Today Peace Corps Polyglot highlights the work of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer David Schweidenback and his innovative program that brings bikes to people who need them in the developing world.
Pedals for Progress takes bikes that would otherwise be discarded and ships them to developing countries where transportation on a bike often makes a huge difference in people’s lives. Because many people in developing nations have to walk everywhere, their access to services, resources, and jobs is significantly hindered. Simply owning a bike can provide people with the ability to get the things they need and work more effe ctively. Since 1991, P4P has rescued over 115,000 bikes shipped them to impoverished people in 32 countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
At Peace Corps’ 40th annivesary celebration at the JFK Library in Boston in 2001 I had a chance to meet Schweidenback. He was a really nice guy. His work was so impressive to me, because transportation makes such a huge difference in people’s lives.
A similar project that plays out at the local level here in Portland, OR, is the Community Cycling Center‘s Earn-a-Bike program, where donated bikes are refurbished, people with low-incomes apply to receive a bike, and recipients attend an orientation to bike commuting.