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As Published - BikeTexas Today - Advocacy & Action - April - May 2004
By Beth Ferguson
Don't know what to do with those old bike parts rusting away in the garage? Bikes Across Borders (BAB) can help. Based at the Rhizome Collective, an East Austin-based community organizing and urban sustainability center, BAB uses donated bike tools to fix recycled bicycles for distribution to community groups in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and Cuba. Organization members have rescued at least 500 discarded bikes from a bleak landfill future, delivering them to poor people all over North America. This year, BAB is working to put together bike shipments to El Paso, Cuba, Chiapas, the Texas/Mexico border, and local Austin immigrant groups.
BAB was founded in winter 2001 by a group of activists who participated in a delegation to the U.S./Mexico border. Before they could send bikes to Mexico, the activists had to circumvent a high import tax placed on bikes from the U.S. Though their bikes weren't for sale, the activists had to be creative in order to get them across the Rio Grande. With the help of 25 volunteers from both sides of the border, BAB's founders spent the entire day riding each bike into Mexico -- and a moniker was born.