Learn how to donate a bicycle to charity in Africa
Way back in 2011, Adrian and I cycled 20 countries in 100 days for Re-Cycle, the bikes to Africa charity.
In late 2012 Adrian had the pleasure of visiting the inspirational tea fuelled powerhouse that is Re-Cycle HQ over in Colchester UK. He spent the day learning how to donate a bike to charity and how you can too. What a day it was.
Re~Cycle, the bikes to Africa charity
Re~Cycle sends donated, second-hand and unwanted bicycles to Africa. The bikes to Africa charity started in 1998 when Merlin Matthews aka Dr Bike began to ship bikes to Africa.
Following a conversation with a Haitian woman about the urgent need for a cheap and reliable form of transport in her country, Merlin agreed to help.
Soon afterwards a successful project to send bikes to South Africa, Merlin established Re~Cycle as an independent charity to send bicycles to Africa.
My day with the bikes to Africa team at Re~Cycle
It was a great chance to catch up with the fantastic people who make it all happen! A crack team of volunteers arrived early this morning in abysmal rain and wind to load a shipment of bikes set for Malawi.
As you can see from the pictures they use every last inch of space. This bicycles to Africa charity takes packing seriously!
Most of the bikes that are donated to Re-Cycle go straight to Africa, if a bike arrives and meets the standard then it is compacted by removing parts such as pedals and kickstands.
Then the handlebars are turned so they can be packed as tightly as possible.
The bikes will then be rebuilt and serviced when they arrive in Africa by local people who Re-Cycle help to train and educate.
Bicycle donations of all kinds
Some donated bikes are in very poor condition but nothing goes to waste at Re-Cycle! Every nut, bolt, spoke and spindle is painstakingly salvaged and used as spares.
Some bikes such as modern racers and vintage collectors bikes are not suitable for the African market.
These go to a separate workshop where they are serviced and sold locally, generating income to keep the charity afloat.
It was also fantastic to hear that Re-Cycle plans for the future include strengthening their network of African partners.
By helping to meet the increased demand for shipments through setting up more collection depots.
They deserve all the help they can get and we will certainly be behind them every step of the way!
Where to donate a bike to Re~Cycle
Re~Cycle accepts bicycle donations at its Colchetsre address and has an extensive network of nationwide drop off points.
Our charity bicycle ride for Re~Cycle
The goal of our charity bike ride was to highlight the importance of the bicycle as a means to improve lives. 20 countries in 100 days was an important milestone in our cycling challenges.
Whether you are lucky enough to live in the developed world or you live in one of the poorest nations, the bicycle has the power to change lives for the better.
Anyone can improve their fitness and well-being by choosing to cycle and in Africa a bicycle can empower people, giving them access to basic necessities that most of us take for granted.
How to donate bikes to charity in Africa and UK
That’s why we’ve joined forces with Re-Cycle and Back2Bikes.
Re-Cycle’s mission is to collect second-hand bicycles and ship them to Africa. Their partners distribute bikes and teach riders the skills to repair and maintain them.
Their bikes also help health/AIDS workers reach remote villages and even provide an ambulance service in remote Namibia.
Back2Bikes – the Stafford based bike charity that recycles bicycles
Back2Bikes is a local bicycle recycling scheme that provides access to affordable bicycles to the local community in Staffordshire and also supplies bikes to African communities too.
We’ve been on the road again this weekend topping up our biker tans in our cherished homeland of Staffordshire so we thought we’d drop in on those fantastic folk at Back2Bikes!
If you’ve got a dilapidated old slog iron wasting away in the garden shed then send it to these guys and they’ll give it a new lease of life.
They can help you get back on the road without breaking the bank or they’ll gladly take any unwanted bikes off your hands.
Donate a bike to change a life
Bikes are used in the workshop to educate placement students from all walks of life in the art of bike mechanics. The workshop was a hive of activity when we called in, all fuelled by volunteers!
We had a great chat with Back2Bikes operations manager, Mark Vyner who told us how Back2Bikes has gone from strength to strength over the last 7 years.
These days they not only provide a source of affordable bikes to the local community. But they also hire out vintage bikes for film and theatre. And they have even started selling bargain bike bits like pre-cut brake and gear cable replacement kits.
It’s certainly a thriving and inspirational organisation, well worth dropping in for a visit!
Where to donate a bike to charity
You can donate a bike to Back to Bikes at their Stafford address:
We hope this has educated you on how to donate a bicycle to charity and perhaps inspired a visit to one of the charities mentioned above. Could you donate a bicycle to a charity in the UK or Afirca? Leave a message in the comments below: