Whit Findlay is a 20 year old from Sudbury, MA. He loves to mountain bike. In his time away from B4H, he works as a mountain biking counselor at a summer camp in NH. Whit stumbled upon the B4H network while biking through the southern cone of Africa in 2013. He saw how donated used bikes from America impacted the bush communities of developing countries – both by providing the gift of mobility and creating empowerment centers from the shipping containers. Bicycles allow people in developing countries to travel greater distances in shorter times and transport greater weight. For example, mothers can carry more water to their villages with less time and effort than walking; students can get to and from school faster; parents are able to transport more items to markets to sell; and, healthcare workers are 3 to 4 times more productive.
Upon returning to the U.S., Whit started a new chapter with his brother and sister to gather bikes and funds from the Boston area and throughout New England. After talking with the global head of the B4H network, Whit and his siblings established a 501c3 organization, called B4H-Boston, and collected their first bike in December of 2013.
In fall 2015, thanks to countless dedicated supporters, Whit and his siblings were able to ship over 450 bikes to Ramotswa Botswana. Donors from Connecticut to New Hampshire contributed in both small and huge ways – with $10 pledges as well as a truckload of 51 used bikes. Bikes are now being collected for a second crate. Thank you to all who have supported B4H-Boston and welcome to those who wish to get involved.
Reed Findlay, 17 from Sudbury, MA, is currently a senior in high school. Reed loves cross-country biking and videography. In 2013, Reed and his older brother and younger sister established the Boston Chapter of Bicycles for Humanity, a global grassroots bike relief charity that gives the gift of mobility to people in developing countries.
Inspired by the power of giving back, Reed set out in 2013 on a north to south bike journey of the United States rockies after collecting donor pledges to fund B4H Boston for every mile pedaled during the trip. In 2014, he raised more funds by biking completely around Iceland, and in 2015 he biked across all of Mongolia camping for weeks in the steppe. See Mongolia Video!The funds raised helped pay for the purchase of the 40 foot container and shipping it to Botswana. Uniquely, B4H Boston donated the shipping container to the village in Ramotswa, which became a community empowerment center and self sustaining bike repair shop. In addition to providing mobility with bikes, many programs such as repair classes, bike teams, and cycling development are operated out of the container.
Check out the photo links to these empowering programs.
After 3 years of building a grassroots network across New England and working with NGOs and volunteers in Africa, B4H Boston will send its second crate of 500 bikes, parts, and tools to Botswana in the fall of 2017. Working with individuals and organizations, B4H-Boston organizes drop offs and collections throughout New England. Reed collaborates with all sorts of community groups, schools with abandoned property programs, such as Dartmouth College Bikes, and bike shops to encourage old bike recycling. Hundreds of New Englanders have given their time, energy, love, financial support and used bicycles to B4H-Boston which enables the charity to pass along these gifts to people in need. Thank you to all who have supported B4H-Boston and welcome to those who wish to get involved.
Give me a shout anytime – I’d love to chat about how your old bike could change someone’s life by giving them mobility!
Brooke is 15 and from Sudbury, MA. Together with her older brothers, she started B4H Boston in 2013. Brooke likes to bike, build things, and help people. In addition to organizing collections around Massachusetts, Brooke repairs hundreds of used bikes before they are shipped. Along with her brothers, she attended bike mechanics school. An interest in making helpful things led her brothers and her to partner B4H Boston with Instructables.com to offer a design challenge for the best do-it-yourself bicycle trailer and other bike adaptations made from recycled parts. The need for improved mobility in Africa is followed closely by the need for hauling goods and water on bike trailers, which aren’t available. These crowd-sourced ideas help B4H’s partners in Botswana locally build trailers and other useful pedal powered devices with the designs, tools, and bike parts shipped from Boston.
See B4H Boston’s Instructibles.com design challenge here. instructables
It is fun to connect communities while learning new skills. Brooke manages the B4H Boston website and a lot of the mechanical projects. If you want to get involved in bike repair, join a makers group, or participate in a crowd source design contest for bike powered devices contact us.