Greenbelt Baha’i Collects for Bikes for the World
Every year the Baha’i Community of Greenbelt sponsors a bike donation event by the Municipal Building for Bikes for the World, a Washington based organization which collects unwanted bicycles and delivers them to people who need them in developing countries.
As Joyce Yang (right) holds the handlebar, Ruby Branyan (age 10) unscrews the stem bolt so that the handlebar can be turned sideways for easier transport.
Once the handlebar is parallel to the frame, the stem bolt is re-tightened by Jing-Shyang Robert Yang, Joyce’s father. Yang is a member of the Baha’i Community of Greenbelt.
With Joy Allchin’s help, Robert Yang unscrews a pedal using a pedal wrench. As with the handlebar, this is for easier transport. The pedals are then tied to the crossbar using a plastic zip tie.
Jim Fischer lays down one processed bike. Fischer is the secretary of Greenbelt Baha’i’s nine-member assembly. He tells me that local Baha’i members meet at private homes every nineteen days for prayers and on holy days (there are nine of them each year). The Greenbelt Baha’i Community also sponsors a Labor Day Festival booth where people can make buttons.
Abdul Aziz (right) of Brookeville, Maryland, just north of Olney, drops off a number of bikes from his farm, and George Branyan helps him to unload them.
Abdul Aziz carries a bike off his trailer.
The group also accepts “most bicycle spare parts and components (e.g., tubes, tires, chains, cables, and mountain bike handlebars, but not “drop” handlebars), accessories (e.g., pumps, locks, helmets, gloves), bicycle books and manuals, and bicycle tools (including wrenches, screwdrivers, and hammers).”
Roya Bauman (right) of the Baha’i Community of Greenbelt accepts a check from Lynn Eppard. “A $10 per bike donation is suggested to defray the cost of shipping to overseas charity partners, which recondition the bicycles and distribute them to people who need them to get to work, school and health services.” Bauman tells me that today some people who did not donate bikes also gave donations. She then writes a receipt with the estimated value of the donation for tax deduction use. Lynn Eppard is the layout person for the Greenbelt News Review.
Robert Yang and Alex Fischer (Jim Fischer’s son) work together to turn the handlebar of a donated bike. This often is not an easy task for many of the older bikes, and WD-40 spray is used to provide lubrication.
An additional task is to lower each seat to minimum extension, again for easier transport.
With the help of Robert Yang, George Branyan uses a pedal wrench to unscrew a pedal. Branyan is the chair of the city’s Advisory Planning Board and works as a pedestrian and bicycle transportation planner for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation. His wife Roya Bauman is the manager of today’s collection.
A gentleman drives up and says that he has a large bike at home that he cannot carry in his car. Jim Fischer volunteers to drive his minivan to pick it up. Here Bauman hands the donor a receipt.
Joyce Yang turns a handlebar. As with the seat, the handlebar should also be lowered.
Roya Bauman hands Lore Rosenthal a brochure for Bikes for the World. In the background is a children’s bike that Rosenthal won from Target at a neighborhood watch event.
Joyce Yang (right) takes the training wheels off the brand-new Magna Damage bike that Lore Rosenthal has just donated. On the left is Keith Oberg, founder and director of Bikes for the World.
Joyce Yang works to turn the Magna Damage bike’s handlebar.
Jim Fischer unloads the bicycle that he picked up from his minivan. It was used long ago for commuting from Old Greenbelt to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
It comes with baskets (which need to be removed) and an old fashioned friction generator to power the head light.
Long ago, bikes in Greenbelt had to be registered.
As George Branyan works on this bike, Robert Yang takes a photo.
A man donates a bike and two replacement tires.
Terri Rutledge drives by in her convertible and tells Roya Bauman that she has a bike which she cannot carry at home. Again Jim Fischer drives over in his minivan to pick it up.
George Branyan works on a bike that someone left him the day before returning to China.
Robert Yang and George Branyan work on a Vertical 21-speed bike.
Jeff Travis (left) and George Branyan are both members of Route 1 Velo bike racing club. They tell me that the club organizes a series of bike races on Wednesday nights in Greenbelt Park.
Donated bikes are processed and ready to be picked up.
Keith Oberg, founder and director of Bikes for the World, loads one bike into the truck. Bikes for the World was founded in 2005 and is based in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. More than
20,000 63,000 bicycles have been donated through the organization mostly to Central America, Africa, and the Philippines. He tells me that the bikes are given to people who need to use them to get to work, school and jobs. In many countries, he says, when girls are ready to move on from local elementary schools to regional high schools, there is pressure to drop out, and these bikes can keep kids from dropping out of school.
Oberg will drive this truck load of bikes to Lorton, Virginia where the group’s storage facility is. The bikes are then packed into 40-foot shipping containers and trucked to Baltimore. From there, this particular shipment will go to Kenya via South Africa. He estimates that they should arrive in Kenya in August.
44 bikes are collected this morning by the Baha’i Community of Greenbelt. Bauman tells me that this is the third year that the Baha’i Community has collected bikes at the Municipal Building; before that she did it at her home. Last year they collected 41 bikes, and the year before 60. The first year they did it at her house, 130 bikes were donated. For the Baha’i Community, this is an annual event. For those who cannot donate today, Bauman suggests going to Bikes for the World’s website to see whether there are collections nearby. For those interested to see where the bikes end up, there is a story in the Washington Post from last July.