Our good friends at Bicycle Warehouse in San Diego have come through with yet another container of bikes for Africa! A while back, Ken challenged Debbe and Mike Simmons from Bicycle Warehouse to run their own San Diego bike drive to support our projects, and they jumped right on board. They shipped off their first container, and it was mission accomplished. Except they didn't stop there. They kept the bike drive going, and have rounded up another batch of 400+ bikes, which they packed into a 40 foot shipping container this week (our 51st container to Africa), and it's now en route to our partners in Lesotho, where the bikes will be distributed by Tumi's Cycles in the capital of Maseru, as well as a new one there name Teboho's Bike Shop. Cycling in Africa is flourishing thanks to our donors in SF and SD, and our incredible partners like Mike and Debbe. THANK YOU to the entire crew at Bicycle Warehouse!!
With our first donation of 24 bikes and a slew of product from our generous sponsors, we're super excited about our new partnership with Children in the Wilderness (CITW).
CITW is a non-profit organization that facilitates sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa. Insight, care and commitment are required to conserve Africa's pristine wilderness and wildlife areas. To ensure that these places continue to exist - in this generation and those to come - we need the rural children of Africa to understand the importance of conservation and its relevance in their lives. Hence, the Children in the Wilderness program: and environmental and life skills education program for children, focusing on the next generation of decision-makers; inspiring them to care for their natural heritage and to become the custodians of their wilderness and wildlife in the future.
CITW's Eco-Club program forms part of the normal school curriculum and uses interactive sessions to involve children in projects that benefit both the community and the environment. This donation will enable CITW to run competitions in its Eco-Clubs, with winners each receiving a bike, a helmet and riding gear. These bikes are a huge reward for child participants who demonstrate a commitment to conservation and community service.
Huge thanks to our industry partners who made this possible: Specialized, Raleigh, Giant, Ivar, Bike and Roll, and of course our generous customers right here in NorCal!
Achieving personal mobility is awesome, but sometimes you've just got to carry stuff too.
We've gotten more than 16,000 Africans rolling on bikes so far, but moving stuff around with them on those bikes remains a challenge. Rack and basket compatibility is tough, and there's not a good supply of donated or inexpensive trailers. We've seen some amazing examples of pure African ingenuity to solve this problem - and another solution is as simple as a backpack!
Not only do our friends over at IVAR have the coolest and most comfortable backpack design on the market, they also share our soft spot for Africa and our belief that clean, green, individual transport is a no-brainer. With their donation of more than 800 backpacks to our projects, IVAR packs are making a huge difference.
Just last week, we visited the shop in Gaborone, where Sparks, our legendary mechanic, showed up for work sporting an IVAR pack. Sparks says it's the most comfortable pack he's ever worn. They're also being used in other parts of Botswana, as well as Namibia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Huge thanks to IVAR for their generous support, and for helping everyday Africans make their newfound two-wheeled freedom more productive and more comfortable.
About a year ago, Ken challenged our friends Mike and Debbe Simmons, owners of the Bicycle Warehouse stores in San Diego, to run their own Africa Bike Drive, and they jumped right on board! All Bicycle Warehouse locations became drop off points for donated bikes, and Mike built a massive shed behind their house to store them all. Before we knew it, they had rounded up a full container of bikes, along with 300 helmets donated by Kali, new parts donated by Giant, and piles and piles of carefully organized used parts. This week, Ken visited Mike and Debbe to show them the tricks of cramming as many donated bikes as possible into a shipping container, and Container #29 is now en route from San Diego to our facility in Gaborone, Botswana.
Here's a hats off and a huge, huge THANK YOU to the entire Bicycle Warehouse crew, and to all of their awesome San Diego customers who donated bikes.
We think they kind of like the idea, because Mike and Debbe have already begun collecting bikes for their next container!
Adam Austin started an organization called Kit Up Africa to collect gently used bike clothing in Southern California to donate to aspiring African racers. As we've learned over the past several years, there's a surprisingly strong racing community in southern Africa, and they're always after better equipment, including more professional clothing. Adam personally delivered the first truckload to us today in Novato, and we're loading all the neatly sorted bins into our 28th shipping container to Africa. Huge thanks to Adam for this effort, especially for delivering the clothing all laundered, folded and sorted. It will make the distribution from Gaborone so much easier! Also huge thanks to our friends at all the SoCal shops and teams who are helping with the collection. We're quite confident we'll find excellent second lives for all of this gear.
Every time we introduce and promote bikes in African communities as a green and affordable transportation solution, we're always delighted to see that a certain group of folks immediately starts racing each other on the bikes. Guess that's just human nature, no matter where you're from.
As these racing groups start to develop and improve, they start wanting better and better riding gear - again, maybe just human nature.
And on the other side of the world here in the States, every serious cyclist has a closet packed with bike clothing that's still in great shape but no longer in use. That's where Adam Austin steps in.
The opening message on his Facebook page says it all:
Hello, I'm Adam Austin. Welcome to Kit Up Africa! I am starting a non-profit organization that collects used cycling clothes (kits) and gives them to the growing cycling community in Africa. With the help of Mike's Bike's Africa and Serious Cycling, we are launching our donation drive soon.
Mike's Bike's Africa has been sending donated bikes to Africa since 2008. CEO and Founder Ken Martin has offered to help in shipping the clothes with his bike containers and distributing them through their Sister Shops in Africa. They have shipped over 10,000 bikes to 7 countries in Africa. Check them out and donate at MikesBikesAfrica.com.
Scott B. Johnson and Justin Shniderman are the owners of Serious Cycling in Agoura Hills CA. I ride for their shop team. They have joined in as avid supporters of the project and the central donation site. In the coming weeks we will start collecting good condition cycling clothes - both men's and women's jerseys, bibs, shorts and shoes.
Please start looking through your gear and setting aside your "hand me ups". I soon will be contacting other shops to help as donation sites around the Los Angeles area (you know who you are!)
I can't tell you all how excited I am about what we all are about to embark on. Just imagine someone riding in Africa wearing your kit.
Check out Kit Up Africa at www.facebook.com/KitUpAfrica
Thank You to Kiwanis International Magazine for the showcase article in their Jan/Feb 2014 issue, and Thank You to the Lombard (IL) Kiwanis Club for their super generous $8000 grant, which will cover the ocean freight of Jeff and Dave's 2nd full container of donated bikes to orphans in Lesotho.
A while back, we received a random email from two dudes named Jeff and Dave who had an idea to ride their bikes across Lesotho (an extremely rugged and mountainous country) to raise funds for The Mike's Bikes Foundation. We see these offers often, and they rarely pan out. These two, however, are really doing it!!
Their goal was to raise $20,000, which is enough to completely cover the shipping and import duties of an entire 40' container of donated bikes into Lesotho. Jeff and Dave have a specific focus on getting bikes directly to kids living in the outlying highland districts. We travelled through the Lesotho highlands last summer and we can attest to just how rural and rugged it is out there.
We're thrilled that Jeff and Dave have chosen us to partner with, and we're so excited to see their progress, in both their fundraising and their journey.
Their 9-day trek is planned for July 2013 and they'll soon be accepting donations. Please Like them on Facebook, help spread the word, donate directly to their initiative here, and if nothing else, send them some words of encouragement. Those mountains in Lesotho are no joke!
Our charge was to sell 500 adult Raleigh bikes between April 1st and June 15th. We are proud to shout out that we have officially knocked this goal out of the park. Thanks to our loyal customers, 545 total bikes were sold in total!
In keeping with their end of the deal, Raleigh bikes will now donate $10,000 to our Sister Shops in Africa.
Our partners in Africa are sure to appreciate this support as we continue to work together to develop a bicycle network infrastructure in this part of the world where the bicycle is uniquely positioned to empower individuals and advance a society.
Our task: Sell 500 adult Raleigh bikes between April 1st and June 15th. If we meet this goal Raleigh will donate $10,000 to our Sister Shop programs in Africa. And with shop number four now up and running in Lesotho, our partners in Africa can certainly use the support. If you're in the market for a bike, it's the perfect time to check out a Raleigh. Help them help us, and don’t forget we’re always in need of your tax-deductible donation bikes too!
Thanks to the generosity of our customers, and Specialized Bicycles (who've provided a fleet of brand-new light cargo bikes), we now have enough donation bicycles to fill container #14 for our Africa Sister Shops. Demand on the continent couldn't be higher, as people from Botswana, to Namibia, to Zimbabwe, and now Lesotho, are snapping up affordable bikes to gain mobility in their lives. All are welcome to help load the container, or to just say hi and take a photo or two. Join us Thursday morning at 9am on 4/5/2012 at 24 Tiburon St. in San Rafael.
Let it be known: Our friends at Specialized Bicycles have hearts as big as their bike-designing brains. Late last year they made the single biggest donation to our projects in Africa that we have ever received, and all of us here at Mike's are hugely grateful for their gift of bicycle-powered, well, empowerment. The first component of this gift was an entire 40' shipping container full of parts, accessories, and riding gear that was loaded up at Specialized's Salt Lake City warehouse. This was container #12 that we have shipped to Africa, and it was sent directly to our new distribution center Bicycle Recycle in Gaborone, Botswana. This sorely-needed equipment will be spread throughout our Sister Shops to help keep existing bikes running, help refurbish used donation bikes, and to help enable the local population to ride in greater safety and comfort.
Having been familiar with our Africa Sister Shop program for some time, Specialized determined the most effective bike to donate considering the conditions in these developing communities would be a light cargo bike. When we agreed with this premise they shocked us by committing to donate no less than 100 of these bikes, brand-spakin'-new! The cargo bikes joined our customers' donation bikes to fill Container #13, which was loaded at our warehouse in San Rafael.
We could not be more thankful to have a partner in Specialized that not only produces the best bikes in the world for us to provide to our customers, but who also shares our belief in the power of the bicycle to make life better for those in need.
Our friends over at Selfless Tee have whipped up this stylish t-shirt in support of our projects in Africa. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of each shirt go to directly to help fund our Sister Shop program. The best part is that the more shirts that are sold, the lower the production costs are and the higher the percentage of funding is to our projects. Pick up a shirt and support our efforts in style! Click to buy a tee or share it via social media.