Bikes for the World works with hundreds of volunteers annually, many of them offsite that we never get to meet or thank. Richard Silva is one of them. Richard is a vehicle maintenance coordinator with Fairfax County. He's also a welder. And an artist. The bike sculpture he's leaning against in the picture above is one of his works of art (our favorite, but we might be biased).
The BfW bike sculpture came from the collaboration of Christine McCoy and Richard Silva from the Fairfax Solid Waste Management Program. Rewinding back to 2017 when BfW eventually partnered with the team at the I-66 Landfill, visitors could leave their bikes between a couple Jersey walls. We then came with our truck to collect them and ensured that they found new homes. Many bikes discarded at recycling centers have a lot of use left in them and bring great value to our program. But many people leaving bikes there were not aware of our program, or the importance of their old bikes.
Christine, who works in Outreach and Education, wanted to change that. The I-66 Transfer Station and the I-95 Landfill Complex provide high-quality and environmentally-responsible recycling and disposal services for Fairfax County, and that includes partnering with organizations that can actually reuse some of what residents leave behind. Christine wanted to communicate that to landfill users.
So she went to Richard, who she knew was not only a welder but an artist. While Richard is a welder by trade and has done a sculpture or two, some of his best work is done in paint and oil...on canvas. He prefers landscapes and still life, and occasionally, for the right cause, actual bike sculptures.
Now visitors to the transfer station can see our bike corral right away with the twelve foot tall sign/sculpture marking the spot. They also had a nice sign made for the top alerting donors to the relationship with Bikes for the World, so they know exactly where their old bikes are going. And since it was installed last year, many people have commented on it and even shared photos on social media. It continues to get our message across and highlights this awesome relationship. In fact, between the two sites set up both at I-66 and I-95 Bikes for the World has received over 7,000 bikes over the past decade. And this site at I-66 has already surpassed the total collected at I-95 in just three years.