EcoBici Program Anticipates 2000 Bikes per Year

Summer 2004 InGear

As reported in the last issue of InGear, the initial shipment of bicycles to EcoBici in Rivas, Nicaragua, was funded by the Claerbout Family in memory of their late son, Jos, an avid cyclist with a passionate interest in Latin American development and social justice. Ecobici’s inaugural shipment arrived on April 29, 2003, and became the foundation of what is now a thriving new project.

2004summerEcobicicletasIn 1998, project managers Wilfredo Santana Rodriquez and his wife Carla Bello left the Rivas program, Assocation for Community Development (ADC), and went north to Jinotepe to start the spin-off EcoTec. Having left a well-established EcoTec in the capable hands of Martin Melendes, Wilfredo and Carla returned home to Rivas to rebuild ADC, which languished in their absence. Essentially beginning anew in Rivas, they’ve named their project EcoBici.

EcoBici serves low-income residents in the many small towns of the southern Pacific coast region of Nicaragua, where the terrain is flat and rolling, ideal for cyclists. As in the case of EcoTec, EcoBici’s “profits” from sales are financing small-scale rural community development projects selected and implemented by representative community organizations. These include the construction of health clinics, schools, community potable water systems, and the planting of community wood lots. EcoBici has also donated P4P-supplied sewing machines and baseball equipment to the José María Moncada School, the Susana López Carazo School, and the Nandaime Women’s Center.

After receiving the first container of bicycles, so generously donated by the Claerbout Family, EcoBici has since imported four more containers, growth resulting directly from that initial shipment. The sale of those first bicycles provided crucial seed money for future shipments. And now a healthy revolving fund system is sustaining EcoBici.

The revolving fund system created by Pedals For Progress is key to enabling us to continue shipping containers to programs overseas. Combined with the customary hard work of Pedals For Progress bike collectors and project managers, EcoBici can now claim nearly 2,500 bicycles shipped. What’s more, over 2,000 bikes per year will arrive there for the foreseeable future.

A giant thanks to the Claerbout family for making this happen.

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