Recycled bicycles bound for Namibian communities

Clr Markwart joins volunteers Bob Clark and Hans Radowitz at the Bikes for Change send-off.
Clr Markwart joins volunteers Bob Clark and Hans Radowitz at the Bikes for Change send-off.

The people of Namibia are set to receive more than 400 generous donations from Southern Highlands residents. 

A shipping container packed to the brim with bicycles, wheelchairs and walkers will be sent to Namibia shortly, to assist those in need. 

Formerly known as Bikes for Humanity, Bicycles for Change is a global volunteer group that aims to provide recycled bikes to overseas communities in need. 

The local branch works out of council’s Resource Recovery Centre (RRC).

Two volunteers, Hans Radowitz and Bob Clark, man the Moss Vale hub and have sent a total of five containers to Namibia since 2010. 

Mr Radowitz said more than 2000 bikes have been donated and restored over the years. 

“I reckon I’ve repaired just about every make and model bicycle out there,” he said.  

“But it’s the generosity of our shire’s residents that still surprises us.

“The volume of bikes that comes out of our Southern Highlands branch is among the highest in the country.”

Mr Radowitz said the majority of the bikes assisted people in important roles. 

“[Most of] the bikes are shipped to areas in southern Africa where they are used to assist health care and education workers cover distances which would normally be travelled by foot,” he said.

“Even the containers are beneficially re-used and converted into bicycle repair shops once they arrive at their destination.”

The launch of the latest container of bicycles coincides with a contribution of $1000 by council towards the cost of transporting the container overseas.

“Not only are the volunteers repairing bicycles that will ultimately help those less fortunate than us but they are also saving hundreds of bikes from being scrapped or crushed,” Coucillor Gordon Markwart said. 

“It’s a wonderful effort and one that Council is extremely proud to be involved with.”

Mr Radowitz said as soon as the latest container left the premises a new one would take its place.

It took a lot of work to fit the bikes into the shipping container.

It took a lot of work to fit the bikes into the shipping container.

“We’re not resting on our laurels and we already have plans in place to fill another Council sponsored container,” he said. 

“We accept all types of bikes but given the conditions they’ll be used in overseas, mountain bikes are the most sought after.”

Bicycles for Change hasn’t just helped people overseas, but also people in the Highlands community. 

“We’ve also donated bikes to places like women’s refuges and things like that,” Mr Radowitz said. 

“We’ve helped a lot of people in the Southern Highlands too.”

In addition to bicycles, collapsible wheelchairs, crutches and walkers are also accepted.

Bicycles and wheelchairs can be dropped off free-of-charge at the Resource Recovery Centre during normal business hours.

The cost of shipping the containers is quite high, and Mr Radowitz has asked any Highlanders in the transport industry who can lend a hand to get in touch. 

For more information visit bicyclesforchange.com or phone 4883 7262.

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