy as well as providing a transportation solution. Four major distribution centers in Kenya, Bostwana, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho help with logistics. The distribution partners sell the bikes for the cost of shipping and import duties to local shops and business owners who then sell the bikes within their communities at affordable prices. The capital gained from this program helps keep shops open, employ local workers, and promote cycling as a mode of transportation and a form of exercise and fun. The program's impact runs much deeper than simply providing bikes to those in need, the Africa Project is improving the community as a whole!
The program continues to grow in many angles. In order to keep the bikes running, we reached out to the local shops and provided mechanical training and product knowledge. The goal was to set the shops up for success and to function beyond the initial donations. The skills and tools the shop owners gained allow them to provide a better service to the community and provide for their families. More shops began to pop up and join the movement. Some communities, such as Masero, Lesotho have become so passionate as to develop a pump track for the locals to ride on. Bikes are available for rent, and should someone not be able to afford the rental they can earn a free rental simply by working in the community garden. These type of programs benefit the community on many levels, and this is just a small part of why we absolutely love the Africa Project.
Check out our BLOG article on Bike Mechanic Training Empowers Local Women in Tanzania.
Read this article and see how the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Honorable Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, is making a lasting impact in Botswana bike shops and more.
Article Link: http://www.akphilanthropy.org/minister-of-investment-trade-and-industry-visits-dipetsana-bike-shop/
Interview with Sanctuary Retreats
Director of Women's Bike Store Project
Check out these awesome videos of us loading the semi-truck trailers full of Africa Project bicycle donations!
Join The Cause
Want to be a part of the Africa Project? Visit any of our Bicycle Warehouse retail stores to drop off your Africa Project bicycle donations. We truly appreciate your support and the limit to the amount of lives you can impact is never ending!
Simply bring in your donation mountain or kids bike to one of our stores and drop during regular business. We are only accepting Mountain Bike & Kids Bikes at this time. We can email you a 501(c)(3) receipt that you may use to deduct your bike donation on your taxes.
Your bicycle is collected and shipped to one of numerous shops across Africa where they are given new life. They are refurbished by local mechanics and sold at an affordable price which creates jobs, stimulates the economy and gives the freedom of mobility.
We Thank You and the many lives you improve in Africa. Thank you from all of us in the Bicycle Warehouse family.