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A Bicycle Ambulance - to help get people to medical aid before it is too late. Image copyright Re-Cycle.

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Pedal Power

April 5th, 2013

by Hazel sillver

Donating unwanted bicycles helps others and the environment. Hazel Sillver reports on a new partner scheme between Re~Cycle and Halfords

1.2 million bikes are thrown away each year in Britain and more are left to rust in sheds or garages, as cyclists upgrade to a shiny new model. As well as the obvious environmental drain of buying a new bike when the old one still has plenty of life left in it, we are depriving someone else of its use when we throw our ride on the tip. 

Instead, donate your unwanted bike to the Re~Cycle charity, who refurbish unwanted bikes and then ship them to Africa. While we have the luxury of cars and public transport, millions of people have to walk miles to work, and to fetch food and water. A South African study found that some children were walking 20 miles a day to get to and from school, and those who made it often fell asleep at their desks. 

So far Re~Cycle have given almost 45,000 bikes to people in Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya and South Africa. But since they have only had a few drop-off points, it has been hard to reach all the unwanted bikes around the UK. Now that’s about to change.

As of this month, Re~Cycle are teaming up with Halfords. Eventually, customers will be able to drop off unwanted bikes at all of their 460 stores. “We wanted to find a charity partner for whom we could make a huge difference and also one that had close links with what we do as a business,” says Halfords CEO Matt Davis, “- Re~Cycle fits the bill 100% and in time, our partnership will mean that many more unwanted bikes get to those in need, providing an opportunity to help people in Africa improve their lives in a sustainable way.”

Halfords will initially run ‘drop-off weekends’ at stores, during which customers can donate bikes. See the Re~Cycle website for details of these events and to find Re~Cycle drop-off points in your area. 

Warehouse donation

Estimating a vast increase in donated bikes, following their new tandem ride with Halfords, Re~Cycle are looking for additional warehouses to store bikes. Should anyone want to donate a warehouse to the charity, please contact Re~Cycle CEO and founder Merlin Matthews at info@re-cycle.org

Hazel Sillver is a freelance journalist and a contributor to the Ecologist Green Living section; email: hazel@theecologist.org

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