Country Update: Nicaragua

Spring 2013 InGear

In the early nineties, Pedals for Progress founder and current president, David Schweidenback, met Wilfredo Santana of Ecobici, a low-income bicycle distributor based in Rivas, Nicaragua. Together, they developed the concept of revolving funds in order to sustainably pay for the cost of transporting bicycles from the United States to Nicaragua. In 1992, Jose Dolores Hernandez purchased one of the first bikes shipped to Ecobici by Pedals for Progress.

Jose Dolores

Jose Dolores

The bicycle was a Raleigh 26” mountain Bike and proved to be a highly dependable vehicle for Jose. He, his wife, and his three sons made varied use of the bike for fifteen years. Throughout this period, Jose, a mason and general contractor by trade, made countless trips transporting tools and materials between his home and multiple worksites.

Unfortunately, in 2007, while riding the Raleigh, one of Jose’s sons accidentally landed on it in such a way that he broke the bicycle’s frame. It was therefore that Jose was forced to buy another bicycle. He managed to get another bike of decent, though not quite as good quality as his first one. Regardless, Jose, now 65 and a grandfather of three grandchildren, continues to take great care of his second bike and uses it for work daily. Furthermore, Jose’s son eventually managed to repair the original Raleigh and that bike, originally purchased in 1992, has now become an indispensable tool to another generation. Pedals for Progress’ partnership with Ecobici was the organization’s first, long-lasting major program and is still currently in operation. Since its inception, Pedals for Progress has shipped 52 containers, or over 22,000 bicycles, to the small town of Rivas, Nicaragua with still more to come.

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