UK charity Re Cycle have shipped their 30,000th bike to Africa. A 40ft container filled with 420 used bicycles left for the Kaloko Trust in Zambia this month, and a volunteer is going out to train four mechanics to run the project.
A further container is to follow later in 2009. Some of the bikes have already been refurbished as part of skills training schemes run by Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) in London, and in prisons.
Re Cycle manager Derek Balcombe said: “As you can imagine, we are very proud to have reached this landmark figure.”
The idea is to provide families in developing nations with simple, affordable transport to help them travel to school and work, and carry goods that can be traded. Bicycles are also given to nurses, midwives and health care workers so they can treat more people.
Altogether ,14 countries have received Re Cycle bikes, with the chief recipients being Ghana (12,647 bikes), South Africa (10,122) and The Gambia (1,574). Some 453 bikes have been sent to Lesotho, where the shipment went to a project supported by Sentebale, the charity founded by Prince Harry to help people suffering from poverty and serious illness.
Merlin Matthews, founder of Re Cycle, said: “Millions of unwanted bicycles are rusting in garages or being thrown away in the UK while in Africa a four-hour daily walk is common – mothers collecting clean water, parents trekking to the farm, factory or market, or children facing a 20-mile walk to school and back.”
UK suppliers to Re Cycle’s Colchester depot include the public, Royal Mail, Raleigh, the police and other bicycle reuse projects.
Re Cycle are aiming to set up five cycle collection hubs across the UK. To help them do this they are calling for volunteers, donations and gifts-in-kind such as storage, haulage and shipping.
The 30,000th bike, donated by Trevor Moles of Colchester, is loaded onto a truck