On ‘Cycle to Work Day’ (5 August) Kat has a look at a slightly different approach to a fab initiative.
Merlin Matthews was such a genius at fixing bikes when he was at university that he became known as ‘Mr Bike’, often sorting people’s broken bikes in exchange for beer. He was even approached at one point for advice on starting up a bike factory in Haiti, making him realise that many bikes which were thrown away could be fixed and recycled. Quite literally!
So he decided to collect old bikes in the UK and send them to Haiti. He linked up with the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy, International Bicycle Fund, and Bikes not Bombs in the USA, and decided that since US organisations were better able to help in Latin America, he would focus on supplying bicycles to Africa instead.
The charity he founded, Re-Cycle, has so far donated over 100,000 bikes. Many people in Africa have to trek for hours every day just to get drinking water, or walk many miles to get to school, or work! A bicycle can make such a difference to these, and many other day-to-day living conditions.
For information on how to donate, fundraise, or just more insight into this brilliant charity look no further than here. And in the meantime, happy cycling… even if it is to work!