In the spring of 2012, Community Bikes is sending 75 bikes, helmets and locks to the Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. The pilot program is the result of a partnership with Colgate University alumna Kathryn Bertine, who is training to qualify in women’s cycling for the 2012 summer Olympics in London, representing St. Kitts and Nevis.
St. Kitts and Nevis is a country of 41,000 people. Featuring breathtaking beauty and a developing tourism industry, the island is also dealing with major issues related to youth drug use and gang violence.
The bikes will be used to introduce elementary school children to a life habit of cycling and to encourage those with an interest in competitive cycling. The program is under the direction of the SKN Cycling Federation.
Working in coordination with several elementary schools, Cycling Federation leaders Greg Philip and Winston Crooke hope to expand the program to reach all elementary schools, and are particularly interested in engaging girls to build interest in the women’s cycling program.
The program has benefitted from the enthusiastic support of the US Embassy and the US Department of State through the USAID Program. The bikes are being flown to St. Kitts and Nevis by the US Air Force as part of the Denton Program, which transports humanitarian goods on a space available basis.
Broadening the impact even further, Community Bikes is partnering with St. Kitts native Dr. Cedric Francis to include in the shipment medical supplies donated by Dr. Francis and destined for JN France General Hospital in St. Kitts.