The Royal Mail has a fleet of 33 000 bicycles. Yesterday it started a programme to send the older bicycles out to the developing world as new bikes are introduced

Bikes posted overseas

Hundreds of ex-delivery bikes will have a new lease of life in Africa when they are the first to be recycled under a new Royal Mail initiative launched yesterday.

Royal Mails Bicycle Recycle project will provide a massive boost in donations for Lottery funded charity, Re-Cycle, which will send out-of-service delivery bikes to South Africa and other developing countries. The scheme will provide a transport lifeline for communities who would otherwise have to travel great distances by foot.

The major new initiative was launched with hundreds of bikes and thousands of spare parts loaded up nation-wide with the help of postal staff and packed for delivery to South Africas Midrand Eco-City project near Johannesburg.

Midrand residents will use the bikes as essential transport for commuting to school and work as well as delivering vegetables and collecting items for recycling. Each recipient attends a workshop to learn how to care and repair for their cycle.

Royal Mail bicycle disposal policy is being formally reviewed to make the environmentally and socially responsible scheme an on-going success. This could enable Royal Mail to donate up to 4500 of their 33 000 fleet of bicycles every year to good causes as new bikes are phased in on a seven year replacement policy.

Alan Todd, Head of Social Programmes for Royal Mail said: We have the largest fleet of bicycles in the country and both ourselves and our staff were keen to see older bikes being sent to such a good cause."

Merlin Matthews, Director of Re-Cycle, said: I cannot over-emphasise how much these donations are appreciated. Until now, 2000 bikes and spare parts have been donated by members of the public and cycle shops, which weve sent to Zambia, Haiti, Kenya and South Africa.

Royal Mail is giving us tremendous support by donating such large numbers of bikes that are ideally designed for carrying loads and helping people in these communities.

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