Girl Scouts Work Toward Bronze Award

 Girl Scout Troop 5740Girls Scout Troop 5740, working toward their Bronze Award, joined Bikes for the World in the warehouse to help load a container for Kenya, Africa.

The girls prepped bikes for shipping and helped load bikes into the container heading to Wheels of Africa. All of the girls have bikes and know how to ride them, but none of them had ever used bike tools before. This experience familiarized them with basic bike parts and tools, making them more comfortable around bikes in general.

Several Dads came out to help mentor the girls and were a big help introducing some of the tools, like pedal wrenches, adjustable wrenches, and the difference between a box wrench and an allen wrench. Before long the girls were taking off pedals and turning handlebars with the Dads watching in the background.

The troop from McKinley Elementary learned about the groups receiving our bikes overseas and the huge impact a bike can have on student or worker in need of affordable transportation.

This team building experience brought the girls together to work hard and make a global difference. While in the warehouse they prepped about 50 bikes and had fun while doing it. They even made a video about the project.

Keith Oberg JHU '77 Honored

Keith Oberg receiving JHU award, with wife Jessica Mott,  JHU SAIS re Margaret Frondorf, and classmate (JHU SAIS '77)  Chris Webster.Keith Oberg receiving JHU award, with wife Jessica Mott, Margaret Frondorf JHU SAIS, and classmate Chris Webster (JHU SAIS '77) .

Bikes for the World's executive director, Keith Oberg, was recently honored for his "extraordinary humanitarian service", as the recipient of Johns Hopkins University's 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award. A 1977 graduate of JHU's School of Advanced International Studies, Keith accepted the award on behalf of the Bikes for the World community-- volunteers and staff--who have built the organization over the last decade. For this reason, the JHU medal will enjoy a prominent place in the Bikes for the World office in Arlington.

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100,000th Bike Finds a New Home

Gerardo 100k bike

Our 100,000th donated bike is helping Gerardo Jesús get to school in Costa rica. Gerardo lives at home with his mother, two brothers and one sister in Tempate, a rural community located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

He graduated with excellent grades from the elementary school in Tempate. Because of this, his teacher helped him obtain a scholarship at a private bilingual high school. This high school is called Educarte and is located in another community called Tamarindo.

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100,000 Bikes Donated

100k loadBfW has donated over 100,000 bikes changing lives around the world. The importance of recycling and the impact of the bicycle were the focus on November 15, 2014, when we loaded our 100k bike into the container destined for Costa Rica as part of America Recycles Day.

America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. It's an initiative of Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and we were honored to have representative from both KAB and the US EPA on hand during this monumental loading.

The container loading began on Thursday and ended with a celebration and the actual loading of the 100k bike on Saturday November 15, 2014. Valued volunteers and corporate partners took part in this three day event. Events included a bike ride in DC, a presentation by the director of FINCA Costa Rica, where the container is heading, recognizing our Volunteer of the Year, and donations of bikes to four organizations.

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BfW Donates 200 Bikes Locally

Phoenix Bikes donationIn 2014, BfW donated more bikes locally than any other year, a testament to our growing numbers. Over 1,000 bikes donated to BfW stayed here at home serving nine different local groups in 2014. Since our beginning in 2005, BfW has donated about 4% of all collected bikes to local groups.

During our 100k weekend Bikes for the World donated over 200 bikes to three local groups. In the DC area, we support two youth oriented earn-a-bike programs, Phoenix Bikes and Gearing' Up Bicycles. Both groups support our mission by teaching life skills to youth in the DC area.

Beneficiaries are learning how to work as a team in a business setting and earning bikes in the process. Both groups offer valuable after school activities that engage and teach its members. They also do a lot of community outreach, offering group rides and participating in local events. Continue reading about our complementary efforts.

100,000 Bikes Donated

100k sticker

Bikes for the World is donating its 100,000th bike on November 15th and we want you to join us. We have a week of activites planned so please join us for one or more and help us celebrate this milestone together.

Highlights of the week will include the actual loading of the 100k bike as well as a presentation from the recipient partner. We will open our warehouse Thursday through Saturday so drop by just to check out the operation. OR grab a pedal wrench or a bike and help us with the loading. You can also drop off a bike any time the warehouse is open.

This container will be donated to FINCA Costa Rica. Bikes for the World has partnered with this organization since we formed in 2005. Since that time we have donated over 20,000 bikes to rural communities scattered around Costa Rica. Director of FINCA Costa Rica, Luis Jimenez will join us this week in Arlington. He will participate in the loading at our warehouse and give a presentation Friday evening explaining how our bikes are changing lives in Costa Rica.

Full schedule of events below:

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BfW Visits El Salvador

Keith in El SalvadorTraining bike mechanics in El Salvador helps support CESTA's main mission by refurbishing bikes and promoting cycling as a means of viable transportation as well as protecting the environment.

Eco-Bici is the repair shop operated through CESTA where disadvantaged youths congregate and learn skills from how to tune a bicycle to how to overhaul and true a wheel. The internship offered to these budding mechanics gives them a safe place to learn and hone their skills, away from the dangerous street life where gangs threaten many small businesses.

Bikes for the World visited CESTA in September 2014 and we sat down with some of the interns working in the program. We also visited the shop and met with several local vendors who receive our donated bikes.

In additional to running the Eco-Bici project, CESTA also works strongly to improve the quality of life in harmony with the environment. The bicycle project complements this mission while working to keep youths uninvolved with gangs. Learn more about Eco-Bici and how our bikes are supporting this important project in El Salvador.

BfW Visits Costa Rica

Keith in CanaleteBeneficiaries in northern Costa Rica are using our donated bikes to get to work and school. In September, Bikes for the World visited Costa Rica to find out more about long-standing partner FINCA Costa Rica and meet some of these bike beneficiaries.

Over the years BfW has donated over 20,000 bikes to this micro-finance group. Each container is often split between many communities, reaching all corners of rural Costa Rica.

Our donated bikes are reassembled in these small communities and sold at a low cost to community members who need affordable transportation. The profits from the bike sales are reinvested in the community to help fund smaller businesses such as community markets and clothing stores.

Find out more about how these community run programs work on our blog and stay tuned for more updates from that trip to Central America where we also visited Panama and El Salvador.

BfW Visits Panama

Keith in PanamaDonated bikes provide training to individuals with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds through our partnership with Goodwill Panama.

BfW visited Goodwill Panama in September 2014 to get a better sense of how the program is going and what we can do to improve the shipments to Panama. During our visit we met with the board and staff at Goodwill Panama. We spoke with several bike mechanics and also met with a few of our bike beneficiaries. Learn how a bike is helping a local bricklayer save time and earn more for his family.

Bike use in Panama is largely a recreational activity. Bikes that are donated to Goodwill Panama are reconditioned in their shop and sold to the public in the storefront. Bike sales, in turn, help fund the metal program that also teaches bike mechanics. Many participants in the program continue through the tiers to welding, learning skills that will help provide a decent income for their families.

You can learn more about the bike project on our blog.

 

King Farm Update

King Farm barn
It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of the Bikes for the World facility at King Farm in Rockville. For the last two years Bikes for the World has operated a weekly Thursday night volunteer night at our warehouse at the King Farm Farmstead in Rockville.

We recently received word from the City of Rockville that we would need to vacate the barn where our Maryland centered activities have taken place since 2007. The following is an announcement from Bikes for the World Executive Director Keith Oberg:

This ends a seven-year tenure during which Bikes for the World operated the Rockville Youth Bike Project (RYBP) out of two of the farm buildings- the hay barn and a tenant cottage- and stored and dispatched more than 25,000 bicycles around the world, from local recipients such as the nearby Montgomery County temporary workers' center, to institutions and individuals in places like Ghana, Mozambique, and Uganda.

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