Westfield Rotarians Collect Bikes for Third World Countries

(above) Rotarians pose with some of the collected bicycles.

Rotary Collects Bikes for Third World

Submitted by Michael Hart

The Rotary Club of Westfield collected exactly 100 bikes, 11 sewing machines, and $1,804.00 in donations on Saturday, October 19, 2019.

(above) Chair Warren Rorden with collected bikes.

Every year Americans dump 15 million perfectly good bicycles in the landfills. 100 million Americans own bikes, and purchase another 20 million every year.

But in the third world, a bicycle is not just fun- it is important vehicle to get to work, transport goods to market, or for a child to travel a longer distance to school. One third of the bikes collected were childrens bikes.

The Rotary Club of Westfield works with a non profit organization 501c3 called Pedals For Progress. Every year the Rotary Club puts out the call for old bikes and collects them in October. Warren Rorden has been running the bike drive for the Rotary Club since 1997 and has collected 2,400 bikes and 89 sewing machines over 22 years. The Club also collects sewing machines at the same time. A sewing machine can create a job for a person for their lifetime, and can change the economic circumstances of their family. Pedals runs collections throughout New Jersey then fills a container with bikes and ships it to where they will do the most good. Off road bikes go to countries without roads, road bikes go to countries with paved roads.

The bikes need to be prepared for shipping. The volunteers take off the pedals, attach them to the frame and turn the handle bars sideways to flatten the bikes. They the bikes may be easily stacked in the shipping containers. It costs about $50 to ship each bike, so the Rotary Club asks for a $10 donation with each bike. The bikes are sold in the receiving country for a nominal fee, which gives value to the bike and helps to offset shipping.

Many people have an old bike in their garage which is perfectly good, but they hate to throw it out. Recycling the bike to a practical use in the third world is a wonderful idea. Pedals for Progress gives a tax receipt for the donation of the equipment and money; the resident gets to clean out their garage, the third world person who gets the bike benefits with increased economic opportunity. They need a bike shop there for repairs so it creates jobs. Kids can get to school, bikes do not create any air pollution, and the Rotary club looks good. Everyone wins.

Jay’s Cycle shop dropped off 25 new bikes and a check for $250.00. They are making room for their new season.

This project is a good example of how the Rotary Club of Westfield helps to make the world a better place. We have a project every month. We meet most Tuesdays for lunch at 12:15 at Addams Tavern, in downtown Westfield and guests are always welcome. Visit their website at westfieldrotray.com. For information contact Club Secretary Michael Hart at drmhart@yahoo.com.

(above) Rotarian volunteers preparing the bikes for shipping.

(above) Jay’s Cycle shop dropping off bikes.

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