Making a difference: two wheels at a time
In the spring of 2017 I traveled to the country of Jordan accompanied by over 300 bikes collected in Montana with the non-profit, Wheels of Change.
What is Wheels of Change?
Wheels of Change was started in 2010 by my father and I in an effort to empower rural communities through the use of bikes.
Used bikes are collected and given a second life by being loaded into a 40 foot shipping container. Upon arrival, the container is turned into a bike shop. Local people are then trained in bike mechanics and business skills. The bikes are then sold, fixed, and rented from the shop with all of the profits staying within the community.
All of our previous shipments had been to Namibia, Zambia, and Kenya. But in the fall of 2016 we were at a table with Visit Jordan at an Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) summit in Alaska when the idea was born. Jordan was to host an ATTA event the following spring and timing was perfect to bring a shipment of bikes to rural villages in Jordan.
We decided to split the shipment, with most of the bikes staying in the village of Greigra with the container. This part of the shipment was more focused on the locals and building the bike business. 100 bikes were loaded up and headed north to Umm Quais, on the Syrian border. These bikes would have much more of a tourism focus and be used to create a business doing bike tours of the area.
In Um Quais we partnered with Beit Al Baraka, a guest house with an emphasis on local culture and experiences. They offer everything from traditional cooking classes, to basket weaving, and now... bike tours.
Jordan is an incredible country, filled with adventure at every turn... but it’s the culture that leaves me wanting to go back for more.
To learn more about Wheels of Change, please visit our website: wocinternational.org. This project wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of help from the following organizations: Austin Adventures, Visit Jordan, Abercrombie and Kent, ATTA
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