Wheelie good charity bike drop


Charity Re-Cycle collect second hand bicycles for Ghanaian villagers.


By Melanie Kramers

Bales of hay, gingham bunting and the enticing aroma of grilled burgers transformed an industrial depot on Waterside Way into a lively country fete on Saturday.

Almost 500 people joined the party organised by Wimbledon-based organic food delivery company, Abel & Cole, to help charity Re-Cycle collect second hand bikes for rural Africans.

Next month the bikes will be shipped to Ghana to give villagers in remote areas with no public transport an invaluable means of getting around.

Merlin Matthews from Re-Cycle said: “For many people, a bicycle can be a first step out of poverty and towards a better life.”

The bikes will save women a four-hour daily walk to fetch food and water and help children make the long journey to school without arriving too tired to study.

Mr Matthews said he was very pleased so many Wimbledon residents had come to drop off unwanted bikes.

“We have already met our target of 650 bikes but we won’t stop collecting till the container leaves next month,” he added.

“People can donate bikes in any state, even with flat tyres and missing saddles – if they’re not fit to ride we will strip the spare parts so they can be used for repairs.”

Hundreds of bikes were stacked up in the car park, with handwritten messages from their donors to the new recipients attached.  

Inside the cavernous warehouse live music played out through a pedal-powered sound system while people enjoyed an organic beer and helped themselves to early autumn British apples.

Emma Healey, from Abel & Cole’s marketing and events team, said she hoped the day taught people the value of recycling.

“To someone getting rid of an old bike it’s rubbish, but to someone in Ghana it could change their life.”

She added. “It’s just amazing how everyone has made such an effort to come down with their bikes today.”

And she said the pedal-powered smoothie maker had been particularly popular. “We wanted to show people fun ways to use up fresh fruit and veg so that nothing gets wasted.”

Wimbledon resident Ellen, who donated a bike, said: “This mountain bike has just been rusting in the shed since my daughter left home. I’m glad that it’s going to such a good cause.”

Re-Cycle are looking for volunteers to help dismantle bikes and load the Ghana-bound container on Saturday 13 November. Contact [email protected] for more information.


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