If I could be a bell ringer for a charity, it would be for one of these organizations. The best part about them is that you don’t have to give money to some of them – you can donate an old bike that’s sitting in the garage unused (put all those spare parts together on an old frame), or donate your time and cycling expertise. Think about it this way: One more bike out there or one more child learning the joys of mountain biking…is good for cycling overall. Spread the love, check these organizations out, and give the gift of cycling:
- Trips For Kids – With over 70 chapters in the US, this organization teaches kids mountain biking skills and takes them out to local trails to practice their skills. Each chapter is independently funded, so click on the link to find your local chapter and contact them to see what they need: bikes, money, or volunteers.
- 88Bikes – This organization selects participants like orphanages or schools where there will be accountability for the bikes, trains the new bike owners in bike safety and maintenance, and even purchases the bikes within the participant’s local region – infusing the donated money into the local economy, bonus! Even better? 100% of your donated money gets used for purchasing a bike.
- World Bicycle Relief – Started by SRAM in 2005 to provide transportation to thousands of people after the Indian Ocean Tsunami in Sri Lanka. World Bicycle Relief now works predominantly in Africa to give people bicycles, improve access to bicycle parts for upkeep and repair of donated bikes, and trains mechanics who can then earn a livelihood. The bikes, in turn, transform a community whose people can now travel to school work or medical care, carry more water and supplies, and increase their productivity five-fold. $134 donated buys one bike – and now through December 31st all money donated will be matched one for one!
But wait, there’s more, click through…
- Bikes Belong – Bikes Belong works with fed/state/local governments to support bike friendly policies and programs. They also have a grant program that helps to finance places for us to ride like trails, paths, and pump tracks. Their mission is “to put more people on bikes more often” and that’s a good thing!
- The League of American Bicyclists – The League is basically our lobbyist in Washington – they stay on top of cycling issues and advocate as a collective voice for cyclists. They do big picture planning for cycling infrastructure in the US as well as promote bicycle education and safety. They sponsor National Bike Month (Bike To Work day) and the Bicycle Friendly State/Community/Business program, which encourages communities to provide safe cycling routes. Check their website for current issues and sign up for their newsletter to keep informed of the issues that affect you.
- IMBA – From their website: “IMBA pursues its mission by building public awareness of mountain bike issues, influencing policy development, advancing trail building practices and fostering chapter and club development.” You may already be a member but you can donate something extra if you’d like to help fund their growth and special projects. At least sign up to receive their news and alerts to issues that may effect where you ride.
- Wheels 4 Life – This organization, started by Hans Rey, provides bikes for people in developing countries to get to school and work. They also work closely with health care workers to provide them transportation to visit the communities they serve. They are offering gift certificates for the holidays for you to give as gifts when you make a donation in honor of your loved ones.
- Don’t forget about your local bike club! If you want to see your donations pay off immediately, join your local bike club and lend a hand on trail building days. The only thing better than being out riding on a beautiful day is helping to build the trials you ride!