Penn State, Centre region donate bicycles to world communities

Penn State's Center for Sustainability, the Centre Region Bicycle Coalition (CRBC) and two student groups -- Students Consulting for Non-profit Organizations and Penn State Eco-Action -- recently completed a community-wide bicycle collection for the nonprofit organization, Bikes for the World. The State College and University Park groups worked together to collect and repair donated bicycles, and on Aug. 24, brought them to the Rockville, Md., warehouse of Bikes for the World.

During eight collection events over 11 months, the group collected 135 bicycles. In the end, 110 of them were deemed suitable for shipment to communities around the world. The day after the delivery, several of those bicycles were loaded onto a shipping container bound for Costa Rica.

"This was a terrific town-gown effort," said Lynda Crow, treasurer of the Centre Region Bicycle Coalition. "It was impressive to see so many different people working for such a long time to complete this project."

The project was delayed by uncertainty over the effects of new import laws in Ecuador, the original destination for the bicycles. In the end, it was determined that Bikes for the World should receive the current collection, while a second collection will be planned when the Ecuadorian communities are able to receive the bicycles.

"We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Galen Dreibelbis and Regina Bowers, who made it possible for us to store all of the collected bicycles for such a long time," said Susannah Barsom, associate director of the Penn State Center for Sustainability. "While we were trying to determine where we could legally ship these bikes, they continued to offer us free warehousing. It was incredibly generous!"

While no more bicycle collections are planned at this time, the groups are considering the development of a continuing partnership with Bikes for the World.

According to their website, Bikes for the World's mission is to assist poor people overseas in becoming more productive by providing affordable bicycles for personal transport to work, school, and health services. Secondarily, to provide satisfying community service opportunities to Americans -- collecting bikes and spare parts -- toward realizing this primary goal of helping others overseas.

 

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Last Updated September 27, 2012