Bicycles abandoned at train stations are donated to rural Africa

Pile of abandoned bicycles

Abandoned cycles from Greater Anglia stations - Credit: Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia has donated 333 abandoned bicycles to Re-Cycle, a charity which takes used bicycles and ships them to rural communities in Africa.  

Throughout 2020, the train operator carried out cycle tagging, attaching notices to bicycles parked in station racks. More than 1,000 cycles were tagged across several stations including Cambridge cycle point, Chelmsford, Broxbourne and Norwich. 

Cyclists were asked to remove the tag to indicate the bicycle was being used. Any cycles left with tags after a period of time were then removed and donated to charity.

During 2020, more than 500 cycles were removed and 333 bikes were donated to charity.

Two men standing in front of a van containing bicycles

Representatives from Re-cycle take the bicycles away - Credit: Greater Anglia

Krzysztof Drozd, Greater Anglia station cleaning and waste manager, said: “We are very pleased to support Re-Cycle by donating these abandoned bikes from various station across our network.

“People living in rural Africa can walk for miles a day to collect water, or to get to school or work. A bike can change someone’s life, and we are pleased to be able to help Re-Cycle with their mission to help people in Africa access sustainable bike transport.

“We would like to remind passengers that our cycle storage facilities are for short term use only and people should not leave cycles for longer periods of time.

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“We would also advise cyclists to use good quality locks while securing their bikes.”

Claire Kettle, operations director for the charity Re-Cycle said: “Re-Cycle is delighted to partner with Greater Anglia and very grateful for all of the abandoned bicycles donated to us this year.  These bikes help so many people in Africa with no other transport options to be independent and the added benefit of our reuse and repurpose ethic, is fewer bikes being sent to landfill in the UK.” 

Colchester-based Re-Cycle takes used bikes and sends them to rural communities in Africa. The charity also provides training to mechanics on how to service and repair the bikes, enabling a bike to become more sustainable.