Bikes Without Borders
We might be taking our bikes for granted. Have you ever thought that a bike could be a school bus, an ambulance, or a taxi? That it could save a life, provide an education, and put food on someone’s plate?
Bikes without Borders (BWB) is a visionary organization run out of Toronto, headed by a GreenHero named Mike Brcic, who had his own personal epiphany while in the hills of Ecuador. There, he met a young girl who travelled two hours to get to school every day – each way.
Mike has since travelled around the world, to dozens of countries, and the story is always the same; children make treks like these every day to get an education. Inspired by their stories, Mike began collecting used bikes to form a small shipment for the girl’s community in Ecuador. The life changing stories after his bike delivery were enough motivation for Mike to form BWB, and expand their services globally.
BWB uses bikes as a tool for development – to help children get to school, to bring medical care out to rural villages, and to enable people to travel to urban centers to earn livelihood. But BWB is doing something else, right here at home; their work is demonstrating just how far a bicycle can take us, making us re-think our dependence on cars and automobiles. BWB shares our vision of a world in which every person has a bike. According to their website:
“In our future our governments give us a bicycle by law. In our future a bicycle is built for every age and every disability and everyone knows how to grease a chain and change a tire the way we know how to tie our shoes. In our future bicycles take you to work, courier cargo and carry your groceries… and BWB no longer exists.”
BWB currently runs three incredible programs: 1. Pedal Powered Hope, which ensures that healthcare workers and education workers have ways to access rural communities 2. BikePlanet, which aims to design and develop affordable bikes, and 3. PedalPower Program, our personal favourite, which is a spin-off of an organization Mike discovered in Guatemala, called MayaPedal.
The project collects used bikes and from them builds bike-powered machines, such as water pumps, washing machines, and blenders. Sounds a little bit like some other projects we’ve seen, putting the pedal to the medal for power.
Remember – in the battle to save the planet, exercising your pedal power is key. Enter our contest to nominate a bike riding hero, highlighting the challenges they face and how they overcome them. Let us know about your ride to work, how you envision a better biking future, or your efforts as a bicycle innovator, using bike-powered solutions to change the planet. Contest details, prizing, and more information can be found here.
GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!