During a recent conversation concerning finding the “one true bike,” aka the quiver killer (a bike that takes the place of all the niche bicycles you may have sitting around your home), it was reintroduced to my attention that there are many people out there in the world who really NEED a bike and do not have the means to acquire one. That turn in conversation brought back memories of a time when I was Dirt (Poor) Cyclist. Carless and in need of transportation, I built up a cheap track bike from an old beater 80’s Peugeot ten speed. It got me to work, to get groceries, and around the amazing trail system in my then-home-city. Incredible memories were made and some truly great people were met thanks to that old beater bike.
The unfortunate reality is that there will always be people in need who can’t get a bike to ride. Be it for commuting, getting to appointments or the store, or just enjoying the few free moments we get in life to take in the outdoors. People need transportation, public transport is often a big failure (it is here in my city), cabs and ride share are expensive, and the costs of vehicle ownership are prohibitive at best for those who are mired in the ever-expanding pool of poverty. Beyond the aspect of pure transportation/utility, riding a bike helps with one’s health, both physical and mental. Bikes can help bring together communities. Bikes can make things better, ergo you can make lives better by helping get people on a bike.
How can you help? Here is a non-comprehensive list of things you can do to bring someone joy by bike:
- Join an advocacy group like People For Bikes
- Donate to a charity that provides bicycles to communities in need across the world like Wheels 4 Life or Qhubeka
- Donate bikes, parts, related equipment, or your time to a local bike collective
- Start your own bicycle collective
- Let a friend borrow an unused bike
- Volunteer for a bike-based community outreach program like the Washington D.C. based Gearin Up Bicycles or Urban Bicycle Food Ministry in Des Moines, IA (and also Dubuque, IA, Nashville, TN & Memphis, TN)
I encourage you to do some internet sleuthing for yourself to find what is being done in your local area and joining in or starting something new. A little effort on your part could change someone else’s life exponentially.