Hundreds of donated bicycles roll to Africa

When Mary Trask got a new bicycle as a Christmas surprise, she was torn about what to do with her old one.

Local couple leads effort to send used bikes to Ghana

When Mary Trask got a new bicycle as a Christmas surprise, she was torn about what to do with her old one.

“I had a vintage 1960s bike that I really loved,” Trask said. “I didn’t want to junk it. I wanted something special to happen with it.”

She found out about the Village Bike Project, which sends used bicycles and parts to villages throughout Ghana. Planning to take her own bike to a collection in Seattle, she didn’t want to waste the trip, so that year, they took a pick-up truck load of bicycles down along with hers. The second time around in 2007, the effort grew, and 548 bikes were collected at Sammamish City Hall.

This year, someone who heard Mary’s husband, Bob, speak at an event in Bellingham and wanted to help. That group collected nearly 600 bikes, and more than 400 were turned in before the “official” collection last week at City Hall, in part thanks to a feature on Evening Magazine.

“It’s been overwhelmingly wonderful,” Mary Trask said. “What I’ve discovered about this project is it becomes a real community project. Everybody remembers their first bike.”

The problem now is that the effort has too many bikes for the shipping container they had arranged through the Village Bike Project. That container will hold about 450 to 500 bicycles once the pedals are removed, so some of this year’s donations will be stored in Seattle until they can be sent to Africa.

The Trasks also are trying to arrange transport for the Bellingham donations, preferably an empty truck that will be already en route from the Bellingham area to Seattle. A Redmond company, 2 Men and a Truck, donated a truck and driver to help collect bikes around Sammamish and deliver them to City Hall, Trask said.

Bob Trask spoke last week at the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce about the mission of their foundation, and how it can relate to everyday life. The foundation’s name, ARAS, stands for Acceptance, Respect, Affection and Support.

“Bob Trask and his wife, Mary, are … very incredible people,” Chamber President Dawn Sanders said.

An internationally known speaker, Trask talked of using those four concepts as ideals when dealing with anyone, whether on a personal or business level.

“We can make a ripple in the pond of relationships,” Trask said. “It will change the lives of the people we come in contact with.”

With the bicycle collection event they sparked, the Trasks have made a ripple that reaches from Sammamish to Africa.

For more information visit For more information about the Village Bike Project, visit or e-mail