Retirees create charity to give world greater mobility

LONDON: Retirees are behind an international movement providing reconstituted bicycles to give mobility for those most in need.

There are three sheds at the back of Peter and Cheryl Moore’s property — one contains the retired couple’s prized motorbikes, another is Cheryl’s tool shed where boys are not allowed, and in the third a group of men work on dozens of bicycles.

In five years the Geraldton group has repaired, restored and re-homed more than 1,800 bikes as part of Bicycles for Humanity, an international group focused on creating basic mobility for those in need.

With bikes set up on tables and hanging from straps attached to the rafters, one of the men uses a hand-held machine to buff down a pair of handlebars to prepare them for a coat of paint.

Another fiddles with the pedals of a bike resting upside down on a workbench.

The bikes are all donated. Some arrive in great condition. Others show the signs of a life well-used. But every one of them is carefully assessed and manicured to a condition the men are satisfied with.

Once finished, the bikes are either shipped off to a community in need, donated locally, or sold to raise funds for Rotary.

It was at a Rotary meeting in 2018 that Mr Moore first heard about Bicycles for Humanity.

“We decided we could do the same thing up here,” he said.

“I’m always tinkering in my sheds. We’ve got the facilities, and now the guys are getting pretty well skilled at pulling bikes to bits and fixing them up.

“I taught them everything they know,” he joked.

It is a far cry from his working life with decades of experience from the Australian Federal Police and United Nations.

Since the group started, word of what the men were doing spread around town. It has meant no shortage of bikes donated by locals or police when they could not track down the rightful owner.

“We often come home and there’s bikes of all types and sizes and conditions,” Mr Moore said.

A recent delivery of 150 bikes to East Timor had a very personal link for Mr Moore who lived there during his work with the UN.

“We had a 20 footer [container] in the backyard and the wife wasn’t very impressed about that,” Mr Moore said.

“She was very pleased to see it on its way. It’s all good fun.

“I’ve seen how much joy the people get out [of things such as this] and what a need they’ve got for transport.

“The poor buggers, they’re pushing carts around and that sort of thing, so they’re really grateful for any help.”

When the men take a morning break from their work they argue over who taught who and tuck into a plate of iced cupcakes made by Mrs Moore.

“It’s a pretty good thing to do, it’s like a men’s shed thing,” Mr Moore said.

“The boys like coming here and Cheryl makes cakes and things and we feed them up. And we do a lot of talking about solving the problems of the world.

“We meet a lot of people coming through the door. I make everyone write their names in the book.”