Bicycles-to-the-Developing-World organisations such as Pedals for Progress in the US and Re~Cycle in UK will not be shipping out re-furbed bikes to countries impacted by the tsunami. There's no need, they say ("Asia is bike-central") and countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India have indigenous bicycle industries. However, the US-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy says the bikes its been promised from Fuji will be provided to the main US relief charity and will not be 'coals to Newcastle'.

ITDP says Fuji bikes going to US AID, calls for more new bikes from US companies

Lisa Peterson, communications and development director of the ITDP of New York, told

"We agree with Pedals for Progress and Re~Cycle that sending used bikes into a disaster stricken area may not be useful, because usually used bikes are not in very good condition and need significant repairs and spare parts, all of which are time consuming and logistically complex. These are not the things relief workers need to be worrying about right now.

"When Fuji and others with bicycles contacted us with interest in donating new bicycles to disaster relief workers, we weren’t sure if we could get them into the hands of people who could use them productively. Getting emergency material aid into tsunami-stricken areas is not something we have done before.

"We contacted a number of relief organizations, and they said that they could not accept material donations and would prefer cash contributions.

"However, US AID has a big relief operation in Indonesia, and they have expressed interest in the Fuji bikes. Certainly the bikes can be used, there is so much to do, but our contacts at US AID were just leaving for Aceh and asked us to give them a few days to clarify the situation. So we just don’t know yet how soon, how many, what types, or for what purpose bicycles would be needed."

Peterson said the ITDP would welcome more donations of new bikes.

"Given the outpouring of generosity from US businesses and individuals in response to the tsunami, we are more than willing to facilitate connections between bicycle donors and relief organizations that can use them. We feel it is up to the relief organizations to determine what type of materials are needed – including transportation vehicles – and if it is appropriate to accept donated materials from abroad.

"In an emergency situation, we feel that it doesn’t matter where the bikes were made so long as the right bike gets into the hands of those who need them."

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