Bi­cy­cle parts keep the wheels spin­ning overseas

Truro Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY - BY LYNN CUR­WIN lynn.cur­win@truro­daily.com

David Parks looks at bi­cy­cle parts as a way to pro­mote so­cial change.

On a re­cent trip to Uganda, Parks dis­cov­ered an or­ga­ni­za­tion that en­cour­ages chil­dren to bi­cy­cle to­gether. e group’s goal is to help young­sters de­velop friend­ships, de­ter­ring them from tak­ing part in in­ter-com­mu­nity ri­valry, im­prove self-es­teem, and give them bike re­pair skills they can use to earn money when they’re older.

One of the main prob­lems is the lack of bi­cy­cle parts in the area, and Parks de­cided to do some­thing about that. He posted on Hal­i­fax Cy­cle Chat, ask­ing for do­na­tions of bi­cy­cle parts.

“I was amazed with the re- sponse,” he said. “I’m head­ing back soon, and I have enough parts to ll my ex­tra suit­cases.

“I will col­lect more though, be­cause I’ll be mak­ing more trips.”

Parks, who lives in Hal­i­fax, works at the Dal AC cam­pus in Bible Hill, and was in Uganda as a project co­or­di­na­tor.

“I wanted to nd a bike be­cause bik­ing is the best way to see places,” he said. “You can in­ter­act with peo­ple in a way you can’t when you travel by car.

“It’s also a good way to get over jet lag, be­cause it tires you out and you get a good sleep.”

He rented a bike through Go Free Uganda, and a group of chil­dren, aged 10 to 15, took him on a four-hour tour around Kam­pala. Although he spends con­sid­er­able time on a bi­cy­cle at home, he found it di cult to keep up with the young­sters.

“We were at fairly high el­e­va­tions with rough ter­rain and steep hills, and the sun was beat­ing down on us,” he said.

Mo­tor­cy­cle taxi driv­ers who don’t re­spect rules of the road add to the peril. Parks said he’s rode in Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Manila and Mex­ico City, and found cy­cling in Kam­pala the most di cult.

Be­cause of these is­sues, there are no stores sell­ing new bi­cy­cles – mean­ing few sec­ond-hand bikes, or bike parts.

“What might be junk to you could help oth­ers,” said Parks. “They need ped­als, brake pads, ca­bles, chain rings, brack­ets, chains, shifters, in­ner tubes, seats…

“Vol­un­teers run the pro­grams so they don’t need a lot of money, but they do need parts.”

Parks will be trav­el­ling to Uganda ev­ery four to six weeks for some time, and is will­ing to take parts each time. He can be con­tacted through his post on Hal­i­fax Cy­cle Chat (https://www.face­book. com/groups/hal­i­fax­cy­clechat/ ).

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Bi­cy­cle parts from Nova Sco­tia are head­ing overseas to help with Go Free Uganda pro­grams. The group hopes bi­cy­cling will as­sist in bring­ing about pos­i­tive so­cial change.

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