• Stephanie O'Hanley

Give your used bike a second life CoGovélo - Coopérative du Grand Orme Sept. 27 bike drive for Cyclo


A group of volunteers round up useable or repairable bicycles to donate to developing countries at last year’s Cyclo Nord-Sud event. Following its success, another bike roundup is taking place Saturday, September 27.

Have a bike that’s gathering dust? Is it in good, or at least repairable, condition with wheels that measure at least 20 inches?

For the second year in a row, members of coGovélo collective at the COOP du Grand Orme are holding a bike collection drive for Cyclo Nord-Sud Sunday, September 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the COOP, 153 Ste. Anne St. in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

The event will happen rain or shine.

“We did a collection last year,” said Bruno Haas, a member of the coGovélo bike collective who is secretary on the COOP’s board of directors. “It was very successful and we managed to collect 61 bicycles,” Haas said. “We had a big crew of volunteers - we were around 10 people. We were really, really happy with the result so we decided to conduct it again this year.”

Donated bikes will head by container from the ‘North’ to the ‘South,’ to one of Cyclo Nord-Sud’s partners in Ghana, Togo, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Burkina Faso or Haiti, where they’ll benefit families and serve as a valuable means of transportation.

To cover transport costs, a minimum cash donation of $15 per bike is requested. While the donation isn’t mandatory, it’s strongly advised, Haas said. “We strongly recommend participation for the shipping to cover part of the shipping cost,” he said. “It actually costs more than $15 to do the whole handling and delivering on the other end but that contribution is very strongly suggested.”

In exchange, donors receive a tax receipt for the market value of the bike and the cash donation. “Someone from Cyclo Nord-Sud is there and they can actually evaluate the bicycle,” Haas said. “They will give an official receipt that people can put with their tax returns.”

Based on last year’s experience, Haas said as news spreads about this year’s event he expects people to phone with questions. “Last year we had a few calls with people asking what’s going to happen to the bicycle or asking about the $15 or general questions such as if they should do something to the bike before bringing it. The answer being ‘No.’

“You just bring it, there’s quite a few volunteers who will just turn the handlebars to make sure the bicycles take as little space as possible in the truck,” he said. “People who bring the bicycles don’t have to worry about that.”

Haas said the coGovélo collective, a, “crew of bicycle enthusiasts” whose actions include repairing bikes free of charge at Ste. Anne’s Market, learned about Cyclo Nord-Sud while hanging out with fellow bike enthusiasts at Santropol Roulant downtown.

‘We heard of collections being organized so we decided to have one because we’re all about sharing,” he said. “We are bicycle people and it’s a mode of transportation without any hydrocarbons.”

As well, Haas used to have a roommate from Senegal. “We realized from talking to him that in Senegal, in most of Africa culturally they don’t do that (bicycling) very easily, they just walk or take cars.

“It’s an attempt to help Africa to get on two wheels,” Haas said. “If we send bicycles to Africa the hope is that culturally there’s a shift... we want to see more bicycles in Africa.”

For more information about Cyclo Nord-Sud or the upcoming event, call Don Tito at (514) 457-0858.

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