Written by Elspeth Wright on 04.05.17

As Montrealers, we are pretty lucky: we live in one of the best cities in the world with a great metro system and buses that are usually, almost always, sometimes, on time (unless there’s weather). In Montreal, it’s cheap and easy to get around and enjoy the beautiful and vibrant city we are lucky enough to live in. Unfortunately, there are countless people worldwide not as well-off as us. Numerous people around the world have no option but to walk for hours just to get to work or school. This is where Cyclo Nord-Sud comes in.

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Originally founded in a Montreal church basement in 1998 to promote cycling as a means of urban transportation, Cyclo Nord-Sud has since begun collecting used bicycles and donating them to people in need. Since the time of their first bike drive in 1999, and subsequent first donation in 2000, Cyclo Nord- Sud has donated more than 55,000 bikes.

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The bicycles collected are given to children to get to school, women in need of more independence and equality, and farmers allowing them to smoothly get from their fields to markets to more easily make a living. There is no question that these bicycles are changing the lives of those in need.

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What’s also great is that each bike makes a substantial difference. Bikes that are not fit for the road can be used to create tools such as water pumps, generators, grinding and sharpening mills, to name a few.

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If you have a bike to give this is a terrific cause. Bikes are always being collected with an upcoming drive taking place on May 27 at Parc Berthier, from 10am to 2pm. If you can’t make it to the drive, donations can be dropped off at various locations throughout the city. A full list of locations can be found here. Note that Cyclo Nord-Sud does request a contribution of $15 for each bike to cover the costs of shipping and storage.

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Once you’ve donated your bicycle, make sure to check out their Histoires de vélos (Bicycle Stories) to see exactly how having a bike can change someone’s life. The stories are touching. We just can’t get enough of this great initiative!

Photos courtesy of Cyclo Nord-Sud.

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