Here at The Bloom, we’re all about sharing good causes you should know about! If you have extra BMX parks, check out @shareabikeshareasmile, they’re collecting and donating them to riders in developing countries.
How did Share a Bike-Share a Smile get started?
It started as an accident, kinda. I’ve been helping people with BMX parts for many years, riders & outsiders. In my personal life BMX always had a big impact, having fun, giving me a sense of belonging, and helping me to be healthy both mentally and physically so while working with refugees in Barcelona I started introducing them to BMX in hopes to give them the same feeling I had, but I always did it in the underground until mid-2019, I wanted to help a friend in Argentina who had overcome serious problems with drug and alcohol abuse, I started talking to an old friend of mine Leo (@elece.bmx) about what I was doing and he makes me realize that I shouldn’t be doing this in the underground, this project has so much love and potential to help and unite riders that should be open to everyone. Without his words, I would probably still do all these things in the underground of BMX. Thanks Leo!
Since you’re kind of worldwide, could you tell us about your team?
What I meant by worldwide is that we don’t want to limit us on where to help because there are many places and riders in need. However, I’ve to admit that we try to have our main focus in countries with no access to BMX parts (no distros nor shops) We have a small team though, myself (Gabo) and my girlfriend Kerrin in Germany, Patricio “Pato” Morales in Barcelona, Rea Fraser in Tarifa and Henrik and Jelle Bonde in Australia, as well as some shops/parks collecting parts for us: 360BS, Alliance-BMX, Islands Shop, Halle59, and The Loading Bay.
What are your expenses and current hurdles?
As you can imagine, sending parts around the globe isn’t easy nor cheap, to give you an example: We sent to Cameroon two boxes full of parts, each box weight 25kg, the shipping from Barcelona to Yaoundé was almost 800€. Once in Cameroon, the packages were stuck in customs for almost two weeks, they wouldn’t accept them as donations so we ended up paying importation taxes, which was around 350€ extra. We are exploring different alternatives to that problem, sometimes it’s cheaper to buy some flight tickets and bring the parts yourself with the benefit of getting to know and share with the riders in person. As you can see the main problem we have is financial, the only source of money the project has is our fundraiser campaign (apart from us using our own money sometimes & everyone working as a volunteer.) The fundraiser hasn’t worked well lately. I believe because we’re not reaching new people, many people still don’t know we are here, and is hard to spread the word. Therefore, some projects we have ready to be sent are on hold until we’ve enough money to send them. (Nigeria, Mozambique, and India.)
How can we get involved?
I believe the best way to get involved is by following us on social media and spreading the word. You might not have some parts or money to donate but maybe some of your friends do, that’s why sharing can be really powerful, and not many people do that. If you can donate some parts or money that’s, of course, important as well, this project doesn’t work without a little help from everyone. We aren’t searching from any parts, in particular, all of them are important.
What are your future plans?
For the future, the main objective is financial stability. Last year we created the ‘Share a Smile Movement e.V.’ which is an official nonprofit here in Germany. We’re applying to federal funding in hopes get that financial stability we need. We also want to be present and organize some jams to create awareness about the project, solidarity, and reduce our waste. We don’t see this project only as a way to help riders but also as a way to give a second life to all those BMX parts that would become waste otherwise.