Local Bikes Make Global Dreams Come True

From left, Crankbrothers president Andrew Herrick, recent dreambike auction winner Joaquin Balaguer, of Reseda, and Wheels4Life founder Hans Rey. Balaguer not only bought himself a custom mountain bike below retail value, but also underwrote 30 bikes for the needy.

For the second year, Crankbrothers in Laguna Beach has melded innovative bike design with philanthropy, forging their dreambikes program. Crankbrothers builds dreambikes as a way to display their range of products by exhibiting them at trade shows throughout the world, including Eurobike Expo in Germany and Interbike International Expo in Las Vegas.


“We take all these individual pieces and put them together and make what is a dreambike. It is totally stunning,” said Crankbrothers’ marketing manager Amanda Schaper.


After a year of touring as exemplar bikes that manifest just how fantastic a Crankbrothers contraption can be, the bikes are put up for auction on eBay. However, the purchase of a souped-up customized Crankbrothers dreambike doesn’t only grant mobility to the purchaser; it also contributes to the mobility of those in need through the Wheels4life program.  All of the proceeds from the sale of a dreambike go to recipients handpicked by the Wheels4life program, who are in dire need of a means to get to school or work, or to seek fresh water, food, etc.


“The cool thing is that most of these bikes have a retail value of $5,000 to $6,000 and most of them go for half of that at the auction. So whoever buys the bike not only gets a killer bargain for a custom, top of the line bike, he also gets to purchase about 30 bikes for people in need,” said Hans Rey, a local resident and founder of the Wheels4life organization.


Hans Rey, right, sees his Wheels 4 Life in action, helping a Tanzania farmer bring 250 pounds of mangos to market.

Last year, the sale of dreambikes amounted to $42,000, which bought roughly 400 bikes for those in need. Although the Wheels4life program has been working with Crankbrothers since 2005, the dreambikes program is only in its second year of operation. But the results of the program speak for themselves.


In 2010, Wheels4life donated 450 bikes to people in third world countries but in 2011 after the inclusion of the dreambikes program, Wheels4life was able to provide over 1200 bikes to those in need. Wheels4life distributes bikes in over 20 countries including Thailand, Bolivia, Guatemala, Panama and Mexico, but a majority of the bikes go to East Africa.


This year, Crankbrothers has set a fundraising goal of $50,000, enough money to positively impact 500 human beings by providing each of them with a bicycle. So far, the sale of five bicycles has raised $20,000 for Wheels4life. There are eight bicycles left, as well as an extra special IBIS Mojo SLR that will be the grand prize of a month long raffle throughout mid-April.


“Thanks to the Crankbrothers program we were able to increase our efforts by a third.  The dreambikes program is the perfect opportunity to do a good thing and do yourself a favor as well,” said Rey.


These custom bikes may be viewed and purchased at www.crankbrothers.com/dreambikes.



Photos by Carmen Freeman-Rey


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