Container #10 was picked up Friday morning, July 15th, for its trip to Sierra Leone. Once they land the bikes will be warehoused at our newest Sister Shop in Freetown and then distributed in smaller bunches to village-level bicycle shops facilitated by the Village Bicycle Project.
The response to the June bike drive we ran in collaboration with PODS was overwhelming. Three entire bays of our warehouse were filled with donated bikes and parts. The biggest pile reached almost to the ceiling! To get as many bikes to Africa as possible, we decided to go with the largest size shipping container available - a 45 footer - which was a first for us.
We learned a few years ago that the most efficient method to fill a container is the "pancake" method. Bikes are prepared for shipping by having their pedals removed and their handlebars twisted to be parallel to the front tire. Bikes are then stacked like pancakes in the container, with kids bikes, wheels and frames used to fill in the gaps and support the load.
We are told that bikes are routinely cannibalized for parts in Sierra Leone because of the extreme shortage of useable spares. At the request of the Village Bicycle Project, we also sent numerous boxes of used bicycle repair stands, tools, tubes, replacement parts, and other necessities to keep these bikes up and running.
The container will be arriving at its destination in the Fall, and we're proud to say that villages in Sierra Leone will be the new homes of the 481 life-changing bikes on board.