We know that at least some of you were putting off Christmas shopping until the calendar suddenly reads Christmas Eve and you have found yourselves emptyhanded. We are unfit to cast judgement (and wouldn’t even dare) as we’ve been through it once or twice too. But hear us out; there’s always time to do some good in our ever-connected world. Luckily, there are a few bicycle-related initiatives and charities that can save your reputation on the morning of Thursday 24th December and provide you with the perfect online gift.
If the site you’ve chosen doesn’t offer a certificate or another gift-able, printable item stating that you’ve donated in your loved one’s name, you can always print out the confirmation e-mail and put it in a nice envelope with a little bit of info about the charity of your choice and/or handwritten letter with a heartfelt message and an explanation of your gift. In this case, the look of the online gift doesn’t matter as much as the intentions behind it.
Trips for Kids
Trips for Kids is the biggest cycling initiative serving youths in the United States. We know all too well our childhoods wouldn’t be the same without experiencing the joy and camaraderie of cycling outings but some kids from vulnerable backgrounds never get the chance. Trips for kids organise outdoor rides with dedicated teams and local chapters all over the US and let kids know the wonders of fresh air, nature and being active. The charity aims to cultivate the feeling of belonging and a healthy attitude towards teamwork, responsibility, and sharing. This amazing initiative has introduced bikes to over 140,500 at-risk youths since 1988.
When you click the ‘Donate’ button, you have the option to dedicate the donation to someone and then you can choose to print out the dedication or have it sent directly to their e-mail as an online gift. Or have the e-mail sent to you with the giftee’s name, print it out and wrap it nicely for them to not to ruin the surprise!
The Bike Project
The Bike Project is based in the UK where it focuses on improving the lives of one of the most vulnerable demographic groups – refugees who have fled the horrors and persecution of their homelands. The charity takes and fixes up second-hand bikes and donates them to asylum seekers in Birmingham and London. This allows people struggling to make ends meet to save up on bus fares, which are quite costly especially in London, and at the same time, gets them to all the essential places they need to go – legal advice, food, banks, healthcare, and more. We say “great job”!
Thrilled to have had such a fantastic response from the local community!
Join us to donate your old bikes. pic.twitter.com/5qiir0t4s4
— The Bike Project (@The_BikeProject) December 19, 2020
World Bicycle Relief
The whole mission of this project is put succinctly into the statement on their main page: “World Bicycle Relief mobilises people through The Power of Bicycles. We are committed to helping people conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence and thrive.” And that’s exactly what they do. They deliver sturdy commuting bicycles to communities and people who walk millions of kilometres each day just to reach necessities and survive because the distance is a barrier to attending school, receiving healthcare, and delivering goods to market. If you donate until the end of the year, your amount will be matched 1:1!
National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)
Founded in 2009, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) develops high-school and collegiate mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. This is a great cause to support as we all know that the affinity for a sport is cultivated at a young age and school-connected cycling programmes encouraged many a future Olympian. NICA is aimed at those kids who just want to race mountain bikes, have fun and potentially even pursue the sport professionally in the future.
Mountain biking brings confidence, independence, freedom, friendships & more! When you combine everything mountain biking brings into one word – it's JOY. Donate today & spread the JOY at: https://t.co/BGhFIloq2J#morekidsonbikes #moregirlsonbikes #SharetheRide #mountainbiking pic.twitter.com/RhWGmOloUl
— NICA-National Interscholastic Cycling Association (@nationalMTB) December 17, 2020
People for Bikes
In the course of 21 years, People for Bikes have fundraised millions of dollars to make bicycling better by investing in community cycling projects, pursuing sponsors, leveraging private, state and federal donations and engaging individuals and corporations alike. They work with a huge network of members and organisations across the US and are tireless advocates for bettering all aspects of the cycling experience, from organising events to fixing infrastructure. People for Bikes includes both an industry coalition of bicycling suppliers and retailers, as well as a charitable foundation. With worldwide renown, you can be sure your money will be well utilised.
[1/3] Think back to your happiest moment on a bike this year; whether it was riding with your family, exploring a new trail or getting a much-needed breath of fresh air.
— PeopleForBikes (@peopleforbikes) November 19, 2020
Do you remember that rush of endorphins when you first managed to ride a bike unassisted and then continued to use it as a cool mode of transport, getting a step closer to future independence? CYCLE Kids have been building off this feeling since 2004 and their success proves they’re on the right path. They aim at educating children to make healthy and informed choices, building a sense of community, and making them realise that exercise doesn’t have to be a drag but can mean the joy of rocking it down the street on your bicycle.
Can bikes save the world? At Qhubeka, an offshoot organisation of World Bicycle Relief, they certainly think so. Qhubeka means “to progress” or “to move forward” in the language of the Nguni people of South Africa because their mission is aimed at helping people change their lives via affordable, reliable and accessible means of transport. For years, they’ve been monitoring the areas they support and the impact bicycles had on them – and the results are pretty evident. The living quality has gone up, the time spent on foot and taking a needlessly long time from A to B has gone down, boosting education, business and healthcare opportunities. Since 2005, Qhubeka has delivered more than 250,000 specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to South Africans in need.
"The bicycle changed my life cause I was always late for school and missed study time and my first class." – Sylvester
— Qhubeka™ Charity (@Qhubeka) November 25, 2020
To wrap things up, we also have a little pro tip: if all else fails and you just couldn’t decide which online gift would be the best or find a charity or an initiative to donate to, look around for (preferably grassroots) bicycle repair shops and workshops that have printable vouchers for their services for sale online. Even better if it’s one your giftee knows and frequents! Sometimes, you can even find these small businesses on social media and send them a message – if they respond even on 24th December, you might figure something out!
This list is by no means a comprehensive one and we bet you could find a charity or an initiative local to you if you took to Google as it’s oftentimes better to make an impact close to you and your community. Good luck with choosing the perfect online gift and happy winter holidays for you and the giftee!