Once upon a time we were like the little
engine organization that could- chugging along with a passionate conductor named Keith who convinced everyone in his wake to jump on board. Bikes for the World Founder Keith Oberg kept us on the rails and brought on volunteers with a shared vision who not only helped us pick up steam over the years, they helped us grow into what we are today. We are now entering our 15th year as Bikes for the World. In the beginning we handled about 5,000 bikes a year, now it's closer to 15,000!
Now, let us introduce you to one of those early volunteers, Ben Beach. In fact, Ben joined Keith in 2003, before we were even BfW. Back then Keith had a close circle of friends who helped collect and ship bikes...in the thousands...so it was a ton of work for a small network of folks. Keith relied on drop off points around the city to help collect and sometimes store bikes until the next shipment. This is how some of our early shop partners formed.
Back in 2003, Ben noticed a collection flyer on a restaurant bulletin board and decided to check out the event. Ben grew up in a thrifty, green household, so this seemed right up his alley. His mom was even recycling in the 60s. When he asked Keith how he could help, Keith was quick with an answer. Can you collect bikes for us in Bethesda?
Ben and his wife Carol have been accepting bikes at their home ever since. Over the years this location has been a critical site as we bounced around warehouses, sometimes with only one location all the way in South Arlington. The convenient drop off point in Bethesda gave our northern donors an option, especially in the off season when there weren't community led collections sprinkled around town.
Now BfW also calls Bethesda home, well honestly we don't, we call it Rockville, but some do refer to it as Northern Bethesda. But Ben is located in the heart of Bethesda, inside the beltway, and continues to be a preferred drop off point for some. Besides the Oberg residence in Arlington, Ben's of Bethesda is the longest personal residence drop off point in BfW history!
I love the idea of a bike that's been sitting unused in a garage landing in Kenya and enabling somebody to get to school or a job. Everyone who brings us a bike raves about the beauty of that, too, which I love. I'm also enthusiastic about the BfW crew; they are dedicated, friendly, and energetic. I feel lucky to have become part of the BfW crusade.Ben Beach, BfW crusader