Mike's Bikes collecting bikes to send to Africa

June 24, 2011 8:07:49 PM PDT
Cyclists who have bikes, or even bike parts, they aren't using have a great chance this weekend to donate them to a very worthy cause.

Mike's Bikes has nine stores all over the Bay Area. Business is good; so good in fact, the company started a foundation to send used bicycles to Africa, where the need is huge.

"It's a place where most people will never own a private car," Mike's Bikes owner Ken Martin said.

Martin says a bike can make a big difference.

"It can add so much to their productivity, to their ability to get to school, to get to work, to bring goods to market," he said.

For the last four years Mike's Bikes has collected used bikes and parts to send to Africa.

"You know if you have something like this in your garage, that's fine, we can find all the parts to make that a complete bike and this thing will be perfect for somebody," Martin said.

The company packs hundreds of bikes into a single shipping container. They use every bit of space because it costs $10,000 to send to each one.

But now Mike's Bikes has a new partner ? the Pod moving and storage company.

Pod put containers at each Mike's Bikes parking lot to give the stores more room for donated bikes. The next shipment goes out next week, so there's a big push to get donations this weekend.

"We hope these containers are filled and overwhelmed with bikes by Monday," Pod spokesperson Jimmy Lyons said.

In Africa, the donated bikes are given to small stores. The foundation helps shop owners learn how to repair and maintain bikes, so the project creates jobs and provides a way for people to keep their bikes in good condition.

So far Mike's Bikes has sent more than 5,000 bikes.

"You can change a life in Africa and get some stuff out of your garage and get a tax deduction," Martin said.

Written and produced by Jennifer Olney

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