Pedals for Progress

Pedals for Progress celebrated ten years of its bicycle recycling program with a World Union, bringing together overseas partners and David Schweidenback´s energetic team. Since 1991 Pedals for Progress has shipped 41,281 bicycles around the world. It gathers used bicycles through community groups and ships them to their partners, who sell the bicycles and with the proceeds are able to pay the shipping costs to import more bicycles, as well as support activities and projects in their communities.

The World Union in Pennsylvania from September 5-7 drew together representatives of the principle overseas partners: a large Latin American contingent, representing Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Salvador, Ecuador and Panama, as well as partners from Barbados, Ghana, Namibia, and Senegal.

Pedales para el ProgresoThe World Union sought to link faces to the telephones voices and e-mail messages that Pedals for Progress has come to rely on to keep the movement vital and growing.

That was definitely accomplished!

The venue on the shores of the Delaware River provided an ideal setting for informal discussions as well as a welcoming environment for the local bicycle-gathering groups.

A lively panel discussion conducted in both Spanish and English focused on bicycles as a medium for micro-enterprise development. Wilfredo Santana of Nicaragua and Rodney Grant of Barbados, two of the most active partners, were able to share their vast experiences over the past decade.

Workshops sessions also encouraged exchange of experiences, and focused on customs clearances and shipping; prices, marketing and distribution policies; repair of bikes; and how to create a more effective publicity campaign.

Exhibitions revealed the impact of bicycles through hundreds of photos and publicity materials, providing local visitors with an insight into what goes on in the field. Everyone also became aware of the broad scope of the other activities carried out by the partners, from house construction, to Aids prevention, and cultural programs.

The Pinelands Creative Workshop in Barbados brought the bicycle partnerships into the cultural realm at the gala dinner when they joined the versatile musical group accompanying the evening. The fantastic drumming and elegant, expressive dancing from the Pinelands team simply injected the World Union with a stronger spirit.

Kurt and Kathryn Rhyner of Grupo Sofonias received the “Master Link” award for “Outstanding Creativity Building”. Sofonias and Pedals have been working together for many years connecting and pulling together partners in Latin America and Africa.

The local Rotary Club held a bicycle collection on the grounds of the Shawnee Inn, a great opportunity to see what happens at the supply end. Many of the overseas partners even pitched in to help load bicycles.

All left strengthened to go ahead with their efforts to place affordable transportation in the hands of the people.

VISION

Pedals for Progress envisions a day when:

  1. North America recycles over half of the five million used bicycles discarded each year, as well as unused parts and accessories for se overseas;
  2. Poor people in developing countries have bicycles to get to work, obtain services and meet other needs;
  3. The bicycle is an effective tool for self help in all developing countries
  4. Trade regulations enhance international commerce in bicycles and parts;
  5. Policy makers in developing countries respect and support non-motorized transportation.

MISSION

Contenedor de bicicletasOur objectives are:

  1. To enhance the productivity of low-income workers overseas where reliable, environmentally sound transportation is scarce, by supplying reconditioned bikes at low cost;
  2. To promote in recipient communities the establishment of self-sustaining bicycle repair facilities, employing local people;
  3. To provide leadership and innovation throughout North America for the recycling of bicycles, parts, and accessories;
  4. To reduce dramatically the volume of bicycles, parts, and accessories flowing to landfills;
  5. To foster environmentally sound transportation policies that encourage widespread use of bicycles worldwide;
  6. To foster in the North American public an understanding of and a channel for responding to the transportation needs of the poor in developing countries.
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Consultants

Orlando Espinosa
Cuban
Civil Engineer
Spanish, Russian, some English.
Equipment development, MCR workshop installation, operative project implementation

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