An effort called "Pedals for Progress" in Dubuque today looks to collect unused bicycles. Tim Weitzel leads the program, which is an offshoot of the effort started in New Jersey. Weitzel says they collect the bicycles and send them to the Third World where they can be used as "a cheap, reliable mode of transportation for people in need."
Weitzel says the collection effort really got rolling after starting in a small way. He says he started collecting on his own and they now try to have two or three bike collections each year. Weitzel says they started collecting bikes in Dubuque and plan to expand to a collection next week in Cedar Rapids. He says Pedals for Progress in New Jersey has been collecting bikes for about 15 years and has sent 104-thousand bikes overseas.
Weitzel says the collections usually bring in 100 to 150 bikes. Weitzel says there are 22-million bikes sold every year in the U.S. and 17-million of those are adult bikes. Weitzel says many of the bikes end up collecting dust or in landfills, so they hope to put them to better use. He says they ask the people who drop off bikes to also help with the cost of shipping the bikes.
Weitzel says it costs about 30 dollars to send the bikes overseas, and they ask for a 10-dollar donation to help pay part of the cost. He says the 10 dollars and the cost of the bike is tax deductible, and they give you a receipt. The collection today (Saturday) is from nine A.M. until noon at Dubuque Hempstead High School. They’ll hold another collection next Saturday at Cedar Rapids Xavier High School. Weitzel says he’d be interested in expanding the collection to other areas of the state if other communities wanted to get involved.