Two-wheeled transportation is golden in Africa

John Robertson

John Robertson

Mountain bike collection day set for Sunday

Having ridden Africa from top to bottom in 2008 and raised money to buy bicycles for African health-care workers, Chris Wille understood the difference mobility can make to a villager’s life.

He and his wife, Linda, and a few friends got busy collecting new and used mountain bikes after he returned from his 12,000-kilometre journey, under the auspices of an organization called Bicycles for Humanity (B4H).

In late 2009, the door of the shipping container was sealed and 400 bikes were delivered to Namibia, a poor country on the southwest coast of the continent.

Back home in Saanich, the Willes contemplated a process that was not only time-consuming, but expensive – the shipping alone cost about $9,000.

“You never know if it does any good,” Chris said of letting others handle distribution on the other end.

Then last year he watched a documentary called Where on Earth is my Bike? It showed how villagers make use of bikes sent their way – “They use their bikes like pickup trucks” – and convinced him of the need to redouble his efforts.

“As soon as I saw (the video) I was in. It galvanized me to do another shipment,” Wille said.

So far nearly 100 more bikes and about a third of the money for shipping have been collected.

To give the project another boost, Bicycles for Humanity is collecting good used mountain bikes – no road bikes – bike parts and cash donations at the Mountain Equipment Co-op Bikefest this Sunday (May 22). The event goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Stevenson Park behind the Fernwood Community Centre on Gladstone Avenue.

The Willes are getting help from people around the Capital Region, including Central Saanich assistant Fire Chief John Robertson.

“We can put somebody on a bike in Africa for $25,” Robertson said. “We can change a life for $25. “Giving them a bike changes their life … It all of a sudden opens the door to education, to employment.”

Once the shipment arrives in Africa, representatives of B4H partner organization Bicycle Empowerment Network transform the metal box into a portable bike repair shop and teach locals how take the bikes apart and reassemble them as a way of creating jobs.

Having figured out a way to ship disassembled bikes to take up less space, the Victoria group’s goal is to ship 500 this time.

Wille is optimistic that the bikes are out there and encourages people to send them on to a good home.

“There’s tons of good used mountain bikes in people’s garages that aren’t being used,” he said.

For more information on Bicycles for Humanity, visit www.bicycles-for-humanity.org or call 250-479-7415.

editor@oakbaynews.com

 

Fundraiser movies

• Bicycles for Humanity’s Victoria chapter is hosting a movie night fundraiser June 1 at the Star Cinema in Sidney, 9842 Third St.

• The documentaries Hoima Bicycle and Where on Earth is my Bike? will show starting at 6:30 p.m.

• The 8:30 p.m. screening is of Hoima Bicycle and feature film Breaking Away.

• Admission is by donation

Just Posted

GardenWorks nursery in Oak Bay at its home until August. (Black Press Media file photo)
GardenWorks puts down new roots in Oak Bay this summer

Nursery shifts down The Avenue to fill former fitness studio space

O.K. Industries is building a quarry next to Capital Regional District land, as shown in this map from the rezoning applicaiton. (Photo courtesy District of Highlands)
Millstream Quarry wins again in court against Highlands community’s appeal

Judges rule province not obligated to investigate climate change before issuing permit

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Cheyenne, six, Savannah, three, and Jeremiah Sinclair, 8, were out on walk with their mother on June 4 when they discovered the first of several hundred fish that died after bleach leaked into Reay Creek. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Federal-provincial investigation ongoing into what appears to be a bleach spill

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Vancouver Island lottery players win $1 million and $500,000 in Lotto Max draw

$1 million ticket sold in Campbell River, $500,000 ticket sold in Nanaimo

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

Most Read