The August issue of Américas (not available online) reports that since 1991, Pedals for Progress has shipped 108,906 used bicycles to poor communities across the world, and the bikes are making a huge difference. With every shipment, the organization sends 400 bikes to nonprofit groups, which then sell them at affordable prices to people who would normally spend bus fare getting to their jobs. The bicyclists save money, stay healthy, and take it easy on the environment while getting to work. Plus, those 400 new bikes create the need for a bike shop, which generates stable jobs in the area. By selling the bikes at a fraction of their cost, Pedals for Progess covers its shipping expenses. About 74 percent of the bikes have gone to Latin American countries, and according to a 1997 study in Nicaragua, households with bicycles saw their income rise an average of 14 percent with the transportation savings and side businesses such as delivery.
If you’ve got a bicycle to donate, check out the group’s bike collection schedule for an area near you, or sponsor one yourself. Pedals for Progress has also begun to collect used sewing machines to send along with the bikes. —Julie Dolan