Yes, the Interbike Expo is mostly about stuff: lots of it. Rows and rows of socks, bags, lights, shoes, helmets, jerseys, wheels, tires, derailleurs, and, of course, bikes.
Amid the stuff, there are some people trying to do some good around the world.
An industry group working under the slogan "One Goal, Many Solutions" is uniting smaller groups who bring aid to impoverished countries through the use of bicycles.
World Bicycle Relief involves partners from leading bicycle industry players, and other relief groups. This organization provides bicycles to areas of the world affected by natural disasters and extreme poverty. Bicycles have direct impact on communities' access to healthcare, education and jobs, empower families and communities by providing basic, sustainable and autonomous transportation. This particular group supplied bikes to people affected by the tsunami that hit southeast Asia in 2004. They have also published the results of a economic impact study they conducted on the post-tsunami Sri Lankan project. According to Bicycle retailer & Industry News, an industry publication, this is the first economic impact study that evaluates how the use of bicycle helps stimulate the local economy.
Project Rwanda is the brainchild of Tom Ritchey, of Ritchey Bicycles. In addition to the group's on-going projects, including the Wooden Bike Classic, and Team Rwanda, Ritchey's specially designed Coffee Bike was developed to help people in Rwanda enter and affectively compete in the growing coffee market in that country, by enabling them to transport beans faster over greater distances.
Other projects participating in the "One Goal, Many Solutions" conference were:
Australian Goodwill Bicycles Abroad collects unwanted bicycles in Australia, and distributes them to developing countries.
Bicycle Sponsorship Project & Workshop helps find donors to finance bikes for people in need in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa.
Bicycles For Humanity raises funds and collects bicycles around the world to send to countries in need.
Bicycling Empowerment Network works to provide low-cost bicycles, and develop bike path networks in order to improve access to education, employment and healthcare in Africa.
Bikes For The World collects unwanted bikes in the US, and helps distribute them to people in need in developing countries and in the Washington DC area. It also helps develop self-sustaining bike repair operations in those areas.
Bikes Not Bombs uses recycled bikes to promote concrete alternatives to war and environmental destruction both in the countries of the global south, and in low income areas of Boston.
BikeTown Africa a collaboration between Bicycling Magazine, Kona Bikes and Bristol-Myers Squibb to use bicycles to help deliver healthcare and medication to people in Africa affected by HIV.
ecoTruk and Funk Cycles provides heavy-duty load carrying bicycles to people in need, in order to enhance access to local economies, ad provide sustainable transport.
Institute For Transportation and Development Policy was founded to provide sustainable and socially equitable transportation worldwide.
Jole Rider donates bikes to secondary schools in Africa, and distributes them to teachers and students with the longest walking distances to and from school.
Pedals For Progress has distributed over 100,000 discarded bikes from overburdened landfills in affluent countries to people in need around the world, and is actively promoting the development of bicycle repair businesses in developing countries.
Re-Cycle East recycles unwanted bikes in Britain to send to people in need of transport in African countries.
Sister Shops partners bike shops in the US with start-up shops in developing countries to provide start-up resources, training and mentoring.
Wheels4Life is a charity founded by stunt biking legend Hans Rey to help deliver bikes to people in developing countries in need of transport, including healthcare workers.
Working Bikes Cooperative is a Chicago organization that diverts bicycles from the waste stream and repairs them for resale and charity. They have donated thousands of bicycles to developing countries throughout the world, and donated over 500 bikes and wheelchairs to city programs, refugees and day camps in the Chicago area.
WorldBike brings together bicycle designers, industry leaders and development professionals to help provide transportation solutions and economic opportunities for the world's poor by delivering load-carrying bicycles to areas in need.