Bikes Across Borders

Bikes Across Borders

Bikes Across Borders is a non-profit organization located in Austin, Texas. The group seeks to establish relationships across the Texas/Mexico border with the help of the bicycle. In Mexico, workers are forced to either walk several hours a day to and from their job, or spend more than 15% of their earnings on transportation to bring them there. Bikes Across Borders was born from a desire to help ease this cost. Each year, the organization rides south of the border to bring bicycles to the communities of Mexico in need of an alternative mode of transportation. In doing so, Bikes Across Borders also helps to develop connections across the border and encourages diversity as a means in creating relationships.

The identity system and collateral were designed to represent the organization’s purpose of bringing the two sides of the border together through the use of the bicycle. The motif of the Mexican tile was used throughout the campaign to depict Bikes Across Borders’ mission of helping the Mexican community, and simple icons were utilized to reach a diverse audience. The phone app and website were created as environmentally-friendly ways for the people of Austin to become involved in this organization.

PROJECT DETAILS
Title: Bikes Across Borders
Designer: Sarah Surrette
Category: Student

ENVIRONMENT
Bikes Across Borders promotes the use of the bicycle as a practical form of transportation. Bicycles help reduce gas emission and transportation costs, leading to a healthier environment. The bikes that the organization collects and brings to Mexico are either recycled or refurbished from bicycle parts pulled from waste streams and trash dumps. This decreases waste in the Austin community, and promotes a feasible solution for a better environment.

PEOPLE
This organization brings awareness to an issue that is rarely discussed because it resides outside of the United States. Bikes Across Borders strives to foster cross-cultural relationships as a solution to this problem because many Americans are unaware issues like this are occurring. By taking a proactive stance, Bikes Across Borders helps Americans develop a sense of cultural relativism which can help in creating relationships across the border.

ECONOMY
Bikes Across Borders works to reduce transportation costs for the people of Mexico, including time and money. Using a bike can decrease this financial burden and lead to opportunities that would otherwise be unaffordable or impossible for many Mexicans. The icons and bilingual copy throughout this identity reach audiences of both cultures, prompting people on each side of the border to recognize the importance of human-powered transportation.

CULTURE
This group encourages the people of Austin to recycle old bicycles to create new, usable bikes. The efforts of Bikes Across Borders show the importance of recycling and the positive difference recycling can make in others’ lives. Local events held throughout the year help promote Bikes Across Borders’ mission and shed light on an issue that needs more attention. By highlighting their efforts, Bikes Across Borders can drive more people to help this important cause.

PROJECT SUMMARY
Bikes Across Borders seeks to transform waste into resources that others can use to make their lives better. Since their inception in 2001, this organization has brought more than 500 bicycles to communities throughout Mexico. The recipients of these bikes are those working in tough conditions and making 50 to 70 cents per hour, a wage that is drastically lower than the $7.25 minimum wage in the United States. These same people also walk several hours a day to their job or spend a large portion of their income on transportation to get them there.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, the annual commuting cost for a bicycle is approximately $120, while the same cost for a car is about $6,000. For workers like those in Mexico, the benefits of a bicycle are essential to thrive. Bikes Across Borders supports the use of the bicycle not only because of its reasonable economic solution but its positive impact on the environment.

In their efforts to appease the economic situation in Mexico, Bikes Across Borders also helps to establish connections with those across the border. The group seeks to promote diversity as a force in creating cross-cultural relationships, and resists all forms of homophobia and racism that can prevent such relationships from forming.

One of the long-term goals of this organization is the creation of a community bike shop in Austin. This would help in securing and repairing even more salvaged bikes. It also has the potential to be a place where bike safety and riding tips could be taught to members of the organization, further encouraging the Austin community to get involved.

Bikes Across Borders was in need of an identity that would attract the attention of the vibrant and artistic Austin community. There was a language barrier that had to be addressed in order to fully communicate the organization’s mission to both sides of the border. I adopted the Mexican tile motif as a way to incorporate simple icons that could be universally understood. It was challenging but important to develop a style that would speak to both countries. Bikes Across Borders has the ability to access even more of an audience by attaining a strong web presence with its website. Similarly, the phone app has the potential to help with many aspects of the organization, including bike and monetary donations, the annual bike migration, and events held throughout the year. This new and improved identity will allow Bikes Across Borders to thrive and achieve the cross-cultural goals they set out to attain, while allowing for growth as the organization adapts to current economic and cultural situations.