The Athens Bicycle Club held its Bicycle Re-Cycle event Saturday, March 6. The bicycle club takes the donated bicycles, repairs them and gets them to those in need. At the event, 16 people were given bicycles.
Due to the success of this event, the club hopes to continue the program.
Robert Delach, Athens Bicycle Club communications officer, said the opportunity for the program presented itself when the Athens City Police Department approached the Athens Bicycle Club wanting to donate some bikes. The club also worked with the Athens City-County Health Department to provide free helmets to those receiving the bicycles.
A few more bicycles were donated by local members, as well as monetary contributions, which were used to fund bicycle repairs at Cycle Path Bicycles, 104 W. Union St.
The Athens Bicycle Club has been active in the community since 1971. People in the club are members of the Ohio Regional Mountain Bike Association. In addition to their work on donating bicycles, they donated money to the public library to install a weather station on the trails so cyclists can plan ahead before they make their trip.
“Transportation is a huge barrier to those in poverty, to reaching their basic needs,” Amy Renner, the Mayor of Chauncey, said. “So, if as a community and community members, we can uplift those in need and help them break that barrier through any means that we're capable of, I think we should absolutely do that.”
Renner said the Bicycle Re-Cycle event made it clear that the demand for bicycles is high in the community, and that there is an opportunity to make Chauncey Village more bicycle friendly, especially with the growth of the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway extension into Chauncey and the Baileys Trail System.
There is a financial investment involved with getting a bicycle, and Renner said helping to ease the burden is important so the residents are capable of utilizing these resources.
“When I was a kid, bicycles represented freedom, you know, the ability to travel beyond where you could walk in a day,” Bob West, president of the Athens Bicycle Club, said. “The Bike Club wants to encourage people to be able to do that, to have the freedom and not be tied to the expense of a car.”
West said this program is the ultimate recycle. The reduce, reuse, recycle logo has lost the reuse part, and people go directly from the consumer item to the recycling center, and West believes that’s a mistake. To him, these bicycles still have some value.
His hope is that every kid will have the opportunity to ride a bike if they are interested. Especially because as people get older, they shift to much more environmentally damaging modes of transportation, which he believes to be a shame.
“(The event) was successful but there is still a need,” Delach said. “There were people that would like to have gotten a bike but did not. A number of them were children.”
Delach said Athens Mayor Steve Patterson reached out recently wanting to make a donation of some bicycles from the city. Other members have donated, as well as donations coming in from people following the club on Facebook. The club hopes to be able to support other communities in the county, especially as more bike trails are being built around the area.
The Athens Bicycle Club is always accepting donations, either through actual bicycles or monetary donations. More information on how to get involved can be found on the organization’s website, Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next Spring Trail Work Day is Saturday, March 27, at 10 a.m. at the Chauncey Park Trailhead, and anyone is welcome to join.