Niagara Freewheelers are affiliated with Jeff Reid from Sutton, Ont. Reid started up Bikes For Cuba, a small personally run humanitarian aid project geared to provide good quality, donated road racing and mountain bicycles for school cycling teams in Cuba.
“While cycling in Cuba I frequently come in contact with local cycling teams in need of decent bicycles and equipment. In December 2009 the school team in Banes originally had only one poor quality bicycle for all 14 kids to share. I immediately donated my racing bicycle and equipment to help the kids on the team.” said Jeff Reid
Upon returning to Canada, he began locating donated bicycles and equipment and started sending them down to Cuba for the school cycling teams. Word of mouth spread. By the end of 2016, he had shipped more than 340 good bicycles and gear he said has been donated and transported by caring Canadians.
In their third year of cycling in Cuba, it was the first time the Freewheelers left bikes there, according to Dennis Munn from the bike touring club.
After a truck pulled up on their last day, many of the riders snapped photos of their bikes being loaded for delivery to the nearby town of Banes.
“Some people really liked the bike they rode,” said Munn. “The bike I got was about 30 years old, a Pinarello, but it was in very good condition, and many of the bikes were very high quality, including a Trek 2300 almost brand new, and there were two or three that were in the several thousand dollar range.”
The cost to the riders is $30 a person to ship the bikes. Munn said there is a lot of behind-the-scenes commitment, but he feels confident they would do it again.
“The good feeling at the end, you know the kind of kids that are going to get these bikes, they appreciate it, he said. We can’t guarantee what kind of bike you’re going to have, but I had no complaining from anyone there. In many cases we were riding on bikes much better than we have at home,” said Dennis Munn.
What a great way to go for a bike tour in Cuba an donate bikes, does your city have a shop or cycling club that donates bikes to countries in need?