Hospitality, generosity, and kindness shown to motorcycle travelers by local people is something we’ve all experienced and appreciate. Why not try and give back? Volunteering abroad can be a great way to do just that, as well as take a break from the riding and learn more about the local culture. It can be something simple like running free motorcycle mechanics workshops or just helping locals fix their bikes on the side of the road; or it can be a three or even six-month commitment with a larger NGO or charity. Simply teaching English for free can be a big help. But what if you want to do volunteer work that is connected to motorcycles, apart from your local toy runs or charity rides?
One of the most interesting motorcycle-related charities out there is Pikilily, a UK – Tanzania based NGO focused on teaching local women to ride and maintain motorcycles. Founded and run by Clare Elsdon, a Brit who rode her bike from London to Capetown and decided to stay in Africa, Pikilily has a workshop in Tanzania which offers free rider and motorcycle mechanics training. The women who complete the training go on to work as motorcycle couriers or motorcycle taxi drivers, earning their own income (often for the first time in their lives). In addition, these women also train to ride small motorcycle ambulances aimed to help people in more remote areas where there are no emergency services at all. The motorcycle ambulance project is set to kick off this year, and Pikilily needs help in forms of gear and helmets for the riders as well as fundraising. If you’re heading down to Africa, contact Clare and see if you can help. Rider training, bike mechanics, motorcycle maintenance basics – all of it can make a difference!