Wheels of Change—Biking for a Better World

In economically challenged African communities, a bicycle can radically transform an individual life, family, even an entire village. A healthcare worker can visit four times as many clients by biking instead of walking; girls are 70% more likely to attend school with the increased ability to get there with ease as well as saving time with other jobs they must do (collecting water, going to market, etc) that are prioritized above education; a person biking can carry five times the load of a walker (food for the family, crafts and goods to market, etc). Wheels of Change along with the Bicycling Empowerment Network is getting donated bicycles into villages throughout Namibia and working to expand to other nations. In addition to the donated bicycles, the shipping containers, that can hold 400 bikes plus parts and tools, become shops themselves, serving the community with repairs and maintenance. These Bicycle Empowerment Centres bring revenue to the community and provide employment. Those funds can then be reinvested for school uniforms, micro-loans for new businesses, food and care for orphans, education programs, and more. It’s a win/win all around.

We can’t just put a postage stamp on a bike and ship it to a community in need, but what we CAN do adds us to the win/win/WIN equation…Austin-Lehman Adventures is donating a chunk of money for each upcoming biking tour booked…the progressive company’s travel clients have already been responsible for getting bikes to Namibia, and is now creating a shipment for Nairobi, Kenya. So you have a brilliant bike vacation (some of ALA’s upcoming bike tour destinations include Provence, Tuscany, Germany’s “Romantic Road”, Switzerland, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and more) and change the world just by participating.

The May shipment of bikes to Nairobi marks the first official initiative of the just-established nonprofit, Africa-based Wheels of Change founded by Michael Linke (http://www.benbikes.org.za/namibia/) and represented in Billings by Austin. Linke has helped establish 26 up and running bikes shops throughout Namibia, including the Billings-supported shop in Ngoma.

Wheels of Change provides donated bicycles to underprivileged African communities. Donations will help defer the cost of shipping 400 bikes, parts and tools. Through a community effort, ALA has collected the bikes and will pack them for shipment on Mothers’ Day weekend. Collection of bikes, parts and tools began shortly after last year’s spring shipment of bikes to Ngoma, a remote village in the far eastern corner of Namibia. This year’s shipment will go to Nairobi, Kenya.

One response to this post.

  1. Thanks a lot for posting this! Wheels of Change is just getting started based on a previous charity we ran, we are currently working on our second shipment to Africa.

    We do have a website up running now, it is http://wocmontana.org.

    Great blog you have here,

    Andy

    Reply

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