News from the NOS•yesterday, 20:46
Medical staff and volunteers in Ukraine will soon be leaving on two wheels from the bicycle depot in Amsterdam. The municipality of Amsterdam has decided to donate a maximum of two thousand bicycles at the request of the Zeilen van Vrijheid foundation.
The bicycle shed contains thousands of “orphaned bicycles”, most of which were confiscated by municipal employees. Since no one collected them within three months, they are now being given to charity. Amsterdam does this more often, for example reception places for refugees.
Zeilen van Vrijheid, who initiated the bicycle donation, was founded by Veronika Mutsei, a native of Amsterdam born in Kiev. On previous trips to Ukraine, with abandoned ambulances full of medical devices, she was often asked about bicycles. “They are not present at all in some areas. They were stolen or destroyed by bombs,” Mutsei says.
Sometimes rescuers have to travel miles to do their job and often there is no fuel available. The bicycle can therefore be a solution.
A previous action by the foundation on Facebook produced 300 bikes:
Mutsei helps to find the right two wheels. “We don’t need expensive or electric bicycles, but solid bicycles that can withstand.” Then he paints them yellow and blue, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. They get a final inspection at a storage facility in Ukraine, after which they receive a new owner.
Amsterdam councilor Melanie van der Horst considers it important that Amsterdam “as a city of bicycles can make a small contribution. By donating bicycles that have not been collected from the bicycle shed, Ukrainians are more able to offer help”.
Mutsei points out that it is also important to bring children’s bicycles with you. “The children are slowly regaining their lives, even if the war is not over yet.”