A new work space for Green Bikes at Resource Recovery Park!

We were delighted to open our fetching new Green Bikes shed and workshop on site at Resource Recovery Great Lakes today. Officially opened by our Executive Officer John Weate, and the local Greens candidate for the upcoming Federal Election Julie Lyford.

The new space, built from recycled materials, is the culmination of many people’s hard work. Coordinator Janusz Haschek even adorned the shed with a fantastic original artwork capturing our frog and bike symbols merged into a new local character.

Since it began in 2011, the Green Bikes program has restored hundreds of bikes, and its popularity at Resource Recovery continues to grow. Made up of volunteer mentors who love all things biking, the program teaches young people disengaging from the local school system how to restore and repair bikes through a structured program. The program aims to re-engage young people with hands-on learning, transfer valuable skills across demographics in the community, and to leave those who participate with skills they can carry with them for life. In addition, any local resident with a bike issue is encouraged to come and learn how to repair their trusty transporter. Green Bikes workshops also venture off site to local shopping centres to spread their bike love.

Green Bikes now repair around 200 bikes each year. Repaired bikes generate around $8000 in sales to reinvest in the program, as well as the broader work of Resource Recovery Great Lakes which creates training and employment opportunities for local people with barriers to work.

Coordinator Janusz Haschek and his team were proud of their new facilities and have built a valuable long term community program. Volunteer Bill Rowntree also made a heartfelt speech about the look on young people’s faces when their destitute bikes hit the asphalt again after repair.

Green Bikes has enjoyed a bunch of support from the NRMA (who have funded some of the tools), Great Lakes Council, Dave Hardy and the team at Resource Recovery Great Lakes, Krysten Banks who coordinates the Green Community Garden next-door and the Wallis Lakes Men’s Shed, also a friendly neighbour on site.

Green Bikes is social capital building at work!

What is the impact of a bike? Some global intrigue….

Such an everyday item is the humble bike, one of the more simple modes of transportation that can be easily overlooked for its profound impacts on our societies and shared environment.

A report from the World Bank estimates that there are already more than two billion bikes in use around the world, and by 2050 that number could be as high as five billion. The world produces on average 100 million bicycles per year, which is much higher than the number of cars (about 60 million).

All over the world you can find initiatives that seek to keep these wonderful contraptions out of scrap heaps and landfills, putting them instead to good use in helping those less fortunate literally move on with their lives, and having access to a wider world of opportunities. World Bicycle Relief (WBR) is one such initiative.

The WBR’s motto is: “Mobilizing People through the Power of Bicycles”, and since 2005 they have distributed more than 200,000 specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs across Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia, making a huge impact on their local economies, health systems and local environments in terms of air quality.

Riding a bike in general not only provides economic benefits, but shifting trips from cars to bicycles helps reduce congestion, air pollution and CO2 emissions as well as improving health more generally. The value of the contribution of cycle use in Europe has been estimated at between €143–155 billion annually.

Many initiatives have been set up around the world to help those less fortunate gain access to bikes. Bikes for Humanity (who operate near our Reviva Reuse Centre in Moss Vale) collect disused bikes and donate them to communities in need around Australia and overseas.

So on a local and global level you can see that bikes are good. You can’t really state it any simpler!

So go on, get on your bike!

Together we can wheelie make a difference.

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