It was back in late 2018 when Just Cycle first teamed up with Nigel from bikes to Africa. Nigel’s project provided an ideal solution for the charity, preventing donated bicycles deemed unfit for repair from ending up back in the recycling centre as scrap.
Nigel began shipping bikes to Africa back in 2010 – it was a much cheaper operation back then. The largest number of bikes ever sent in one year was 17 shipping containers (12,240 bikes). Unfortunately due to the huge increase in costs, 6 containers has been the most sent per year.
Nigel collects around 120 bicycles per load from the Just Cycle charity in the Borders. These bikes have been checked by Grant and the Workshop team and are deemed unfit or too uneconomical for repair.
Once they leave Tweedbank, the bikes are flat packed and stored in rented accommodation, waiting to be shipped on the next container. Each container costs £6000 and that’s before any bikes are loaded.
720 mixed bikes per load plus 1 ton of spares and up to 1000 tyres and tubes are packed into a container before being sent on its way.
Once the bicycles reach their destination, they are reassembled, serviced, and repaired before being sold through the charities shops or donated to individuals and other worthy causes. As happens at Just Cycle, bikes deemed not good enough for repair are stripped and used for spares.
There are 3 people who oversee the project in Africa, with up to another 10 working on repairing and servicing the bikes. Omar Lowe is in charge overall with Ibrahim and Mass running the shops.
Nigel now helps others to send bikes across Africa, including projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Burundi and Zimbabwe.
If you have a bike that you no longer require, Just Cycle are always grateful for your donations, and who knows – it may find a new home in Africa!