Whatever happened to the 25,000 bicycle fleet that the Royal Mail retired from service? Thanks to the Elephant Bike scheme, a trading enterprise of Krizevac Project, they have helped send bikes to Malawi to create jobs and transport in the country.
The robust bikes – Pashley ‘Mailstars’ – had been destined for landfill until the British charity stepped in. Offenders in HM Prisons have been developing their employment skills by helping to refurbish the bikes before the Elephant Bikes get professionally powder coated.
There are only 5,000 of the individually numbered Elephant Bikes available for sale and for every bike sold (for just £250) the project sends at least one bike to Malawi, where social enterprises refurbish them, creating employment and providing sustainable transport for people.
Why Elephant Bike? Some of the first bikes were sold to an elephant sanctuary (Liwonde National Park) used by wardens to quickly patrol 30mile fences. However the red bikes became a target for the elephants to chase, who happily lost interest in chasing the cycling wardens once the bikes were resprayed green. From there the Elephant Bike name was established.
The “bomb proof” (though possibly not elephant proof) bikes are being sold online, though the charity is eager to work with bricks and mortar stockists.
PICTURED: Elephant Bikes on display at this year's London Bike Show.