Way back about 30 years ago, there was a pair of local friends named Bob and Foo that started repairing bicycles that people were tossing or just didn't need any more. I was a member of the Knights of Columbus and we supported their work every year with $300-400 to buy tubes and tires and WD-40. My son was interested in helping so we set it up for Bob and Foo to drop off 6 bikes at a time for my son Nicholas to repair. When he was done, they would pick those up and drop off 6 more. We always had bikes in our garage.
Sadly, Bob was killed in an accident while working as a crossing guard. That left Foo on his own. I would help him from time to time. We eventually moved the shop out of his basement into a new location, which lasted about 3 months. Then to another location with a leaking roof and poor security, tools getting stolen and storage tubs filling with water, rusting etc. Foo was quite old and when he passed away, the whole mission became sort of an unwanted child. I became the go to guy in charge of the project. Our biggest challenge was we couldn't find a location that was stable and secure and accessible.
I was introduced to Foo's grandsons at his wake and we all made a committment to keep the bike repairs going but expand to a real live 501c3 charity. We had a big music bash fundraiser and found a new location, which lasted about 4 years. Just this past summer we moved into what we hope is our forever home.
Our stock of bikes grew from about 30 in Foo's basement to over 400 bikes in the shop today. We get the bikes from the local police departments, local bike shops, and just people that know us from facebook and come to the shop on repair event nights. We also go to the local Farmer's market in the summer and give away as many bikes as we can fit in a donated box truck. We get school youth groups, Boy Scouts, Sports teams, Ecology clubs, church groups FFA groups and more to come and help and earn service hours. We have 6 repair stations and 4 full sets of repair tools, all color coded so they are always put back in the right spot. Why do we do it? Simple answer. Everyone remembers the feeling they had when they got their first bike. We want every kid to have a bike and have that same feeling.
Our mission is that anyone that wants a bike, gets a bike, no questions, no money. Our number of donated bikes is getting close to over 700 out the door and shows no sign of slowing down. Visit our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ProjectRecycle/
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