Section 1 Intro and understanding of the movement of bikes globally

If you understand the  Past, it is easier to understand the Future

Bicycles for Humanity started life 
as  a grassroots organization  focused on helping  inspired  socialentrepreneurs  organize chapters and send container of bicycles  to the developing  world.  15 years ago when we started  it was a lot easier to get containers of bikes into Africa and shipping costs were much less.  Today, things have changes,  with higher  costs all around , making it increasingly difficult for  b4H chapters and all other  groups doing this  to collect and send bikes.

On the  African side, word got out about our movement
and  today we have over 500 community leaders wanting bikes.   B4H simply does not have enough chapters to meet the demand  and so we have decided  to  grow B4H in Africa, the same way we did in the developed world.  If we can transfer the knowledge to help all in Africa better understand the process and the model, if we can  help all groups in Africa develop the skills to be able to manage all aspects of mobility  that a bicycle can provide and we can  create an efficient model that allows us all to  work together, thanhopefully we can increase the flow of bikes to  Africa, while helping all gain added value.  Today, there are more bikes than ever  capable of being shipped to Africa, but we do not have the money and the African side is ill prepared to manage  the flow of bikes or the relationships with those that are sending the bikes.   The Bicycle Empowerment Management Course is about teaching the  skills needed to not only understand how to  manage a bike centre, but to be  successfulin    many ways related to bikes.

Bicycle Distribution  in Africa Today

There  is no real bicycle manufacturing anywhere  on the continent of Africa today and  the bulk of the bikes that are sold  on the continent are  single speed, very heavy  bikes  primarilyfrom India and China.  These  bikes are typically sold for around $80 to $90 US dollars and can be found all over  Africa.  In the larger cities   there are more established bike shops bringing in newer  bikes and many different brands, with the  bulkbeing  lower priced poorer quality bikes.  With the  glut of bicycles in Europe and North America and  the developed world    throwing tens of millions of bikes into landfills annually, we are now seeing a number of new bicycle models  emerge. Some of the different models are as follows.

1. Entrepreneurs are purchasing  entire containers of bikes from the developed  world and selling them when they arrive at the major ports to recoup the  cost of the shipment and then to be able to have some  left to sell at a higher price or for thier own use.  Being entrepreneurs,   this model wil lscale and many benefit , all costs are covered and the  team is left with bikes to sell or use.

2.  Similar to this model, a number of organizations, such as Village Bicycle Project in Ghana, depend on donors to collect  and provide them with  containers full of bikes, but  the group in Africa lacks the  funds to cover the shipping,  and so they follow a similar model,    of sorting the bikes into piles and  selling  the pile for an amount to again cover all
shipping andtax's.

3.  Bicycles for Humanity and many smaller groups
   follow a slightly different model where we try to get the   entire container of bikes  further from the ports, out into the rural acres where the  real need is   for bikes and mobility.  The B4H model of delivering an  entire container of   500 bikes to a remote area has been successful to date, but  it is also running onto challenges as costs and tax’s have gone up.  Secondly, dealing with 500 bikes  by a small group  can be a problem to store  andto  manage the logistics and newer models are required. Groups are also    centralizing the bike  supply and delivering smaller numbers of bikes to outlying smaller   shops.

Organizations  such as  World Bicycle Relief contract manufacturers in China to build a very sturdy single speed bicycle that is shipped to Africa in parts and assembled in a number of African countries.  These Buffalo Bikes sell for around $120  in a number of African communities.

In summary, all of these models help get more bikes 
to Africa , but the numbers are small in comparison to the need for mobility  across all of Sub Saharan Africa.  New models and new ways to think about the  challenge of mobility are needed.  There is  also  a major shift underway in the developed  world that   could have  an incredible impact on the number of bikes  coming to  Africa and again, if there is not a solid plan in place and a model that allow the benefit to flow to the people,  than the value will be lost and the bikes will just  keep flowing through the  auction process at the ports.

A Shifting  Bicycle Mobility Marketplace Globally

bicycle  has always been the   backbone  to the economy in many  emerging Asian countries , China literally grew on the back of a bicycle but all of this is changing  rapidly.  In  China we have seen  an explosion of shared bike programs.   These are programs where you can locate a bike and unlock it with your cell phone, ride it    to where you want to go and leave it for the next person  to use.   About 30 million shared bikes are entering the Chinese market alone  each year and this  model will migrate to every country on earth, especially to high   density areas and university campuses.  As this grows, it will displace  tens of millions more bikes,  no longer needed in their country, but perfectly suitable for all in Africa.  We do not  anticipatethis  trendslowing  downany time soon, we also do  not believe the  present model of selling bikes at the port to cover shipping is the most   efficient way to move very large numbers of bikes, but today, it works very effectively.

If the shared model of  bike use was not enough to disrupt the  marketplace, an even more disruptive model is hitting the developed world.  Several years ago, the E or Electric bike was invented.  This bike  will  providepedal assist, making it easier to pedal, or you can  operate it without peddling  like a scooter.  This market has gained speed to the point where in 2018, 50%  of all bicycles sold in North America will be E bikes,    forcing another  20 million plus  pedal bicycles to be idled.

When we look at major  values  of used bikes to be  coming on stream, we realize that the present   model of  distribution  and support is not there and that if a new model were in place, an efficient 
model, than  many more  people in Africa could benefit from  the opportunities provided by the massive shift to Shared bikes and E bikes. Knowledge also lets many new organizaitons, civic clubs like Rotary, schools, church's and  otehr community organizatiosn join in and  make a difference.

Bicycle Distribution in the Developed World

Bicycle Distribution in the developed world has
always  followed  a very traditional retail model.  In  North America there are  literally hundreds of   manufacturers of bikes of all kinds, road, mountain, city, cruiser, children,  cyclocross, you name it.  All these manufactures traditionally sold through retail  stores and had  distributors that delivered the new bikes to the    bike shop.  Bike shops  sold their own brands and prices were  fairly close together and all in the bike  sellingmodel    shared reasonable success at ever level.  The is all about to change in a big way,  as the industry goes online and the manufacturers sell through the internet.   Amazon and their  incredible  ability to sell on line changed the game,  by taking the middle  people the distributor and the retailer out of the equation and   selling direct.  Canyon Bike started in Europe was the first major player and  over the next few years all the major players will be aa forced to go this  way  forced by completion and  declining margins.  This trend will not stop and  as  it continues to shift, it will drive an even larger number of  new bikes into the market place, driven by increasingly  more economical bikes with   greater features for the price. Again, like the  Shared bike and the E bike trends, online will  have an equally significant impact on the   global bike industry.


As large numbers of bikes begin to move to   move to Africa,   and if you  want to create an opportunity to build new relationships to get bikes for your community, or you want to build new relationships with organizations  in the  developed world to support    mobility  or other projects, it is  very important that you understand how they  think, what they are looking for and what they can expect from you and your community.  The Bicycle
management  program will equip you with the  needed skills to be  successful  in not only sourcing bikes, but in building new and long lasting relationships.

Our purpose is to provide  free mobility, education, healthcare and opportunity to all  and Inspire  a generation    to  believe they can   do the same here and in Africa

Bicycles for Humanity empowers people in the developing world by transferring skills to them that enable them to create  opportunity for themselves.