I am just getting ready for my 9th annual Pedals for Progress collection. The staff is always tremendously supportive and it's a day I look forward to each year. I started when my children were young and saw this as a way that we could volunteer as a family and feel connected to a global community. We love the win-win of keeping bikes and sewing machines out of landfills here and having them go to developing countries where they change lives.
I volunteer at collections, helping to prepare bicycles for shipping. The collections always run smoothly and typically between 25 and 100 bikes are collected at each. Pedals for Progress provides those in the third world with transportation and opportunity while simultaneously keeping bicycles out of American landfills. Everyone who I have met from the organization has been extremely kind. They are passionately committed to what they are doing, and what they are doing is a great thing.
I met Dave, the President at a Peace Corps convention in 1999. I have run at least one collection per year, collected almost 1400 bikes, 40 sewing machines, and over $15000. My experience has always been positive, and I look forward to more successful collections.
Pedals for Progress is an ingenious organization that facilitates a symbiotic relationship to help everyone involved. Used bicycles (and sewing machines) that would otherwise take up space in landfills here in the U.S. are sent to developing nations. In these nations, locals are trained to repair and maintain the bikes, and actually set up bike shops to support the local economy. Bikes donated do need to be accompanied by a donation to offset shipping fees, but the whole donation is tax-deductible. In my experience as a collection coordinator, all of the members of the NJ based main office are extremely responsive and helpful. They get back to you right away with answers to any questions, and they provide you with all the materials, tools, and information needed to hold a successful collection. The most challenging thing is getting the word out at a county level. It is a lot of work to contact local news sources, etc. I would highly recommend volunteering for Pedals for Progress, donating to the organization, and even setting up your own collection if there is not one already in your area.
They got back to me pretty quickly and answered all my E-mails. The guy from the organization helped me plan the bike drive, and they provided fliers to advertise. They helped me out alot during the bike colection.
Pedals for Progress is a wonderful program that combines recycling/reusing old bicycles and sewing machines (promoting sustainability and preventing usuable bikes and sewing machines from ending up in landfills) with helping people in developing countries improve the quality of their lives (providing bicycles for transportation for work and school and sewing machines for starting small businesses). Our school community service program has collected bikes and sewing machines through bi-yearly collections where students actually help dismantle the bikes to ship abroad. The students then learn about the value of reusing servicable bikes and the importance of viable, affordable transportation for people in developing countries. Pedals for Progress is terrific!
Saves our landfills by collecting used bicycles, repairing them and sending them overseas. People in third world countries use them for sorely needed transportation. This is an outstanding organization that has helped tens of thousands of people around the world.
My organization, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Long Island, has partnered with Pedals for Progress for the last six years in a once a year bike collection. Pedals has always provided guidance in setting up and publicizing our collection. The trucks and personnel have always been on time, ready to help, and have made our experiences positive. Last year, we collected more bikes than the pedals truck could hold. We were concerned, since our staging area was our local library parking lot and the library needed the space for its patrons the next day. Our pedals rep. said that he would be back early the next morning with an empty truck - he was back by 8:30 on a Sunday morning, traveling from New Jersey to Massapequa Long Island at a very early hour to make sure the bikes were picked up. This year we have our collection scheduled for April 25th, and, as usual, we have all of our publicity in place, flyers supplied, and receipts here ready for the collection. That takes care of the nuts and bolts of my collecting experiences with pedals - as far as Pedals goals are concerned, I have lived in Africa and know just how important Pedals is - a bike can make the difference between holding a job, getting to school, getting to market - in other words, making an enormous difference in a family's life. Seeing old bikes put out at the curb for trash pick up always bothered me, when I knew what a difference this could make in less developed countries. When our organization heard about pedals through the Returned Peace Corps volunteer network( the founder is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer), we knew that this would be our spring project for many years to come.