13:43 19 Jun 2024

War-torn Ukrainian communities receive over 1,800 bicycles from global donors through #BikesForUkraine initiative

The BikesForUkraine movement has led to more than 1,800 bicycles being donated from various countries to communities in Ukraine that have been affected by war. Rubryka will explain the motivation behind this initiative and detail how it operates.

What is the problem?

During the height of the war, the bicycle became a crucial means of transportation for much of Ukraine as issues with public transportation and gasoline supply emerged. Responding to calls from the volunteer movement, the #BikesForUkraine initiative was born in the aftermath of the Russian invasion in the spring of 2022. The focus is on supporting communities in Ukraine impacted by the war, as well as areas that have been de-occupied, where streets and roads have been destroyed and public transportation is not functioning.

What is the solution?

During the two years of the #BikesForUkraine international humanitarian campaign, it was possible to hand over 1,827 bicycles to 73 war-affected Ukrainian communities in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa and other regions of Ukraine.

#BikesForUkraine велосипеди для громад

These bicycles help volunteers of humanitarian headquarters, social workers, medics, and other critical public services during the war, internally displaced persons in temporarily created modular towns, and children in de-occupied territories to be more mobile.

Bicycle transport donated as part of the #BikesForUkraine campaign:

  • increases mobility in frontline communities,
  • makes humanitarian and other aid more accessible to those who need it most,
  • increases social cohesion in communities far from the front line,
  • helps improve the mental health of children and adults.

Currently, bicycles have been handed over to over 150 public organizations, charitable foundations, and communal institutions in Ukraine.

How does it work?

In frontline and de-occupied cities and communities, #BikesForUkraine bicycles have allowed volunteer organizations to:

  • deliver humanitarian aid faster in Mykolaiv and Kharkiv;
  • assist those in need in Okhtyrka and Trostyanka in the Sumy region;
  • go on business trips for Lozova doctors in the Kharkiv region and patrol police officers in Chernihiv;
  • enable children in Bucha and the villages of the Bucha community to get to school and participate in cycling groups together.

#BikesForUkraine велосипеди для громад

Far from the front line, children and their parents use bicycles for psychological relief.

"We help others to help: upon receiving a request, we look for partners abroad who can help close this request and transfer to Ukraine, if necessary, organize bicycle repair and logistics in Ukraine, process each transfer to the balance sheet of an organization or institution, and communicate the results and stories of the campaign in social networks and media.

For more photos and stories about those who received bicycles, see the #BikesForUkraine Instagram page. Subscribe and share our stories. This will help us find new aid for Ukraine," explains U-Cycle #BikesForUkraine campaign coordinator Roman Buturlakin.

During the two years of the #BikesForUkraine international campaign, social bicycle workshops have appeared in Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Odesa. In these workshops, bicycles are repaired on volunteer bicycle racks accompanied by professional bicycle mechanics.

#BikesForUkraine велосипеди для громад

"The stories of #BikesForUkraine are impressive and show the wonders of the solidarity of the civilized world with Ukraine. Behind each of the 1,827 bicycles donated, there is too much human effort to describe.

A brother and sister from Norway collected about 30 bicycles in their community and money for their transfer and brought them by bus to Uzhgorod. From there, the bicycles went to volunteers in Mykolaiv and children in Chernihiv.

Activists of the Berlin organization Changing Cities collected more than 100 used bicycles and handed them over by German and Ukrainian railways to Kharkiv volunteers who deliver humanitarian aid.

Employees of the European Commission transport department collected used bicycles from EU residents for a whole month in their spare time. They collected as many as 470, then a logistics company brought them to Kyiv for free. Among them were ten bicycles from the Brussels police, which were given to Chernihiv bicycle patrols," U-Cycle communications coordinator Maryna Bludsha said.

How to become an ambassador of #BikesForUkraine

You can help the international humanitarian campaign #BikesForUkraine in various ways:

  • independently purchase bicycles abroad or in Ukraine and transfer them to U-Cycle;
  • collect and repair used bicycles in your city and organize their transfer to Ukraine;
  • for socially responsible bicycle businesses in Ukraine and abroad: hand over your bicycles, accessories, spare parts, and boxes for bicycle repair;
  • Fund logistics, repairs, and other campaign needs on the accounts of U-Cycle (Cyclist Association of Kyiv).

As of today, the co-organizers of the #BikesForUkraine campaign have closed half of the requests received from the communities and handed over 1,827 bicycles. The number of requests is currently 3,721 and is constantly growing.

The initiative requires financial backing in addition to brand-new and pre-owned bicycles. Throughout the two-year project, the activists collected 1,472,512 hryvnias in donations, of which 1,332,851 hryvnias have already been utilized.

#BikesForUkraine велосипеди для громад

The collected funds go to:

  • logistics (delivery of bicycles to communities, rental of a warehouse in Kyiv for storing received bicycles, and a bicycle workshop for repairs),
  • spare parts for bicycle repair,
  • lights, bike racks, fenders, etc.

For reference:

The volunteer initiative #BikesForUkraine arose in response to the requests of the volunteer movement after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. The #BikesForUkraine humanitarian campaign was launched on May 5, 2022, by six Ukrainian public organizations from different cities of Ukraine: U-Cycle (Cyclist Association of Kyiv NGO), Eco City NGO (Chernihiv), Extreme Style Youth Association (Sumy), NGO "Urban Reforms" (Kharkiv), NGO "FORZA" (Uzhhorod), NGO "VeloVector" (Odesa), and later NGO "VeloFormat" (Odesa), cargo bike delivery Cargo Cult and bicycle workshop LifeCycle (Kyiv) joined the campaign.

For two years, the international campaign was supported by 84 #BikesForUkraine ambassadors from 18 countries: cycling communities and clubs, public organizations, bicycle businesses, global and European institutions from Ukraine, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Lithuania, Croatia, and other countries.

The issue of delivering a large batch of bicycles from the USA, collected as part of the #BikesForUkraine campaign, is open — help is needed with delivery to Kyiv from the port in Lithuania.

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