April 7, 2003: Headlines: Service: Bicycles: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Pedals for Progress distributes 62,016 bicycles

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Service: April 7, 2003: Headlines: Service: Bicycles: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Pedals for Progress distributes 62,016 bicycles

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-13-244.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 12:02 am: Edit Post

Pedals for Progress distributes 62,016 bicycles

Pedals for Progress distributes 62,016 bicycles

Peddling a worthy cause

Group collecting used bicycles to send to people in struggling countries



Last Updated: April 6, 2003

Here's something to ponder during your annual spring cleaning: That Schwinn propped up against the snowblower - the one you vowed to ride every day - could change someone's life.

It could help a farmer in El Salvador carry his produce to market, a mother in Guatemala find food for her children or a boy in Fiji attend school.

In her time in Senegal as a Peace Corps volunteer in the early 1980s, Allegra Troiano saw how important a bicycle could be to the world's poor and put that lesson to use this year in organizing the first Pedals for Progress drive in the Milwaukee area.

Along with 20 other former Peace Corps volunteers, Troiano will be collecting used bicycles Thursday through Sunday at the Wheel & Sprocket Bike Expo at State Fair Park in West Allis.

The donated bikes will be shipped to the Pedals for Progress warehouse in High Bridge, N.J., refurbished and distributed to residents in developing countries in Latin America, Africa and the Pacific Islands.

Dave Schweidenback, another former Peace Corps volunteer, started Pedals for Progress 12 years ago, based on the conviction that a bike could change someone's life.

Schweidenback initially scavenged used bikes, then began an organized collection program about six years ago. Pedals for Progress has distributed 62,016 bicycles.

AnneMarie Rolls, an official with the group, said collections have increased roughly 10% each year, but the group has focused its efforts primarily in the Atlantic states because of transportation costs from other U.S. locations to New Jersey.

The collection here will be one of the group's most far-flung efforts, made possible by free shipping by Federal Express.

"It's a huge deal," Rolls said. "It's a whole new territory for us."

Troiano, who lives in Milwaukee, hopes to collect 200 to 300 bicycles. Rolls said 150 would be a success.

Chris Kegel, owner of Wheel & Sprocket, said he looked forward to getting back some of the thousands of bicycles sold at the expo. It's one of the largest bicycle retail events in the nation and puts roughly 2,000 new bikes on the street every year.

"The idea of getting bikes out of people's garages and basements and finding a good home for them has been something our customers talked to us about for years," Kegel said. "They can get that old bike out of the garage and treat themselves to something neat."

Not all of the clunkers and junkers in the basements and garages will be suitable for the Pedals for Progress effort. Rolls and Kegel said the bikes should be functional, with limited or no rust and reasonable quality.

"We primarily want a bike that people can use," Kegel said. "It doesn't have to be perfect, and we can do the minor stuff necessary, but we're just not looking for a 20-year-old Huffy."

Troiano and her fellow volunteers will be collecting bikes at the expo from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Donors are also asked to contribute $10 to help defray the overseas shipping costs and any repair work. The $10 contribution and the value of the donated bicycle are tax-deductible.

A version of this story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on April 7, 2003.

When this story was posted in October 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Service; Bicycles



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