Bike Recycling Brings Big Benefit

Bike Recycling Brings Big Benefit

Pedals for Progress bike collection is Oct. 4.

Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Mount Vernon is hosting its third annual Pedals for Progress (PfP) bike collection of used children’s and adult two-wheel bikes, Oct. 4. Good Shepherd's YACHT (Young Adults) group will be in charge of receiving and preparing the bikes for crating. Additional volunteers are needed and welcome. The group is asking helpers to bring bike wrenches with them.

Mary Jane Masciola, one of the coordinators, said that PfP is a nonprofit organization that distributes donated bikes to third-world countries. In recent years shipments have gone to Central America, Senegal, Ghana, South Africa and the Pacific Islands.

"It costs $30 to collect, process, ship, rebuild and distribute each bike. A donation toward shipping costs is requested [suggested minimum: $10 per bike]. All cash and material donations are tax-deductible, and a receipt will be available at the collection site.

"We also accept working portable sewing machines and sporting goods equipment. This would include anything related to soccer or baseball, and no cash donation is required with these items," said Masciola.

IN COUNTRIES where PfP has established a partnership with a local organization, bike repair shops are set up to receive the shipment. Bikes are refurbished with parts donated by bike manufacturers and then sold to the public for a nominal amount. All profits from the sale are used to pay the salaries of the repair shop employees.

"It is very much a win-win situation for all involved," said Masciola.

This is Steve Gravini's third year working with PfP, and this year he is helping to coordinate the event, too. He enjoys working on the event, because, as he put it, it is a service to the community, and to developing nations as well. As someone who commutes to work on a bike himself, he sees and talks to many immigrants who rely on the bicycle as a mode of transportation, just as they did when they were in their home country.

"A lot of them value bikes much more than we do," said Gravini.

He said that they collected 178 bikes the first year and 80 bikes the second year [event was held during the sniper attacks last October]; this year he's hoping that they'll have more than 200 bikes.

Gravini suggests that landlords and apartment managers bring over their unclaimed and abandoned bikes. Bikes must be in repairable condition. "Bikes for parts" or disassembled bikes cannot be accepted.

Good Shepherd Catholic Church is located at 8710 Mount Vernon Highway. For more information, call 703-308-7570 or 703-780-4055, or visit the Pfp Web site at