By Janice Elizabeth Berte, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – On a blustery cold Saturday morning, Todd Kurland and his son Zhenya, a freshman at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, coordinated their first bike drive for Bikes Not Bombs.
This Boston-based bicycle project was started in 1984 by bike mechanic Carl Kurz and Michael Replogle (a Maryland-based transportation planner) who wanted to help children and adults in countries like Kenya, Nicaragua and Nevis where there has been a lot of strife and warfare. Every weekend from March to November, several towns throughout Massachusetts will hold these bike events to bring about awareness and help the countries generate commerce.
These bicycles provide transportation for these people to travel back and forth to their jobs, and to build a better life for themselves.
“Bikes Not Bombs ships out about 4,000 used bicycles annually to children and adults in Latin American and Africa,” explained Todd at the event.
The event collected 120 bicycles along with a number of helmets.
The bikes are dismantled and put on a truck to Boston Harbor for shipment. This dismantling requires a bike professional like Eric Mearns who teaches the parents and students the proper steps. The disassembling requires flattening the bike by removing the pedals and seats and twisting the handlebars so more bikes can be shipped out. There is a $10 donation shipping fee for each bicycle, and each container can carry 500 bicycles. Once the bikes are sealed into a crate, they depart for those specific countries.
Also attending was Assabet Valley Principal Mark Hollick.
“I sent out 3500 robo-calls to all the parents the night before as a reminder, and felt that this event has a global impact and can touch many lives,” Hollick said.
For more information about Bikes Not Bombs, visit www.bikesnotbombs.org.