Friday, March 13, 2009

Looking for ideas

Spring is the main time chapters chapters collect and ship containers of bicycles to Africa. Chapters everywhere are doing an incredible job raising the monies, bikes always seem to come out of the woodwork, but this year it is getting harder to find partners To match our chapters with in country shipping funds. Once the container reaches a port in Africa, it is then hauled by truck to it's final destination. These costs can sometimes equal the cost of getting the container to Africa from North America.

As the Bicycles for Humanity movement grows, this problem will grow unless we find a creative way to solve in country shipping and support in Africa. We are looking at many models and ideas and if anyone has an idea, we are all ears, please let me know.



Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Bicycles for Humanity is a movement that empowers many in Africa with the simple gift of mobility. I am also a huge Steve Jobs and Apple fan and have been for over 25 years and will always be. I faithfully read every day, every word written about Steve Jobs and Apple and I always will. Like everyone, I pray that Steve has a quick recovery and and is with us for a long time to come.

I'm writing to share with you how Steve has impacted Bicycles for Humanity and how we believe that Apple and it's team have learned the same lesson. On our home page, you will see a link to the speech Steve made at Stanford. Do what you love, stay hungry, stay foolish and don't get bogged by dogma and other people's dreams.

Bicycles for Humanity, has no organization, it has no budget, is not a registered non profit and it simply keeps growing globally and it always will. Our movement like the team in Apple are unlocked, enthusiastic, energized and all are moving towards the lofty goals or aspirations that Steve has set. Apple is not one Steve jobs, but hundreds and hundreds of Steve Jobs, all with their own unique style, skill set and passions and all simply believe in what is possible.

All to often, we think it is one individual, one leader who has it all, who can move mountains and if that person is not at the help, it's over, the end is near and they will never attain the greatness again. To understand Steve and Apple, one only has to read, listen to or watch his speech from Stanford, one cannot connect the dots looking forward only backwards. As a small voice, not even in the tech space, but in the simple space of helping others through the gift of mobility a bicycle can bring, I have had that rare chance to watch what Steve believes so passionately.

Steve gave us the answer at Stanford, I have read it a hundred times and I suggest that everyone who talks about Apple, Steve and the team at Apple read this simple yet powerful speech. Apple has made the transition from an old school company driven by a few to a new age company driven by thousands who like i simply believe that what Steve stands for is something we should all aspire to and our organizations if we are lucky enough.

I wish Steve all the best, today , tomorrow and forever. Apple is so much more than Steve, it's a thousand Steve's all with their own special skills and style, but the core belief is in everyone. Bicycles for Humanity is just a movement, it is simply a global group that believe and aspire to be the best we can be and we do it because we love it. If it was not for Steve Jobs Stanford speech and what he believes, we would never have seen the light. if we see it and we are just sending bicycles to Africa, how many others see it, inside Apple, my guess is thousands and thousands and if we thought Apple was ahead of the pack now, I can't wait to see what happens next.

Steve, thank you for being you, you inspire millions of us and we wish you and your family all the best.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

From all within the Bicycles for Humanity Movement, Thank You

In life, it is so rare to be able to see an idea take root, grow and flourish that helps literally thousands and thousands of people every day. To all who have supported Bicycles for Humanity and the people of Namibia with the gift of mobility, everyone within the B4H movement thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Bicycle Empowerment Centres, BEC's are now in place across much of Namibia with many more being added this year. In total over 12 containers of bicycles were delivered in 2008 and in 2009 our hope is that this number will double. In addition to Namibia our dream is to build a Bicycle Empowerment Network in Uganda and from there to other countries in desperate need of mobility.

Bicycles for Humanity is an entrepreneurial, grassroots driven model with accountability and humanity as the foundation. It is not a non profit, it has no staff or overhead of any kind and it never ever will, yet it just keeps growing. It is simply an efficient model of caring, entrepreneurial minded people here and in Africa working together. In today's connected Web 2.0 world, individuals and communities can come together globally to work as a team to help solve the problems caused by a lack of mobility.

What Inspires You is simply what Bicycles for Humanity is about and inspiration in action, inspires others. A donated bicycle or helmet, a volunteer helping load a container, teaching students about the need for mobility in Africa, sharing stories with others to help others , visiting BEC programs in Namibia or just dreaming of what is possible all contribute to the movement and to helping those in need tell their story.

We encourage you to visit our site, , we encourage you to tell others of the movement here and in Africa and if you know groups in Africa in need of the gift of mobility, we encourage you to start a Bicycles for Humanity Chapter and support those communities.

We have one focus, mobility through the use of a bike.
We have one objective, to help the people of Africa help themselves.
We believe that all of us working together can make a difference.

From all within the global Bicycles for Humanity Movement, we thank you.

Humanity Rocks

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Where do we go from here

3 years ago when we sent our first container of bikes to Namibia, Michael and I had no idea what would happen or where it would go. Since then, many groups or chapters have organized and together with BEN, Bicycles Empowerment Network have helped many communities in Namibia with the gift of mobility and the hope for a better life.

Bicycles for Humanity, in a short time has become a global movement with chapters everywhere supporting the incredible efforts of Michael and his team in Namibia. Mobility is a problem that impacts all in Africa and in many countries globally. Being a part of this program initially was exciting and but recently, it has become haunting. The past year,I have been receiving emails from many groups in Africa wanting access to bicycles and to become a part of Bicycles for Humanity. My response to all was the same, sorry, not at this time, we are only focusing on Namibia, you have to go without, we cannot help you, and the response back was always the same, thank you, please do not forget us, hopefully in the future you can help us.

At first, I accepted this, I was the one who wrote the emails and the more I said no, the more miserable I became and the more I distanced myself from Bicycles for Humanity. Then, I remembered we are a movement and all can do whatever they want and it got me to thinking. If we could make it work in Namibia, than why not develop a template that will allow many in different countries to help themselves. We had created a template that did work and we could keep it going, while reinventing ourselves to help many more in other countries.

As a movement, we have strong teams in place to support Namibia and with all we have done, It is simply time to build a model that hopefully others globally can help themselves with help from Bicycles for Humanity. I have struggled with what to do and have decided that building a template to help all who need access to mobility is something that is needed.
Humanity Rocks


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Update October 16

Just a quick update on some of the things going on within B4H. The last few months, I have been observing and watching and not pushing anyone. B4H is a movement and as such it needs to find it's own path and direction in life. What I learned in the few months away, is that there is an incredibly talented and enthusiastic team of people everywhere and so much good going on that it is simply, mind blowing and so wonderful.

Bicycles for Humanity direction.

Steve Klassen in Thunderbay , has been moving towards us organizing a board to give B4H direction and to begin to address, what is important to all. Steve will be asking for anyone who wants to be a part of this new steering committee. So far, Steve, Steve Jennings, Michael Linke and I have come forward to volunteer, but it is open to all. Please contact Steve Klassen if you are interested.


I learned a lot about teamwork here and how important it is to be a team player. I pushed us entering Uganda and and it was wrong and the plug has been pulled on trying to move B4h to Uganda this year. In the future, if all agree, we may enter other countries, but for now we are supporting Namibia where there is so much to do and where Michael and his team have done an incredible job. It is the skill set Michael and his team that will help us find a direction on where to expand in Africa, and that will come in time, but for this year and next, we are supporting Namibia and we will let the new steering committee decide where to go next.

At the chapter level, there is so much going on, hope I don't miss anything. I'll start from current and work backwards.


Seb and the team have just completed a container and Seb, Sandra and their husbands are off to Namibia. Last week the CBC interviewed Seb and Sandra and Seb just told me, the CBC team from Sough Africa is coming up to do a special on B4H and the work of Michael and BEN.


Josh and the team from Colorado just returned from Namibia. Got a brief update from Michael, sounds like it was a terrific trip, Josh, keen to see pictures and to hear more about the trip.


Al called last night and asked if I could come to a fundraising dinner in Saskatoon on the 26th of this month. I would have loved to, but I'm in the Utah, on a bit of a holiday. I will participate by phone, but what the team there has done, well, mind blowing and it shows the power of B4H in a community. it looks like they have 2 containers ready to go and their special evening, dinner, bring a bike has sold over 500 tickets. Al, Cliff, Dee, Dee, can't wait to get to Saskatoon and meet everyone.


The container that left in the spring is now in Tsumeb, Kelly, when you get pictures, please update the site.


Guelph is getting close, down to raising a few more dollars and it is ready to go.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The takes us to whole new worlds

Many organizations especially Registered Non Profits have a centralized structure of management and control, I think this is primarily due to the fact they have stringent reporting procedures related to tax receipting and accountability back to government. These model tends to keep process and control central and creativity on the edge or out all together. Bicycles for Humanity, is not an NGO, Non Government Organization, it works closely with NGO's for tax receipting , but it is a movement , a collective group scattered across the globe who simply believe that a bicycle can make a difference. There is really no infrastructure or management in the middle, only a website and a group of caring volunteers, the odd email from me and a lot of minds thinking about where this is going. As such, we are light, free and there is a totally creative flow from all in the movement and not from just the top. As a movement the incredible people who step forward and join the B4H family are free to take it in whatever direction they feel makes sense to tell the story, build their teams and raise the funds needed. B4H gives all a portal to share knowledge, tell that story and help partner communities here with communities in Africa. It might sound simply, it might look like we are disorganized, but the effect on Humanity and the value created for helping others, all I can say is wow, wow, wow, the creative energy and incredible talent that is unleashed for the betterment of all is simply mind blowing.

Last week, I received an email from Matt in Australia who is establishing a B4H chapter there. To tell the story, he had his 5 year old daughter draw images of what she thought we did and he then animated it so that it could be uploaded to YouTube and other video sites, to be able to be passed around or move virally as they say in the Web 2.0 world. In all my years in business and in being a part of B4H, I have never seen anything that more clearly tells the story of what we do and why we do it. It blew me away as it has many who have seen it. It's a bit large to sent to a large group, but it is available on our website, top right under Updates, Animation by a 5 year old.

Sometimes the task of telling the story seems hard, we a all wonder if anyone gets what we do, or why we do it or if any one cares at all. Then a 5 year old tells the story through her eyes and wow, wow, wow. If we were a centralized NGO in Canada this story would never have been told, but as a movement the energy flow to Australia touched Matt and his daughter, giving us the best visual yet of what we collectively all are doing in the B4H family globally.

Hope you enjoy the animation,

Humanity Rocks


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Through the eyes of a 5 year old

As a movement one never knows what will happen next and what people do, simply blows me away. I think that not knowing is the most fun of all and opening email every day is a special treat. yesterday, I received an email from Matt in Australia. his daughter had drawn some pictures of what we do and he developed them into an animation. That animation is available under updates, have a look, it is simply outstanding. We sometimes make it very difficult to explain to others what we do and how it works and the benefits of a program. Simple is better and this animation says it all.