Q. Do you pick up bikes?
A. Yes, but generally only ten or more. Apartment buildings, retailers, police impound lots, and institutions in with ten or more bikes can rely on Bikes for the World to come pick them up. We generally avoid picking up individual bikes, however, as the return on time, vehicle depreciation and gas usually cannot be justified. But we do make exceptions, in cases where a donor is close-by, patient, and willing to make an accompanying financial contribution. Otherwise, we ask that donors bring their bike(s) to a scheduled collection, a participating bike shop, or to the home of a BfW volunteer.
Q. How can I donate outside the Washington DC-Baltimore region??
A. Bikes for the World is increasingly national in scope. If you don’t see a convenient drop-off site elsewhere on this site, write us at info(at)bikesfortheworld.org mentioning your location and if we cannot identify a volunteer who can accept your bike on our behalf, we can generally identify other non-profit programs which may interest you. For example, in Chicago, contact the Working Bikes Cooperative; in the Boston MA area, contact Bikes Not Bombs; and in the Dallas-Ft Worth TX area, contact Pedal Power.
Q. Are donations to Bikes for the World tax-deductible??
A. Yes. Bikes for the World is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. Our IRS letter is dated April 29, 2011, and our Federal ID # is 27-5426399.
Q. What if my bike is damaged, or missing a part…will you accept it?
A. Generally yes. We welcome all bikes in repairable or better condition, including those with flat tires, missing a minor part, or with superficial rust. As long as a bike frame is not broken or encrusted with rust, we can probably use it. If in doubt, feel free to donate an additional $10 or $20 for our trouble!
Q. Do you give away bikes locally?
A. Yes, to established non-profit programs which work with a qualifying disadvantaged population, have the capacity and commitment to recondition the bikes that we donate, and which can assume all liability for their subsequent use. We do not give away bikes to individuals locally, as we do not have the ability, time, or liability insurance to qualify an individual as eligible, recondition and make safe a large selection of bikes, or meet with and fit an individual with an appropriate bike.
Q. Do you sell bikes locally?
A. Generally not. The board of directors has established the policy that only bikes having premium value in the United States relative to their value overseas may be sold. And in no case can the number sold during a calendar year constitute more than two percent of the total number of bikes handled in that year.
Among the bikes which we commonly sell are collectible vintage 60s- and 70s-era high-end road bikes, collectible 1980s-era BMX bikes, and the occasional carbon and similar modern high-end road bike that would be less likely to hold up in a Third World road environment.
We also do not sell bikes at collection events; all donated bikes must come to our warehouse and be evaluated for suitability by staff or a qualified volunteer.
Q. You help people overseas. What do you do for people in need here?
A. While our primary mission is to help people overseas better themselves through the provision of a usable bicycle, we provide bikes and other benefits in the United States, including:
- Donated bikes for local programs – we provide a limited number of appropriate bicycles to half a dozen local programs, including adult bikes for transportation to work and children’s bicycles at holiday time. See Local Programs.
- Community service – we provide tangible and rewarding community service opportunities to youth and adult alike, building individual and team skills, and raising awareness of environmental and economic development issues. To mention just one example, we have mentored more than 70 Boy Scouts over eight years in managing a community service project required for their Eagle rank.
- Environment – we divert usable bicycles from the waste stream, saving costs and protecting the environment, and promote the concept of reuse and recycling more generally.