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How to Get a Bike to a Girl "At Risk" and Why It Matters

Updated on February 26, 2020

88 Bikes

This is the masthead photo for the charity 88Bikes webpage.
This is the masthead photo for the charity 88Bikes webpage. | Source

Bicycles in Developing Countries

“88Bikes” strikes most people as a unique name for a charity. What does it mean? Do they build 88 bicycles and then go home? Or is it biker-bikes (also known as motorcycles) that they make?

It is a real charity, not it some sort of Seinfeld fake scam-charity for Festivus.

It has no overhead and it makes a heck of a lot of sense: Give transportation to children and citizens in third world areas and all sorts of possibilities for self-directed development blossoms.

Two-Wheeled Human-Powered Bikes

Yes,” bikes” mean pedal-powered, single-track, two-wheeled, non-polluting means of transportation. Free bicycles go to young people in a remote, poor village, refugee camp, orphanage or group in a developing country. Recipients are trained in bicycle repair and maintenance, which makes the gift long-lasting.

Three thirty-something guys with a heart for social action founded this as a 501( c )(3) non-profit. That means donations get tax deduction treatment. I love this part from the website: “88bikes does not maintain a staff or an office, so that 100% of your contributions go towards our projects.” I know one of the founders; he is a total straight-shooter, so you can trust this statement. It’s their way of giving back to the world, paying it forward, or however you want to characterize it.

Small-Scale, Grassroots

One of the reasons they can donate what would be overhead costs is because they keep it small enough to be able to give their personal time to administer it. So, each founder has a “real” job and can do this as a spiritual/humanisitic/generous activity. Maybe the people helped each year number only in the tens or hundreds, but hearken to that starfish story. (A person walking along an ocean beach reaches down to toss stranded, beached starfish back into the brine. A critical person demeans him, asserting that saving one starfish at a time cannot make any real difference. The rescuer responds that it makes a difference to the individual starfish returned to the water.) Same thing with 88Bikes. It makes a difference to the child and the village, or school, or orphanage which receives a bicycle.

No Paid Marketing Staff

Gawd, I hate that word “development” used as a euphemism for fund-raising. Doesn’t it burn your biscuits to learn that a nationally known charity “wastes” (my choice of words) up to 30% of its donations to pay a fund-raiser? That doesn’t happen with Publicity spreads through low-cost social networking and word-of-mouth (or computer.) When I contribute to a charity, I like to picture most of my money going directly to the intended cause. It happens with 88Bikes.

Why is the Number 88 in the Name?

So, what is the significance of this number 88? Simple answer - when the organization started, eighty-eight dollars (USD) pays for one bike for a child. If you can donate that amount or more, a specific bike number identifies “the one” you gave. Kind of cool, huh? A list of donors and corresponding bike numbers appears on the supporters page of the website.

Consider Making a Donation

Whether you are in shape to fund an entire bicycle or just the handlebar, please consider 88bikes as worthy of your support. At least, check them out at It puts a smile on my face every time i send them a small contribution.

Text copyright 2012 Maren E. Morgan.


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