We did it- Thanks for your help! Thanks
to everyone that helped with our bike drive for Africa- the final tally
is in: 406 bikes, plus basic shop supplies, wheels, tires, and dozens
and dozens of racks and baskets that were removed from the bikes. The
pictures don't do justice to how tight these bikes were shoehorned in
there - every available air pocket was filled with something. Nothing
short of a smashing success so far!
The long journey Last July, the container and all 406 bikes made the long journey by rail to Houston, by boat via Freeport to Durban, South Africa, then back onto a train up to Gaborone, Botswana. Total transit time: approx 60 days. Matt and Ken also travelled to Gaborone to meet the container, meet Bones, unload and prep the bikes, set up the shop, and finish showing Bones some of the finer points of bicycle retail. The students from the College Preparatory High School in Oakland were there for much of the same time to assist. All the details of the Botswana Sister Shop are here.
decided to buy the shipping container and leave it in Botswana. Bones is using it now, outside the shop, for storage. Now that we've identified the site and people for our 2nd African Sister Shop, this time in rural Namibia, we're deciding whether to move this container from Botswana to house it, or send a fresh one from California. With the 2nd shop imminent, we're begun to build the program beyond Gaborone to create a
network of thriving African bike dealers.
To see pictures of the container getting loaded, scroll down.
What will happen to your bike once it reaches Africa? We
are firm believers in the value of building a sustainable bicycle
industry in developing areas of the country. Along the lines of the
classic 'Teach a man to fish' proverb, our goal is not just to put a
few hundred bikes into use, but to actually create a bicycle industry
that can successfully support itself. One that can stand on its own two
end, your bicycle will be given to individuals in Botswana and Namibia that are receiving our training and support in opening their own
bicycle retail operations. These small shops will serve the communities
around them by providing bikes at a very reasonable price,and also by
providing repair and service that is an integral part of making the
bike a practical means of everyday transportation. As the first wave of
bikes are sold, the shops will generate revenue that they can use to
bring in more bikes—thus progressively increasing the amount of
bicycles available in their locales. These bikes are desperately needed
in developing areas where they provide their riders access to work and
to health care. By teaching people how to fish—or in this case import,
sell, and service bicycles properly—our unique program will create a
sustainable bicycle infrastructure network that will make a real and
lasting impact on the local community.