Saying Goodbye to a Giant
In 2021 we said goodbye to an old trustworthy friend who has been with through so many fairs, events, and training sessions we completely lost count.This blue MTX Giant mountain bike was donated to us when the previous owner outgrew the frame. He went on to college and graduated and we still had the bike in our warehouse!
This 'display' bike traveled with us to many Earth Day events, served as a recruiting tool for volunteers, and grabbed the attention of donors at Giving Fairs for many years. Back when our Outreach Coordinator made school visits and introduced students to Bikes for the World, this blue bike helped explain what happens at collections and gave students the opportunity to try taking pedals off a bike for the very first time.
During 2020 those school events ceased and our in person events were all canceled. Meanwhile, this bike sat idle and lonely. When 2021 brought a repeat of 2020, and bikes became even more critical, we made the decision to move this bike on to its next journey. When we loaded the container heading to the Philippines, we wrapped a Bikes for the World t-shirt around the frame, said our goodbyes, and wished it well.
Bikes for the Philippines (BfP) is a popular project among our school partners at home since their mission is to provide bikes for students to stay in school and graduate. Again, the pandemic of 2020-2021-2022 had something to say about that. When the lockdowns and quarantines hit the Philippines in the spring of 2020, students were no longer commuting and BfP was struggling to gain access to their warehouse.
Meanwhile, essential workers were still reporting to work even as public transportation was severely limited or not running at all. Filipinos throughout the country stepped up and participated in a bike lending/donating effort to get bikes to frontline workers to help them commute to work amid the pandemic. More and more workers were forced to turn to bikes as a solution to transportation shortfalls.
Bikes for the Philippines shifted gears and began helping with this effort. The diverted and distributed bikes they had in storage. They started with healthcare workers, moved on to all essential workers, including security guards and food industry workers who were not able to work from home. Eventually they moved on to teachers who were then starting to commute to students' homes as the pandemic lagged on.
Bikes for the Philippines also worked to ensure that new cyclists were safe on the roads by providing basic maintenance classes, teaching safe riding practices, and providing helmets. As they noticed more sketchy bikes on the roads, they devised a plan to trade out these dangerous bikes with bikes arriving in our latest container that arrived in October 2021. Our blue Giant mountain bike, was included in that shipment.
When Melissa (above right photo) rode her old bike through a BfP checkpoint, she was identified for the trade-in program. Her old bike had broken parts and the frame was not a good fit for her, making it dangerous for her to ride. She received the Giant that spent so many hours training our young volunteers. Melissa now uses our 'famed' bike for the 30 minute commute to work. She is much more confident on the road and has even knocked a few minutes off her ride. The bike is thrilled to be back in rotation!
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