Qhubeka is sometimes asked why we distribute new bicycles in our programmes, rather than second-hand bicycles. We’ve put together some information to explain:
Quality and fairness
We run learn-to-earn, work-to-earn and disaster relief programmes that give people the opportunity to earn bicycles in various ways. We believe that in honouring their hard work, Qhubeka should provide people with the best bicycles possible.
By only distributing new Qhubeka Bicycles, we can also ensure that each beneficiary receives the same quality of bicycle. Qhubeka Bicycles have been specially designed to last and have been tested in tough working conditions. They are sturdy, can carry up to 250kg, and have been through rigorous safety testing.
We cannot guarantee that second-hand bicycles have been through the same testing, which means potentially compromising our commitment to safety and durability. Some used bicycles might also be in better condition than others. By distributing second-hand bicycles, we would not be able to guarantee that each beneficiary would receive the same quality of bicycle.
Logistics and job creation
Qhubeka supports local job creation and technical innovation, which is why are working towards distributing bicycles conceptualised, designed, manufactured and assembled in South Africa.
Our bicycles are assembled in South Africa, which enables us to manage shipping costs by optimally packing containers. Importing already-assembled bicycles would dramatically increase our shipping and transport costs.
Our bicycle assembly plants also provide work and training opportunities for people living in the local communities in which they operate. Given South Africa’s high unemployment rates, Qhubeka believes that providing skills development and work opportunities is a priority.
Spare parts and sustainability
Qhubeka Bicycles are designed to be compatible with locally available spare parts. Qhubeka also trains bicycle mechanics in the communities in which we operate to ensure the ongoing maintenance, and thus the longevity, of the bicycles we distribute.
We focus on training bicycle mechanics to service and repair Qhubeka Bicycles, which require minimal tools, and we provide them with these tools, as well as basic business training, and access to our spare parts supply chain.
This fosters enterprise development, and helps to ensure the long-term sustainability of our bicycle programmes.
Some second-hand bicycles might be more complex than our Qhubeka Bicycle, or require different tools and spare parts for repairs. It would be impossible to train the same volume of bicycle mechanics if we had to try to teach the skills required to repair all the different bicycle models available.