In Sept. 2011 Wheels 4 Life founder Hans Rey went on a bike adventure in the Uttrakhand Region in the Indian Himalayas with fellow pro mountain bikers Joscha Forstreuter and Richie Schley. At the end of their 6 day adventure they distributed 10 bikes to local children who live in scattered villages in the remote mountain region. Most of them have to walk 5 - 10km each way to school on a daily basis. The bikes will be a big help to cover the distance on the relatively flat jeep road on the high plateau in the mountains. Public transportation is not available. Hans and his team got to meet the potential recipients, choose them based on their needs and distance from the school and even got to visit some of their homes, where they enjoyed a cup chai tea. The bikes where purchased by W4L from Ti Cycles who not only distributes GT Bicycles in India, but also the more utilitarian Hercules bicycles. We were able to buy each bike at US $ 55.- which is way below our average cost for a bike in the Third World.Thanks to the help of our guide Ayan Brahma, who works for India Hikes Tour operator, we were able to identify the persons who needed the bikes most.
In 2006 Bryan Cole was in India working for Habitat for Humanity and found the opportunity to do some work for Wheels4Life as well.
In additon to helping on this build for Habitat, I will be doing a bit of work for Wheels 4 Life as well. W4L is a non profit that Hans “no way” Rey started awhile back and it aims to bring bikes to people in need in lesser developed places around the world. With a shared love of international travel and remote cycling adventure, Hans asked me to take a bit of this work on along my journey. I was of course honored to have the opportunity to bring something I love so much to someone who can only have an improved quality of life through this venture.
So far I have identified a couple of recipients that I will be purchasing bikes for tomorrow. The first to receive will be an orpahnge that is about as far from the village as you can get and it doesn’t have a sinlge bike to go to market, the doctor, or otherwise. Additonally, I will be gifting a bicycle to Murgan, the security guard on the Habitat job site. Murgan is responsible for overseeing the 360 houses and after walking or bussing the end of the road, he makes his way to the village (some 2 miles up a rough dirt road) to spend the rest of his day walking around the job site and being “security”. So far, I have had 2 pairs of work gloves stolen, so needless to say, I am somewhat selfishly motivated and Murgan’s need is blatantly obvious.