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Farmers' Market bikes bound for Ghana

Dave LeFevre with bikes donated at Clarkston Farmersí Market for people in need in Ghana. Photo provided (click for larger version)
December 16, 2009 - With the help of businesses and the community, Clarkston Farmer's Market collected more than 400 bikes along with spare parts to send to Ghana to help the Village Bicycle Project.

"It was great fun and people seemed to be very supportive of the whole idea. We're excited to be able to donate bikes," said Louise Kasl of Kinetic Systems Bicycles, organizer. "We have some cash donations also to help with the cost of buying a container and all of that."

Money was also raised by selling the Farmer's Market "Beans for Bikes" coffee, which is still available for sale at Kinetic and Essence on Main.

Kasl said the organization distributes bikes to villages through the group Bikes for Humanity. The Village Bike Project is specially for Ghana.

"They've shipped more than 90 containers of bikes to Africa," Kasl said.

Founder David Peckham lives in Idaho and was a Peace Corp volunteer back in the 1980s.

"He was always enthused about bicycles and how they're underused and under rated in terms of transportation," she said.

She said Peckham sells the bikes at a nominal cost because he found giving them away didn't work. Before buying the bikes, recepients must attend a meeting about how to maintain them.

"Twenty percent of the people who come have to be women," she said. "It's David's sort of underhanded subtle way of empowering women in a way that isn't politically offensive."

Kasl said many of the bikes that were old bikes came with stories because it had been years since they were ridden.

"It's amazing what they do with these bikes in Africa," she said.

For more information visit www.ghanabikes.org

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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