Impact of One Bike
Last spring we followed the path of one bicycle from a collection point in DC to its new home in Costa Rica. This is the story of how that black Cannondale made an impact from H Street NW to El Roble de Alajuela.
Its journey begins with its World Bank family who used the bike for recreation before donating it at a collection held last June. We can't pinpoint the exact time the bike arrived at the World Bank collection, but it was one of 58 bikes collected that day. The significance of that collection is two fold. First, it was the first collection held at the World Bank after a two year pandemic hiatus. So there was a lot of excitement over the event which brought another level of normalcy back to World Bank and Bikes for the World.
But the excitement certainly didn't end there. One of those 58 bikes collected in June, perhaps even that black Cannondale, was the 1,000th bike collected by the World Bank/IMF for Bikes for the World. Our esteemed 1k Club includes all local collection partners who have exceeded donating 1,000 or more bikes to our program, and the World Bank/IMF became our 12th partner to meet that mile marker.
The Cannondale didn't spend much time at our World Headquarters, AKA the Rockville warehouse, only two days to be exact. It was then packed into a container along with 497 other bicycles and 10 sewing machines and headed to the Central Valley of Costa Rica to our partner MiBici.
Once the container arrived several weeks later, it was unpacked by ten different communities who divided up the contents evenly and took their share back to their co-ops. The head mechanics in charge of the programs for the co-ops are responsible for repairing the bikes and selling them at a low cost within the community. The profits from the sales are rolled into a micro-finance program that assists co-op members with loans to finance many different economic ventures within the community.
The Cannondale went to El Roble de Alajuela where Erick Lizano heads the local MiBici project. Erick works on the project with his wife Lillian and their two sons. Fabian and Caleb are both students in high school where they participate in various sports. Fabian competes on the Special Olympics swim team where he crushes the competition. The extra money they make through the bike project helps support the family activities.
Erick became involved with MiBici to help his brother Alberto with transportation. Alberto was in charge of his co-op's bike project along the south coast and because Erick made a living transporting warehouse merchandise he was pulled in to help transport bikes.
For two years the brothers worked together, sometimes sharing bike shipments between their two homes. Two years ago Alberto passed away after a serious illness. As a way to keep his memory alive, his brother Erick decided to continue on with the bike project. Because Erick owns his own truck for work, he has more flexibility to repair and sell bikes.
Erick reports that the Cannondale from the World Bank was one of the first bikes he sold from that shipment this summer. When Antonio Murillo heard a new shipment of bikes had arrived through MiBici he was quick to respond. He had been looking for an affordable mountain bike to get back into cycling after a long break. He hadn't been able to find anything affordable which was also a decent quality, until he found this Cannondale. Now he is enjoying the health benefits through riding, like the previous owners in DC.
And Erick's community is benefiting from the capital raised through the sale. The additional proceeds from Erick's share of bikes from our donated container are folded into community funds that members use for loans for various work related projects.