How Zagster’s Bike Donations Build Community, Promote Inclusion, and Help the Environment

How Zagster’s Bike Donations Build Community, Promote Inclusion, and Help the Environment

by Zagster

By David Romberger and Reid Wilson

David Romberger is Zagster’s Manager of Logistics and Supply Chain. He’s responsible for ensuring that Zagster’s physical assets (including bikes) are received and delivered when and where Zagster needs them. Reid Wilson is a Fulfillment Team Supervisor who manages employees at the operations center as they handle shipments coming in and out of Zagster. David and Reid collaborate on Zagster’s bike donation program.


Why does Zagster donate bikes? It’s about building community, driving inclusion around biking, and keeping usable bikes out of landfills. We don't want more garbage, which hurts the environment, or to waste potentially valuable community assets (i.e., bikes). We can instead donate these “fair-or-better” condition bikes so community members can benefit. 

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The non-profit organizations we’ve already donated bikes to are working specifically with people of color and also helping underprivileged youth build life and business skills. We've also donated bikes designed for riders with physical disabilities. The major drivers of our bike donation partnerships have been inclusion, bike equity, helping the environment, and community-building.

Zagster is part of the communities we serve: we are literally helping our communities come together by giving people the mobility to access opportunities like jobs, services, and recreation. We're taking limitations away, creating access through bikes -- and bike donations are part of our mission to put community first.

The major drivers of our bike donation partnerships have been inclusion, bike equity, helping the environment, and community-building.

We also love biking and what bikes can do for people. One of Zagster’s goals is to have people fall in love with the places they live. If you're in a car, you're moving around too quickly in a closed metal box and you're physically separated from community spaces you're moving through. Getting more people on bicycles creates so many benefits, such as reducing carbon footprints, helping people's health and safety, getting folks interacting more fully with their surroundings, boosting local economies, and more. 

How Bikes Become Available and Who Gets Them

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In our bike share programs, we make a commitment to replace our bikes every three years with brand new bikes. When that three-year period is over, the used bikes still have life in them, but we no longer need them for our programs. We don’t want to just toss them into landfills.

We prefer to donate bikes to local, community-based organizations that have non-profit status. Geographic proximity is preferable because we're trying to reduce our carbon footprint: we don’t want to be transporting donated bikes from one end of the country to another. More importantly, we're looking to ensure the bikes continue to see life in the community they’re already in and are giving people opportunities to ride bikes who wouldn't otherwise have them. 

Community Impacts from Bike Donations

We’ve already seen some amazing impacts on communities from our bike donations. Neighborhood Bike Works in West Philadelphia, to whom we’ve donated bikes, has a program where underprivileged youth earn bikes by attending classes in bike repair and through volunteering. These young people also get mentoring and coaching in life and business skills. Some of these community members have even used their new skills to get jobs in established bike shops, and some have even opened their own bike-related businesses, which is awesome. NBW provides young people with structure and a nurturing, caring environment, which helps keep them moving toward success.

We’re seeking to create a virtuous cycle (pun intended) where people give help, where you create a climate of helping. and then more people pay it forward. We’re proud to be partnering with some amazing, community-based organizations on bike donations.

Another group, The ACLAMO (Latin American Community Action of Montgomery County) Family Center in Norristown (PA), has a similar focus on using bikes to empower young people and communities. They have a great program where families come in and work on bikes together. The families keep the bikes they’ve worked on, and it might be a kid's first bike or a teenager's new bike. We’ve also donated bikes to groups such as Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg and The Greater Philadelphia Bike Coalition. We just love to see bikes helping young people and families in our communities.

Satisfaction From Helping Others

We’ve both gained tremendous personal satisfaction from Zagster’s efforts to donate bikes to community organizations. We’ll each speak personally about the reasons for that satisfaction:

Reid: Too often these days, it feels like we live in a dog-eat-dog. me-first world. But my work on bike donations has shown this isn’t the only, or even the dominant, narrative. People truly care about each other, community-based organizations care about the people within them, and they're putting that into practice every single day, in helping-hand fashion, on behalf of their communities.

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We’re seeking to create a virtuous cycle (pun intended) where people give help, where you create a climate of helping. and then more people pay it forward. We’re proud to be partnering with some amazing, community-based organizations on bike donations.

David: I’m in this because I love riding bikes. I'm 38 years old and each time I get on a bike, it makes me feel like I'm an 8-year-old again. That feeling of joy is just indescribable. 

I just want to share that feeling with everyone who's willing to give biking a try, including people who lack the financial means to buy a bike or anyone else who’s facing barriers to biking. I want to topple those barriers and get everyone out on bikes. Our bike donations advance exactly that goal. Community-based initiatives such as bike donations make me proud to be part of the team here at Zagster.

For more information about bike donations, please contact us.