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.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

That Special Feeling

It's been 2 weeks since I last wrote anything on our blog, but a lot has happened in that time. Colorado sent their first container to Namibia The grade 5 class of Scott Slater, last week collected a container of bikes, loaded them and with the help of Norco delivered an incredible amount of spare parts to Namibia in addition to bikes. This week, Kelowna and whistler will load containers. It's funny, but for me every day is an adventure and I would not trade one minute of the journey for anything. I am simply blown away by the spirit and energy of hundreds within the B4H family and every day, I'm inspired more and humbled by what so many do. Seb in Ottawa and her team with new partnerships, Steve and the team in Thunder Bay and their efforts with students, Tom, north of Edmonton taking on an incredible challenge in a rural area and making a go of it. I can go on and on, but the character of an organization is defined by it's people and what they believe and their enthusiasm to help others a world away in Namibia and soon Uganda.

Being grassroots has it's issue's , but they are small in comparison to the energies and enthusiasm that is released by people who care and care for others. Not being a registered non profit, we sometimes struggle for finding partners to help with tax receipting, but this only makes us stronger and leads to further creativity and partnering for the good of all. I'm not sure what we are, maybe a movement, certainly a caring global group who is focused on helping many in Africa. Whatever it is, it is magic and it is infectious and it sure keeps me going to try harder.

At times it is very emotional and touch to keep going, but when I see what so many have done, and are doing, I'm simply blown away and in awe. Maybe I'm old, maybe I'm rambling on and a bit crazy, but there is a feeling one gets when one is around something special and I thought I would just take a moment and thank everyone for all they have done and for giving us all a chance to feel something special.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 12 Update

It's spring again and time to get your bicycles out and start riding again. Here in Whistler, it will still be a few weeks, the snow is still deep on the ground in the valley, but we like many across North America are thinking bicycles. Bicycles for Humanity teams are organizing, collecting, loading and sending bikes everywhere. Being a grassroots movement, we encourage teams and individuals to have fun and in their own special way make a difference not only in their community, but in a partner community in Africa. Bicycles for Humanity teams are organizing and growing everywhere and it is sometimes hard to know all that is going on. Collections tend to be in the spring or the fall. This update lists some of the spring activities and I'll try to get them in the order that they are happening. Hopefully if you live in one of the areas where we have chapters, you can help or send this to your friends in that region. Many of the other chapters send BEC's, Bicycle Empowerment Centres last fall and are organizing to do so again.

Here is a brief update, there is more information on the website under the chapter link

Colorado, Josh and the team in Denver have collected all the bikes and next weekend they will be loading the container. Josh can be reached at or 415.717.2771

Vancouver, Scott and the students of Ridgeview School in North Vancouver will be collecting and loading a BEC, May 2/3. For more details, please contact Scott Slater at or 604 981 1234 ext. 2911.

Whistler, Kelly and the team have a container half full. Pemberton Rotary, next weekend and the weekend after will be collecting bikes. In Whistler, the collection is May 10th in Function Junction. For more details, please contact Kelly at,

Kelowna, this is the community where B4H started and it is a delight to see Keith and the team there organizing a collection for May 10th, Keith can be reached at,

Thunder Bay, Steve and the Thunder Bay team have just loaded a container and it will be on it's way to Namibia shortly. Steve can be contacted at,

Many more B4H teams are organizing for later this spring and in the fall. Being a part of a B4H team is fun, not only are you making a difference in Africa, but also in your own community and it is a great way to meet new people in your community. For more information on B4H chapters in other regions, please visit the B4H website or contact the following people

Ottawa, Seb,
Toronto, Suzanne,
Cambridge, Brenda or Bob,
Guelph, Matt,
London, Annette,
Brampton, Terry,
Regina, Jay,
Calgary, Walter,
Edmonton, Tom,
Vernon, Julie,
Santa Rosa, California, Dave,
Manchester, UK, David,

Thanks again to all that support the Bicycles for Humanity movement. if you are interested in getting involved please feel free to contact any of the B4H team for more information, to help out, donate or possibly start a chapter in your community. Nor sure who to contact, hopefully, I can help, I'm at For the projects we support in Namibia and to find out more about our grassroots movement, you can contact Michael at

2 years ago, Bicycles for Humanity was one chapter, today, there are 16 chapters and another 10 in the early stages fo organizing. We are grassroots, we always will be, we link communities here and in Africa to help solve problems related to mobility for rural healthcare workers and women. We have no overhead and infrastructure other than our website and premium products to assist with fundraising efforts, prints, pins, shirts etc. The energies and the incredible skill sets within the B4H family is our strength and through the efforts of many mentoring new groups, teams sharing ideas, and friends of B4H reaching out and telling others, well, it just seems to keep growing and a lot of good flows everywhere.

Humanity Rocks

The B4H Team

Friday, February 29, 2008

And the beat goes on

It's almost March and the B4H team is once again gearing up and getting ready to send bicycles and soccer gear to Africa. The team has grown a lot with new chapters in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, London and Guelph having joined in the last few months and a number more just establishing new grassroots teams. Our focus this year is Namibia. Last year we sent 9 containers or BEC's, Bicycle Empowerment Centres to Namibia and the results of added mobility are being felt across the entire country. With the 10-15 more BEC's this year, we will have established a program that will hopefully become a model that all African countries will follow in the future.

Grassroots Aids Action groups are vital in the fight against Aids and we support many of them in Namibia and we will continue to do so. On our website you will see under updates links to a number of articles related to the outstanding work Mary Beth Gallagher does with children in Namibia. With children here playing soccer, they get new equipment almost every year and soccer clubs and leagues have been very generous in sending us soccer gear and with container costs based on volume, and with there being a lot of room in a container of bikes we have been adding soccer gear and children's books to the shipments. Bicyles empower people with mobility and by being able to visit more people to educate, deliver drugs and care for those that are dying. Soccer unites people and once united especially youth, it's a great way to begin the education process, this Youtube video says it all.

Bicycles for Humanity is grassroots and it will always be. The teams that come together in communities across now 4 countries are partnered with communities in Namibia and then through their own creativity, drive and passion organize fundraising efforts and collect the 400 bikes that make up a full BEC. We call these groups chapters and each team does it in their own special way and many of the team members will follow the container and visit the communities they are supporting. Chapters are forming now almost on a weekly basis and chapters that sent BEC's last year are mentoring and coaching new chapters in how to fund raise, collect bikes, get the message out, and most importantly have fun doing it. Many smaller communities or groups do not have the market or the reach to form a Chapter and this year we are initiative a new team concept within B4H called Clubs. These clubs will generally be in or near the cities where chapters have formed and they might take on collecting a smaller number of bikes and the funds to ship or just help with fundraising. They might collect soccer gear or children's books working closely with the chapters in their area to co-ordinate activities with the container loading. Civic Clubs like Rotary, Lions and faith based service groups, like the Knights of Columbus are some examples that have members that might want to help out. Some Clubs will become chapters over time, but the idea is to allow more to share in the fun of true empowerment. If you are interested in being a club or a chapter, you can gain more information by contacting us through our or through any of our chapter heads.

The actions of one individual and the efforts of teams of grassroots volunteers can and have made a difference. Being a part of a movement and sharing and knowing who you are helping and why is very rewarding and exciting and allows you to interact in communities both at home and globally in new and interesting ways.

Humanity Rocks

The B4H team

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

From the B4H family, All the best in 2008

Firstly, all the best to everyone in 2008, for the global B4H family it has started out at full speed. The article in the Globe and Mail sure caught the interest of many across Canada and the States and I think struck a nerve with many. As a result, groups in Halifax, Toronto, London, North Bay, Kingston, Calgary and Regina are organizing and hopefully creating B4H chapters in Canada. In the States, Chicago and San Francisco are looking to join Colorado, Boston and Hartford. It is a very, very busy time and we are trying to develop a getting started manual that we will be sending out to anyone interested in starting a chapter.

Thanks again, all the best in 2008
Humanity Rocks