Kids Bike Trade Up Program - Latest News

Rone and David - Pedals for Progress

Girl with new bike in Guatemala

June 2014:  High Gear Cyclery and Pedals for Progress Team Up to Change Lives

High Gear Cyclery is pleased to have partnered with Pedals for Progress (P4P), based in High Bridge, with the first load of kids bikes being readied for shipment to Guatemala in mid-June.  There will be a container load of previously loved kids bikes from our NJ customers shipped to be distributed to families in Guatemala.

Bike shop quality kids bikes are built to last a long time. However, kids grow up fast, and their bikes get set aside when they've outgrown them. High Gear began to offset this trend years ago when they started a Trade-up Program.  These bikes now can be put to good use and provide value to customers after a child has grown out of his/her bike and can help change the lives of families here in the US and in less developed countries.  When customers bring back the bike purchased at High Gear they receive a Trade-up Credit to use toward the purchase of any new bike in the store.

Over the years High Gear Cyclery has donated more than 2,000 used kids bikes to a variety of local charities.  Last month 40+ bikes were picked up by the Boys and Girls Club of Plainfield.  This is the first time that the used bikes will be shipped overseas to change lives.
Poor people overseas need cheap, non-polluting transportation to get to jobs, markets, customers, and schools. Pedals for Progress has received, processed and donated over 115,000 bicycles, 1,000 used sewing machines and $10.8 million in new spare parts to partner charities in 32 developing world countries.

Pedals for Progress also promotes bicycle repair businesses in the developing world. Typically, P4P will work with a community owned non-profit (NGO) to help get the first containerized cargo shipment delivered, but that NGO then has to earn enough money selling the repaired bikes to pay for the shipping expenses of the second shipment.

Pedals for Progress isn’t just donating used bicycles: It’s also helping developing world economies by promoting self-sustaining bicycle repair businesses.

It was great luck that High Gear has a number of kids bikes and P4P was planning a shipment to a charity named FIDESMA in Guatemala for June.  Given the average height of many of the Guatemalans, the 24 inch kids bike will become an adult bike to be used by a mother or father who now can get to work to do their job and get home in time to take care of the kids, and support themselves for the first time.  The average adult recipient has a 14% increase in shorter with the use of a bicycle for transportation.  The recipients will be able to spend more time farming and with their families, and less time commuting.

Each 16 and 20 inch bicycle will go to a child who will now be able to go to school on a regular basis.   With a bicycle comes a life change, ease in getting to school and more time to study or play.   There are 16 inch bikes for seven, eight and nine-year-old kids who are going to use them to commute to school.  The 20 inch bikes will go to older kids who may use them for a combination of work and school commuting.

Of course, as a bike shop, High Gear Cyclery believes that bikes can change anyone’s life.   Sometimes we just don’t appreciate just how much impact a bike can have on a life.  The stories and success of P4P shine a new light on just how important a bike can be in someone’s life and on a village and an economy. 

In August 2014 the bikes reached their destination, in this case the marketplace is San Andreas Ixtapa which is a very poor community in the Highlands of Guatemala.  When P4P started shipping bikes there in 1999 there were no bikes.  You can now buy very cheap Chinese bikes in the marketplaces of the bigger cities but that is what they are, very cheap Chinese bikes which do not last long in the rugged terrain of the Highlands.  The only real quality bikes are the ones that come from P4P,  through donations and through shops like High Gear.  People who don’t have bicycles walk.  There are very few automobiles in this poor Mayan community and those that are there for the most part are pretty dilapidated.

The money from the sale of the bike goes to cover the shipping cost and the social programs of the organization FIDEMSA.  They fund their social programs by selling our bicycles and  they help the community by offering an extremely high quality product at an artificially low price because they only paid the shipping cost not a purchase price.  

The bikes are initially stored in a storeroom and as they are rebuilt they are brought out into a showroom floor.  The local population is always really excited when a new container arrives. They come in droves and walk through the show room and try to find a bike that they think suits their needs.  The people of San Andreas have become quite astute about bicycles as they have gotten almost 8000 bikes in this one little town since 1999.  the people live on the steep hills surrounding the Valley and farm the Valley.  Every day they ride down to their fields,  swing spades all day tilling the soil, then ride back home up hill.

The parent who bought that 12 inch bicycle has many more kids at home.  It is shiny and new and met his needs.  Even though the Mayan Empire disappeared,  the Maya did not.  We just call a good number of them these days Guatemalans.  FIDESMA is an indigenous organization founded by Margarita Caté who still dresses in the traditional way and has a long black braid.

P4P also shipped a container of bikes that is set to arrive in Albania, and half of the bikes are from trade ups at High Gear.  P4P partners with PASS in Tirane who works with all of the orphanages (and there are many of the Roma people, the most repressed minority in Europe).   PASS puts some effort into getting bikes for the kids to ride around in the courtyards and learn how to ride at the orphanages.

bikes for P4P

Pedals for Progress

P4P and HGC

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