Qhubeka is sometimes asked why we used new bicycles in our programmes, or why we don’t use second hand bicycles. People have also contacted us looking to donate used bicycles over the years, so we’ve put together an explanation on why we use new bicycles instead of used ones in our projects:
Quality and dignity
Qhubeka’s programme recipients earn their bicycles by working to improve their academic results, the environment or their communities. Bicycles assist in providing beneficiaries with mobility and access to opportunity, and therefore dignity. We believe that in honouring their hard work, Qhubeka should provide beneficiaries with the best bicycles possible. For this reason, we only supply Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles, designed and tested by World Bicycle Relief. These bicycles are subjected to rigorous field testing and are specifically designed for rough, rural African terrain. They are sturdy, can carry up to 250kg, and are built to last. Their robustness is why they are named after the African buffalo. Read more about Our Bike here.
Were we to accept second hand bicycles, we would not be able to vouch for their durability. We would also possibly risk compromising our commitment to safety by distributing bicycles that we had not tested as thoroughly.
Logistics, branding and job creation
Qhubeka ships its bicycle parts to South Africa in containers. When they arrive, the bicycles are put together at our rural assembly factories by members of the local community, which creates jobs and training opportunities that would otherwise not have existed. We can fit 1,100 bicycles in a container. If, however, we had to transport used bicycles, we would only be able to fit about 200 in a container, thus increasing our shipping and transport costs substantially. Our taxes and duties would also increase, meaning that the cost would actually outweigh the value of buying new bicycles.
Our Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles are also designed to give opportunities for corporate branding, which in turn helps us to subsidise our programmes.
Equality and fairness
If we were to accept bicycle donations, each bicycle would be different. Some might be in better condition than others. We would not be able to guarantee that each beneficiary would receive the same quality of bicycle, which would be unfair.
Spare parts and bicycle businesses
Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles are designed to be compatible with locally available spare parts. Qhubeka bicycle mechanics are also trained in maintenance of Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles and able to access genuine Buffalo Bicycle spare parts when they establish micro bicycle businesses in Qhubeka programme communities. If Qhubeka were to accept second hand bicycle donations, we would not be able to supply spare parts compatible with every recipient’s bicycle, or to assist bicycle entrepreneurs in building their businesses.
This post is part of our #QHUandA series. If you have a burning question about our work send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to answer it.