This is Angela

This is Angela, queen of the red BMX bike, champion of small girl races, and all around bad ass. The girl who first showed up to VBP’s Learn to Ride session, hiding behind the bushes watching the other girls ride, eventually found her passion for riding. She ran away each time VBP staff approached her, but after three days of coaxing, Angela was hooked. The rest of the month was spent convincing her that she had to share the bicycles, even if she really didn’t want to. When not riding bikes, she was teaching other girls and having a blast. Angela joined a one-day workshop to learn maintenance skills, and she was able to show off by the end. The bike she chose to purchase? A red BMX – just like the one on which she learned to ride. Now, Angela races her friends after school down the main drag of her town, Akete.

Riding Door to Door Saves Shoe Leather

Mr.  Tejan  has been riding his bike every day since he got it a few years ago at a VBP program in Sierra Leone. When we ran into him recently, he told us, “When I did not have a bike, I walked 22 miles every day from Rogbare Junction to Lunsar for my door to door shoe business. I treat my bike with great care, servicing it every two weeks, because it is really important to me.” Mr. Tejan told us the bike has increased his income.  “The bicycle makes it easy for me; before I put bunches of shoes on my head and walked, but now I carry the shoes on my bike, and I am much happier. “

Ride on, Mr. Tejan!

Gbemu: Farmer, Bike Fitter

“I came; I learned something from them too. If the people [in my village] bring the bicycle I, too, I know how to repair it for them”
Gbemu is the primary bike fitter (mechanic) for his small Ghanaian town. He uses bicycles himself, to be able to travel from his home to the town, and to his farm. He sees how bikes can help others around him when they also need to walk long distances for work or shopping. While the One Day Workshop is for riders who buy a new bike and may not know much about fixing it, he says that even with his experience as a mechanic, he knows he’ll help his own business with the skills he’s learned from VBP.

If I Walk, I Miss my Morning Class…

Asem Redeember – JHS Student, One Day Workshop participant:
“If I walk, I miss morning class, and if I take bike, I reach early for the morning class”

Asem lives far from his junior high school, and if he walks to school, he won’t reach class until 8:30 or 9 a.m., but classes start well before then! He’s happy to have his own bicycle to get him to class early, plus he’s glad to learn how to fix it if there is a problem. It’s small things, like learning not to pump a tire too hard (or it will bust), and making sure he doesn’t use too much rubber glue, that help him most.

Mathilda

Potentially seen as a late bloomer, Mathilda proved that just about anyone can learn to ride a bicycle. Even while she took two weeks to master the art of steering while balancing, she never gave up. Each day, her friend, Ishak, pushed her across the field; they were always working hard to keep the bike headed in a straight direction, even if Mathilda wasn’t straight herself. After many weeks of epic crashes, one day, Ishak let go of the carrier and Mathilda kept going on her own! On the last day of her town’s Learn to Ride session, this new rider topped the competition at the closing ceremony races. Mathilda came in first in her category, beating out four other girls who had been riding for weeks longer. Ishak was there to cheer her on, and no one was prouder than him.

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Village Bicycle Project
1915 11th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102

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