At Bikes for the World, we are a community of people helping others and the past year has solidified our commitment to this mission. As we entered 2021, the challenges of the previous year continued- scarcity of bikes and associated parts, limited volunteer availability, unpredictability in international shipping. Our phenomenal network rose to the challenge and played a key role in ensuring that bikes were still getting into the hands of those who needed them most.
When a global health crisis threatened our lives and our livelihoods, we found the power of our mission pushed to the forefront. Bikes became a lifeline to critical workers tasked with keeping us safe and secure during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The bike shops and mechanics we trained and supported stepped up to help keep their communities rolling even while our local operations paused and shipments were grounded. Our beneficiaries proved their independence and resiliency could carry them through the unimaginable. Our pivots and innovations redefined our goals for 2020 and helped build even stronger partnerships we hope to expand moving forward.
An important goal of Bikes for the World has been building strong community connections locally and ensuring that our partner programs have the resources to do the same.
In 2019 we expanded our focus on community empowerment by providing resources that would allow our international partners to expand their programs to benefit even more lives.
This past year was one filled with change, growth and excitement at Bikes for the World. As we focused on our commitment to growing the program locally, that work had a direct impact on our growth globally.
Because of our increased volunteer activity in our warehouse our partners around the world were also able to focus on growing their programs to affect even more lives in greater ways.
After years of bouncing around odd spaces, Bikes for the World finally set down roots, signed a commercial lease, and found a semi-permanent home in Rockville.
The decision to combine our warehouse and office spaces has already made us more efficient and allowed us to open the workshop more frequently to volunteers. This is keeping our supply of spare parts flowing to our partners overseas and building a strong volunteer base in the community.
Bikes for the World relied on strength in numbers moving forward in 2016. Our community partners led the way collecting more bikes than ever before. We added more than a dozen new school partners and worked with 10 scouts earning their way toward Eagle. Overseas, many of our global partners work with co-ops and communities to help fix, distribute, and maintain the bikes we donate. Together we are collecting more bikes and affecting more lives every year.
2016 Snapshot Stronger Together
Bikes for the World grew in quantity and quality in 2015. We expanded bike collections in the DC area and also established satellite efforts in Pittsburgh, Charleston SC, and New York (Long Island). We shipped our first container of bikes and parts from NY in October. We added four new African partners in 2015 and continued to strengthen relationships with existing partners.
2015 Snapshot- a look back
With an emphasis on recycling, Bikes for the World donated the 100,000th bike on America Recycles Day. We increased the value of our shipments by collecting even more used parts and tires by combining forces with Motivate Bicycle Share and local bike shops. Partnering for the third year with DICK'S Sporting Goods, BfW collected and shipped 14,000 bikes in 2014.
2014 Snapshot- for more on our accomplishments
Bikes for the World added two new overseas partners this year focused on keeping students in school. In addition we sent more bikes to two existing education projects in the Philippines and Africa. At home we expanded our service projects to offer more rewarding experiences to participating corporate and private groups as well as schools and scout troops. We also launched our new website this year and continued our focus on sharing information and beneficiary stories from around the globe.
2013 Snapshot - a look at our year in review.
We delivered our 60,000th bike in March, 70,000th bike in September, and set new mark for annual shipments placing 13,500 of our bikes and 5,000 of Chicago's Working Bikes. Shipped to new projects in Sierra Leone, Kenya, El Salvador. Continued our support to education in the Philippines. Partnered with national retailer Dick's Sporting Goods to take in more bikes. Expanded our board of directors and initiated strategic planning process. Launched blog and increased use of social media.
Early in the year, we incorporated separately from our original sponsor and secured recognition of our independent non-profit status. We shipped our 50,000th bike. We broadened our production base expanding our collections through bicycle retailers, apartment buildings, and waste transfer stations, and handling an increasing number of shipments of bicycles on behalf of a sister organization, Working Bikes Cooperative.
We began a critical transition from being a project of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)--our long-term sponsor--to full independence as a separate non-profit agency. Important steps included the creation of a new, part-time position–office and volunteer manager—and a narrowing of the focus of our Rockville Youth Bike Project to collecting and delivering bikes.
40,000th Bicycle Shipped
Bikes for the World held steady despite adverse economic times. More than 100 community organizations, public agencies, and businesses contributed. On a record-setting spring weekend that saw more than 700 bicycles donated at five events, Otterbein United Methodist Church boasted the largest single bike collection event ever, netting nearly 400 bikes in four hours!
Record Production Year--10,301 Bikes Donated
Highlights included record collections and expanded geographic coverage from North Carolina (315 bikes at one event in Durham!) to Pennyslvania; an innovative and record-breaking 4-site, 700-bike collection and same-day "live load" of a 40' shipping container destined for Uganda, with the Calvert County (MD) Public Schools; increasing African shipments by 80%, from under 30% of all shipments to more than 40%; and attempting a 40-bike pilot initiative in Afghanistan (it failed to reach its intended destination). We consolidated our position as the nation's largest bicycle reuse charity, collecting and donating a record 10,301 bicycles.
Bikes for the World the Nation's Largest Bicycle Reuse Program, Establishes Rockville Youth Bike Project
In only our third year, Bikes for the World became the largest program of its kind, increasing our shipments three percent over the previous year, to 7,922 bikes delivered. We consolidated shipments among six overseas programs, adding a major new relationship in Uganda. We hired a second employee and etablished the Rockville Youth Bike Project to "give back" to one of our principal supporting communities, promoting youth development and bike safety, and securing a long-term storage lease.
7,697 Bikes Shipped…and Growing
We enjoyed strong growth, sending bicycles to a dozen non-profit partners overseas, including new projects in Africa. We added a pilot program delivering portable sewing machines to our partners in Panama and Costa Rica, to benefit more women. We lost one of two storage sites, then gained a replacement, laying the groundwork for the Rockville Youth Bicycle Project.
In order to grow the collection of the bicycles to benefit more groups around the world, including Sri Lanka following the December 2004 tsunami, the Washington network of the New Jersey-based Pedals for Progress became a "sponsored project" of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). Storage sites were secured in DC and Northern VA and collections multiplied, including an innovative partnership with the Montgomery County Waste Transfer Station that provided close to a thousand usable bicycles the first year. The founder-director tapped his professional background working in Central America and the Caribbean to identify additonal partners to receive bicycle donations.
2005 Annual Report PDF