Dear Friend of Cuba:
Cubacan is pleased to announce our latest Project, Cubacan Bikes for Cuba. Our 6060 Project last year was a tremendous success, largely due to the Canadian Network on Cuba, CNC, who raised over $33,000 for the bats. In 6 months, we shipped a total of 936 bats to Cuba. The latest CNC project will send close to 2 million syringes to Cuba to help fight covid. Amazing!!!
This year, Cubacan is collecting used bikes in the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley for Cuba and will fill a container to send in October. You can help.
Why should this matter to you? More than a million Canadians visit Cuba every year, normally. Many of us have made friends with the charming Cuban people who welcome us. Now, our Cuban friends are in extremely dire circumstances due to the pandemic, the historic embargo and more U.S. sanctions brought in by the Trump administration and still in effect. The result is that the island is being starved. Food and basic goods are in short supply.
A bike can be a lifeline for a Cuban family. A bike, as our partner and friend, the Cuban hero Gerardo Hernandez tells us, is equivalent to a car in Cuba. One bike can provide mobility not only to an individual but to a whole family. Even an extended family.
A 20-foot container will hold about 200 bikes. That is our minimum goal. A 40-foot container could hold as many as 500 bikes. Sky is the limit.
What happens when they get to Cuba? When the bikes get to Cuba, Gerardo, who is a member of Cuba's National Assembly, will ensure the bikes are distributed through his organization, CDR (Committees for the Defence of the Revolution). CDR is the largest community-based organization in the country. The bikes will find homes across the country, not just Havana.
Where are we collecting bikes? Right now, we are focusing our effort in Eastern Ontario. If there are donations farther afield, we will make every effort to get them.
How are we collecting? We are hoping to establish collection points in various areas. Bikes would be dropped off and we will arrange to pick them up. They will be brought to "Cubacan Headquarters" where we will get them in shape and ready to ship. Anyone volunteering as a drop off point will only have them for a week or two at the most.
How does one donate a bike? By sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call Bill Ryan at 613-284-0254. Give him your name; address and phone number and Bill will work on it from there.
Condition of bikes? Ideally, we would love to get new or nearly-new bikes. Junk won't do our Cuban friends any good, although "parts bikes" are useful too, especially if they have good tires, tubes or chains. We will get all bikes in shape before we send them. Luggage carriers and baskets or panniers are also extremely useful to Cubans.
Cash Donation? We estimate it will cost between $5,000 and $6,000 to send a container to Cuba. And we expect to buy a lot of tires and tubes because we want the bikes to last for a while when they get to Cuba, where replacement parts are nearly impossible to find..
How do we donate? You can send an e-transfer to email@example.com. It will be automatically deposited, so no passwords are needed. The other way is to send a cheque payable to "Bill Ryan" with a reference to "Cubacan Bikes." Unfortunately, because of the US Embargo, we do not have access to any of the Crowd Funding programs. In fact, our GoFundMe account was closed by the US Treasury Department.
Covid?? The pandemic is affecting everything, both here and in Cuba. The lockdowns will restrict our effort in the short term. Covid will NOT stop us from meeting our objective. When and how we do things will always be based on the safety of everyone.
1) Check the garage. You never know what you might find under that layer of dust. If you find a bike, let me know.
2) Become a collection Point. We need people to volunteer to accept bikes in their area. Remember you only have to accept the donations. We will pick them up and take it from there.
3) Help with Repairs If you happen to be a Bike Mechanic or have some knowledge of bike repairs, we could use some help. Even a little knowledge would be great.
4) Webmaster- We are in need of someone with web experience. We want to get the project added to our website so that we can direct people to get details. I am hoping that someone can show us how to do the job, so we can do it from now on.
5) Most importantly, pass the word, especially to friends who love to go to Cuba. Thousands of bikes are sitting in Canadian storage waiting to find new homes and families. Tell your friends and family. If you have contact with any media types, tell them about Cubacanbikes and ask them to contact us.
We are also working with the Renfrew County-based group, OVCATA, which is collecting and distributing used bikes. They will be sending us surplus bikes, and they are advising potential Ottawa-area donors of bikes to donate to Cubacan Bikes.
Right now, there are many initiatives to provide medical supplies to fight the pandemic in Cuba. Collecting and sending a bike will not interfere with any of these efforts. That bike will however make life a lot easier for a Cuban family.
If anyone has questions or concerns, please contact Bill at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone/text 613-284-0254.
Thanks for your consideration and hopefully your help.
Bill Ryan, Ish Theilheimer & Gerardo Hernandez
This website is a companion to the main Cuba Can website at: www.cubacan.org
Cubacan Bikes is also on facebook Join our Facebook group