Mechanics from Rockville, USA to Accra, Africa. Online IRL means In Real Life, but this was more like IRT- In Real Time. Last month Executive Director Taylor Jones traveled to Ghana and Sierra Leone to visit our partners, both Village Bicycle Project. While he checked in on the programs, the mechanics, and the beneficiaries he was posting IRT to our social media sites. Meanwhile back in Rockville, the warehouse stayed busy with Todd and Yvette (and volunteers David and Greg) working with our student mechanics. It was incredibly exciting to share with our volunteers the photos Taylor was posting of the mechanics on the other end who would be receiving all the parts our volunteers were removing from our marginal bikes.
Over the past three years Bikes for the World has worked really hard at improving the experience our volunteers have while in our warehouse. That includes what they are doing, how they are doing it, and WHY it is important. We think we've been doing a pretty good job, but we aren't just saying that, we are letting the fact that these school groups are growing and returning at an incredible rate be the proof. So far this year we've hosted a dozen school sessions and even some adult group events as well. In April alone we have 15 groups lined up. In March our volunteers logged 874 hours!
Most of our student groups are always working in the shop. They might be stripping the spokes out of bent wheels or pulling bottom brackets out of bikes that no longer roll. It's pretty obvious to them that the bike or wheel they are working on is no longer usable, but they don't always realize the parts involved MAY still be good. And that's what we look to harvest. Or rather what THEY work to save. And while it's fun to learn new tools like a crank puller or spoke wrench it's often hard work to move some of those rusty parts and bolts.
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