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Non-profit hopes ‘Baristas for Bikes’ leads to bikes in Rwanda

Posted by on March 26th, 2008 at 12:37 pm

Local non-profit Bikes to Rwanda has launched a new effort to raise awareness and funds for their programs.

A farmer on one of the Bikes to Rwanda cargo bikes.
(Photo: Bikes to Rwanda)

Bikes to Rwanda was founded last year by Stumptown Coffee’s Duane Sorenson. Their mission is to provide cargo bikes to coffee farmers in Rwanda and to establish bike shops in the communities once the bikes are there.

Their new effort, dubbed “Baristas for Bikes” will launch at the upcoming Western Region Barista Competition being held in Berkeley, California at the end of March.

As part of “Baristas for Bikes,” baristas participating in the competition are being challenged to raise $120, the amount needed to purchase one bike (including shipping). Baristas that raise the money by March 30th will receive a limited edition T-shirt and then become eligible to win various prizes.

I asked Bikes to Rwanda Executive Director Clara Seasholtz why they decided to focus on baristas. She said, “As the first point of contact, the barista has a unique opportunity to reach the consumer and complete the full circle from coffee farmer, roaster, barista and the cup of coffee put in the hands of the customer.”

Clara plans to kick off the program at the upcoming competition and says that eventually, “we want it to spread out over the entire barista community all over the country.”

A Bikes to Rwanda postcard.

In 2007, Bikes to Rwanda sent 400 bikes and built one bike shop in Rwanda. They’re building a second shop now and their main objective for 2008 is to build more shops to support the bikes already in the country.

For a closer look at the work of Bikes to Rwanda, see this awesome video created by GOOD Magazine.

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  • Kronda March 26, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Bikes and coffee. What a perfectly Portland combination. Fabulous!

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  • BikingViking March 27, 2008 at 7:22 am

    This sounds like a great program.

    Just out of curiosity, how can a cargo bike be purchased and shipped all the way to Rwanda for $120? Than seems amazingly inexpensive for a cargo bike, even without the shipping.

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  • Jeff March 27, 2008 at 10:26 am

    I believe $120 is what the farmers who purchase bikes from the program are required to pay. The same bikes are for sale in the U.S. for something like $800-900, I think… and profits from those sales help subsidize the low costs to farmers. I can\’t find the link, but I remember something along those lines — I\’m sure someone else has the actual details!

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  • faly March 28, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    these coffee bikes are specially designed & manufactured. they\’re sourcing from china & buying/shipping in bulk (500 bike lots). 120 is cost

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