• Country

Give Your Favourite Kit A Second Life: Where to Donate Pre-Loved Gear

By Megan Flottorp

Cycling gear seems to get better every year, and for many—those shiny new digs are hard to resist. As spring approaches, some will be lucky enough to be able to shell out for new kits and accessories from the top brands’ spring and summer launches. However, the reality is that this simply isn’t an option for everyone.

So, if you’ve got the disposable income for new gear, why not consider donating your pre-loved kit to an organisation that can help less fortunate riders? As it stands, a lot of old equipment ends up in landfills, even if it only needs minor fixes. That doesn’t have to be the case! Whether you’ve got bike jerseys that don’t fit or are investing in a more high-performance jacket, now is the time to clean out the gear closet and support the community– all while making you feel good about indulging in those upgrades.

Old bicycle
Not sure where to donate your old gear? © Profimedia

Here are some ideas for where to give:

School teams or youth groups

By dedicating just a few minutes to searching, there’s a good chance you’ll find a group in your area that can use your old cycling stuff. For example, high school mountain bike teams are often eager to collect old gear, as most junior cyclists don’t have a closet full of cycling kits yet. Youth organisations or shelters also usually take donations of bikes and gear, enabling them to provide more leisure and fitness activities for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate.

Cycling newbies

If you feel that the gear you have to donate is more on the high-performance side of things, you can find ways to give it to someone who wants to get serious about the sport but is running up against financial barriers. There are plenty of Facebook groups for cyclists where gear swaps are encouraged, especially in support of helping newer riders advance in the sport. And if you’re a triathlete— check out beginnertriathlete.com, they have a great forum where you can post your old gear, and beginner triathletes can claim it and pay for any necessary shipping.

Cycling charities for kids

What kid couldn’t benefit from the chance to ride a bike, right? If you will be buying some new gear for your youngster this season, consider asking your cycling community about local charities that help get kids into cycling. One organisation we particularly love—Cyclists Fighting Cancer. Functioning both as a physical retail shop and online collection point, they provide bikes to children fighting cancer. The founder is a cancer survivor himself and has made it his mission to give more kids the chance to ride.

Local cycling community

If you’d like to know exactly who your pre-loved kit is going to, you can try contacting your local club, race directors and cycling shops about where to donate your used cycling gear. As they’re already highly connected in the community, they’ll likely know of people who could put your old stuff to good use. And if you’re already quite involved in your local club but no such initiative exists, you can even discuss hosting a gear collection drive to donate to an organisation that supports athletes in your community.

Cycling initiatives in remote parts of the world

Can’t find anything local? Luckily the cycling community spans the whole globe. Check out groups like PAC Tours Bike Parts Recycling Project, which collects gently used cycling gear to send to cyclists in remote areas in Peru. Or, if there’s a particular country where you’re interested in supporting cyclists, just do a search to see what’s out there. There are plenty of international charitable organisations that will accept old bike gear.

Organisations supporting diversity in sports

What about contributing your used gear to help fund outdoor experiences for children and adults with disabilities? Cairn’s Gear Up, Give Back program is one example of an organisation that collects gently-used gear for running, cycling, triathlon, and other outdoor activities, which they then clean, repair, and resell. Proceeds from their Gear Up Give Back program go to Outdoors for All, a nonprofit that supports adaptive and therapeutic recreation for children and adults with disabilities.

A recycle or downcycle initiative

This is a particularly good option for items already on their last legs. I:CO (short for “I Collect”) is a company working to create a circular economy in the textile industry. They partner with global retailers like Adidas to offer a variety of incentives for donating used clothing and cycling gear. The donated items are then exported to second-hand markets or “downcycled” as insulation or upholstery stuffing.

Whatever route you choose, by donating your used cycling gear, you can trust that you’re making another cyclist out there smile—not to mention doing right by the environment and serving as a good example to those around you.