By spokesman | August 16, 2011
Three months ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “Why Does Whole Foods Hate Bicycles” that discussed a new Whole Foods that opened along a bike path but didn’t have a bike rack for shoppers. Coincidently on the first weekend that the Whole Foods was open, they sponsored a collection of used bicycles by Bikes For The World for distribution in developing countries. A recent Washington Post article on Bikes For The World documented the delivery of donated bicycles in Costa Rica. For the recipients, the bicycles can make a significant difference in their lives. Some use their new bike to ride to school and others ride to work. An impoverished worker in Costa Rica may ride one of the bikes to a plantation to pick coffee beans that are sold by Whole Foods to the former owner of the bike.
Costa Rican Coffee At North Bethesda Whole Foods
Whole Foods never responded to my original post despite the fact that I emailed them and printed out the post and gave it to the store manager. However, Bikes For The World did respond. They wrote:
Thanks for your message. Sorry for the delay in reply—it’s been a hectic few weeks. In the meantime, I trust you have brought the matter to Whole Foods’ attention. Given the company’s attempts at a green image and the fact that they have bike racks at other stores I’ve been to, it is a surprise to me that they didn’t initially have one at the new N Bethesda store. Although, like you, I find it disappointing they didn’t have a bike rack on opening day, I would imagine that it’s coming, only it’s disappointingly lower in their construction priorities. SO yes, ironic the juxtaposition of the lack of bike racks and the collection of bikes. Where I object to your text is your stated assumption that for Whole Foods Markets or Bikes for the World to collect unwanted and unused bikes DISCOURAGES cycling here. On the contrary, Bikes for the World is very much about supporting biking here, and everywhere. Bikes are not just for poor people in poor countries, they are for all of us. To that end, we help U.S. residents put their old unused bikes to good use, making space for purchasing a new bike – one that fits them better, is of better quality, is in ride-able condition, etc. Except for retirees who donate to us, most people have upgraded before or will upgrade after donating their bike, and continue riding—hopefully more. So please take that message to the cycling and general public. We make use of bikes that people here are not riding, but that through taking advantage of lower wage scales and greater need for affordable transportation, can be used productively overseas, empowering the recipients and building a cycling culture worldwide. Thanks for hearing me out. And thanks again for doing what you do to nudge corporate and citizen America toward a more sustainable, bike-friendly culture.
If you have an old bike in your basement or garage, consider donating it to Bikes For The World. And if you are in Whole Foods, ask about a bike rack.
Topics: Washington DC |