Crowds started forming as early as 8 a.m. for this year’s Bike Day on Sunday, April 15, anxiously waiting for the doors to open at 1 p.m. More than 450 adults and children had been pre-registered through referrals by Madison County human service agencies, schools and churches. By 3:30p.m., all 321 bikes had been placed with families.
“This is great,” said coordinator Chuck Fox. “A bicycle can make a big difference for these families, whether it’s for commuting to work, getting to school, recreation and fitness or just for fun. We’re glad to be able to help.”
Fox pointed out that the bikes were donated by neighbors from the community, then serviced and cleaned by volunteers. “Bike donors have the satisfaction of knowing that a bike that may have been sitting in their garage will be put to good use by someone who can’t afford one. Volunteers know that they are doing important work to benefit others in the community.”
Community Bikes has placed more than 1200 bikes since its first Bike Day four years ago. Each recipient also received a helmet, donated by the Madison County Sherriff’s Department, and a lock. Volunteers helped match each recipient with the proper bike and helmet.
Jess Blank was on hand to cover this year’s event for NBC News, adding to the excitement of the day.
Bikes Arrive in St. Kitts and Nevis
Seventy five bikes, helmets and locks arrived in St. Kitts and Nevis on March 25, marking the successful completion of the first step of Community Bikes’ effort to provide bicycles to SKN in coordination with partners in the host country.
A US Air Force cargo plane delivered the bikes as part of the Denton Program, which facilitates the shipment of humanitarian goods. This was the first such shipment to SKN in the history of the program. The plane was greeted on the tarmac by a contingent of representatives from all of the participating partners, along with media representatives from ZIZ TV, several leading newspapers and from the public affairs offices of the US Embassy and the US Air Force.
The bicycles will be used in two outstanding programs. Under the direction of the SKN Cycling Federation, headed by Greg Phillip and Winston Crooke, bikes will be used in an after school and weekend program to introduce elementary school children to a life habit of cycling, to encourage those with an interest in competitive cycling, and to build a fledgling cycling federation program for women.
On St. Kitts, bikes will be used as an incentive for at risk youth in a program entitled Cycle through Success. Under the direction of the SKN Ministry of Youth Empowerment and program coordinator Jeffrey Hanley, Cycle through Success challenges young people to complete a comprehensive program that includes training in health, personal development, anger management, entrepreneurship, community service and more. The results of both programs will be closely monitored, with an eye toward building off the success of each.
The shipment of bikes also included a pallet of hospital and medical supplies destined for JN France General Hospital in St. Kitts. The supplies were donated by Dr. Cedric Francis, St. Kitts native now living in Chittenango, New York. Dr. Francis has been sending supplies to his homeland for a number of years, and now is partnering with Community Bikes to expand the impact of the program.