Friday, July 25, 2008

CNN Gives Old Bike Refurbisher "Hero" Status

And well-deserved, too:

"The thought that I can reach out and permanently improve someone's life for the better is addictive," says Dave Schweidenback. Several times a year, the 55-year-old can be found prepping large shipments of used bicycles bound for a developing country. For Schweidenback, gathering and breaking down these bikes is a labor of love -- one that is helping to keep the bikes out of landfills and give them new life.

"Used bicycles can transform the economic and social condition of families," says Schweidenback. "[They] give people access to jobs, health care and education that is too distant for walking."

Since 1991, Schweidenback's nonprofit Pedals for Progress has collected and shipped more than 115,000 used bicycles to 32 developing countries worldwide, where they are sold at a low cost to local residents like Don Roberto Garcia.

"A used woman's mountain bicycle changed my life," says Garcia, 54, a house cleaning supplies salesman in Nicaragua who works six days a week to support his six children and buy medicine for his wife, who suffers from cancer.

Read the entire story here.

Also, see this story from Chicago from a while back.

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