Although bicycles can save the Earth from global warming by reducing carbon emissions, there’s still the problem of broken and unusable bicycles that linger in most dumpsites and vacant lots. These unfortunately abandoned bicycles could still have a purpose – and we’ll cover them in this article.
A bike can still have so much purpose in life even after serving you on the road. Bicycles have a lot of useful parts, such as metal scraps, and the tires could also become subjects of recycling programs, much like with car tires.
So, are you wondering about what to do with old bikes? This guide will help you out. Whether you want to donate or recycle them, there are many ways for you to dispose of your bikes in a good way.
Donate Old Bikes To Charity
If your bike is still kind of functioning and it just got smaller for you, it’s possible to donate them to charity. There are a plethora of charities around the world, not just in the United States, and many children, teens, and adults long to have a bike of their own.
Here are the benefits of donating your old bikes to charity:
- You’re doing an act of goodwill. Many charitable organizations use bicycles as a recreation program for the youth and other minority groups. Giving your unused bike to them will create a new purpose for the bike that will help others.
- You help in lessening landfill problems. If you throw your old bike away to a dumpsite, chances are, it will fill up the dumpsite much faster, resulting in environmental problems. Instead of throwing it away, why not send it to a local recycling facility or donate it?
- You give other bikes a chance to live again. Old bikes, even if they can’t be ridden anymore, can still be used. Take out some of its working parts and some people might be able to repair another bike with them – and they don’t have to buy additional parts!
Does Goodwill Take Bicycles?
As an international charitable organization that accepts material donations, Goodwill has been all over the world accepting various kinds of donations, such as computers, clothing, office equipment, and the like. Goodwill does this to help lessen landfill problems around the world and also giving back to the community.
Whether or not Goodwill takes bicycles as donations depends on several factors. Here’s how you can donate your bicycle to your local Goodwill branch:
- Get in touch with your local Goodwill center. Not all Goodwill centers will accept all kinds of donations because it depends on their operational capabilities. Some might not accept bicycles but don’t give up – they might refer you to another Goodwill center that takes bicycles as a donation.
Goodwill centers in the city or an area with a plethora of physical space will most likely take old bikes as a donation, so it’s best to try your luck there. Ask them any requirements needed when you take your bicycle to their center.
- Clean your bicycle. A bike that’s supposed to be donated should still look pristine so that the next owner won’t feel disgusted with it (and also for sanitary reasons). You can clean your bike easily with regular soap and water. If your bike has a lot of stains, use acetone or rubbing alcohol, but don’t overdo it to avoid screwing up the paint.
- Check the bike for damages. A bike that’s meant to be donated should still have usable parts and should have overall safety for the next rider. Inflate the tires with the correct pressure, secure the bike seat properly, and check the reflectors if they are still working.
Check for any signs of corrosion and look to see if there are nuts screws and other loose parts. If possible, repaint certain parts to make them more presentable, especially if the paint started cracking.
Last, but not least, give the bike a little test drive. If the bike no longer fits, you can ask someone to test drive for you (with your supervision, of course).
- Be honest with the bike’s condition. Don’t try to give out the bike if you find that there are serious problems with it. Even so, you have to be honest with your bike’s condition by listing out all of the possible problems. Charitable organizations prefer a person who is very honest with what they have to offer rather than lie about it.
If you believe that the bike can still be repaired before donation (or if Goodwill advised you to do so), you can take the bike to a repair shop. A little investment goes a long way for the next rider.
- Send off your bike to Goodwill. Once your bike has been fully restored and if you have all the necessary documents required, Goodwill should take your bike for donation. However, if Goodwill refused for some reason, don’t feel distraught – there are many other local charities to choose from!
There are also neighborhood cycling centers that are willing to take old bikes. This is your last resort if your bike simply isn’t road-worthy anymore. These cycling centers might take your bike apart and use the parts to create or repair better bikes, so your bicycle won’t be put to waste.
Where To Donate Used Bicycles
Are you considering donating your bicycle? There are many options just for you. Here are some places where you can do so:
- Bike New York. NYC has a bicycle recycling program so this is an option for you if your bike is beyond repairable condition. Even if your bike isn’t road-worthy anymore, Bike New York will take them and sell any other usable parts from your bike. This organization sends its proceeds to a good cause – a bicycle education program.
- Goodwill. As mentioned above, you can take your old bike to a local Goodwill center since they accept nearly all kinds of material donations, which includes bikes. Of course, this option is only ideal for you if your bike is still working but, for some reason, you can’t ride it anymore due to size or physical restrictions or you simply don’t have time for it anymore.
- Find a local bike or junk shop. These facilities will recycle your bike parts so that they can be used to repair other bicycles in need. Among these facilities and/or services include 1-800-Got-Junk, which will send your bike to a recycling facility.
- upCYCLE. If you live in the United Kingdom, upCYCLE takes old bicycles to charitable organizations within London. With the bikes that they take as donations, they can use them to train people from minority ethnic groups into riding a bicycle.
How to recycle an old bike
If you don’t have a local recycling facility for bikes or charities won’t take them, you can still recycle some parts of your old bike. Here are some ideas:
- Turn your bicycle wheels into support for your climbing plants. The wheels will act as a support so that your creepers in the garden will have a place to thrive.
- Use your bike rims as wall décor. Shiny and metallic bike rims (and even rusted ones) will look good on the wall as décor, especially for coffee shops.
- Make garden chairs out of your old bike tires. Cut out the bike tires and you can use them as the arm part of your garden chair.
- Create a chandelier using your old bike rim. Simply attach lights onto the bike rim and presto – you have a pristine-looking DIY chandelier!
- Use the bike rim as a wall clock. Not only does this look classic and unique, but it’s also eco-friendly!
- Add hooks to your bike rim and turn it into a kitchen potholder. If you’re not too keen on the chandelier project, you can just turn the bike rim into a potholder.
- Use your bike chains into a hanging lamp. This gives your lamp a rustic feel – perfect for ancestral homes.
- Piece together bike parts (or the whole bike) into a DIY fence or gate. It could be an old bike that’s worn out, or you can even use bike parts that have been pieced apart.
- Turn the chainring into a stool. If the chainring is still quite durable, you can weld it onto some steel bars and turn it into an instant stool.
- Bikes with baskets can be used as garden plant holders. Nothing looks more classy and vintage than an old basket bike – and you can use it to beautify your garden!
As a whole, riding your bike might have been fun while it lasted, but all physical items do meet their end. If your bike has to go, you shouldn’t just ditch it in an empty lot or send it to the landfill – donate it instead. There are still so many bike parts that can be used from it, even if it isn’t road-worthy anymore.