Bicycle donations is a good habit. Not only do we develop an appreciation for what we have, but we also learn to keep our belongings safe and well maintained, so that they may receive the same level of care and appreciation by someone less fortunate.
For avid cyclists, bicycle donations make a lot of sense because no one wants to see a bicycle go to waste, rotting in the garage. Donations help improve communities and uplift the spirits of children and adults.
In poor countries they are essential for transport, commerce and social mobility. When children get their hands on bicycles, they become healthier, more adventurous and develop a more outgoing attitude, which is exactly what they need in a world that is currently being dominated by 24-hour entertainment via TV and game consoles.
Guidelines for Bicycle Donations
Most bicycle collection centres accept bicycles of all sizes ranging from tricycles to adult bikes. Generally there is no restriction with regards to the type of bike, which means anything from road and mountain bikes to hybrid and tandem bikes are worth donating. Also, remember that bicycle donations do not have to involve only bicycles; spare parts, bicycle tools and some volunteer time are all highly appreciated.
There are three basic points owners should consider with regards to bicycle donations.
- Firstly, assuming the bike has been disused for a while, it should be one that can be returned to operational capability within a short period of time by a skilled mechanic.
If the bike cannot be restored from serious disrepair, then you could still donate the bike but it might be less useful.
- Secondly, it is important that the bike frame be not compromised by severe rust or corrosion because if the frame is compromised, then it is very difficult for even the most skilled mechanics to fix things.
- Thirdly, it should be clean and enough to be gifted. If it is painfully obvious that you are trying to get rid of garbage, you might end up hurting someone’s feelings and offending the bicycle collection service. However, remember that most collection centres have no problem with bikes that are in good condition but lack certain parts like pedals or seat posts because these items can be attached later and fixed accordingly.
Tips for Bicycle Donations
- Some centres accept tax-deductible bicycle donations and others pay a small sum (generally around $10) for each bicycle, but some generally cannot afford to pay anything. It is quite easy to find a place that caters to individual preferences.
- If you have any high-end or vintage bicycles, make sure you check the value of it first. Once you donate a bicycle try to get a receipt stating the value of the bicycle (most established donation centres offer this service) for tax reasons.
- Collection centres are always on the lookout for volunteers to refurbish and maintain old bikes. They also provide plenty of training and experience, which is great for anyone interested in becomming a bicycle mechanic for a good cause.
- Bike shipments can be tracked all around the world and you can proudly claim to have played a part in improving the life of a person that you have never met.
Bicycle Donations Useful Links
- Bikes for the World
- Bicycles for Humanity
- Bikes not Bombs
- Village Bicycle Project
- Working Bikes Cooperative, Chicago Illinois, USA
- Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
- Pedals for Progress.
- Cycle North South.
Selected User Comments
“if you are cycling fanatic AND you want to save the world, then you really need to get involved in donations. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you are making some kid’s life better, half way around the world.”
“These places have some serious passion when it comes to bicycle donations and working there as a volunteer sparked that passion within me too and inspired me to become more involved in social work and take up engineering. I recently went down to Sri Lanka, and I was reduced to tears when I saw how much these simple two-wheeled machines had improved the lives of hundreds of people.”
“I think it is a nice initiative, and I’ve taught my kids to take care of their bikes because they can donate it to someone child who can only dream of riding a bicycle. It’s a good motivator, and I’ve seen how it influences every part of their lives. Now my kids (both in their teens) just save all their old toys, clothes, books, and other stuff so that one day they can be given away to the poor or unfortunate. It’s an amazing way to teach kids good morals.
“I’m not a big fan of donating money because as a member of a big international aid agency, I know how much money gets wasted, but donating tangible items are less easily stolen by corrupt politicians or wasted on “administrative costs”, I just hope people apply this to all aspects of donations and aids.